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Store-A-Tooth™ Dental Stem Cell Banking and Product News

Born with a windpipe less than a tenth of an inch wide, he was the first child in the world to get a transplant made from a donor organ and his own stem cells.

Posted by Mark Haigh on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 @ 09:44 AM

Ciaran Finn-Lynch, an Irish boy who was born with a windpipe less than a tenth of an inch wide. At age 10, he was the first child in the world to get a transplant made from a donor organ and his own stem cells.

Many of Macchiarini's patients have been given only months or a few years to live, left with no options or any hope.

“You see a patient and this patient has no other alternatives,” Macchiarini said. “And he will die very, very soon. As a human and as a doctor are we allowed to say no? I don’t think so.”

Though it might sound like science fiction, scientists around the world are actively experimenting with this promising science. Recent accomplishments include Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's announcement that four teenage girls with a rare genetic disorder were implanted with lab-grown vaginas, and at the University of Basel in Switzerland, scientists regrew the nose tissue of older people whose noses had been partially lost to skin cancer.

But while scientists are eagerly working toward being able to grow vital organs like hearts, lungs and kidneys in the lab, it will be years before they are ready to attempt transplanting those in humans.


"As a human and as a doctor are we allowed to say no? I don’t think so."


But Dr. Macchiarini has already taken the science out of the lab. He first made headlines six years ago, in 2008, when he transplanted the world's first lab-made windpipe. It was constructed from a donor trachea that had been stripped of its original cells, leaving it as a skeleton upon which a new trachea could be built with the patient’s own stem cells. The groundbreaking method would allow Macchiarini to bypass two of the major problems associated with donated organs: the risk of rejection and the need to take powerful anti-rejection drugs.

Original article By Linda Caroll

Linda Carroll is a regular contributor to NBC News. She writes about health and science and her work has appeared in The Science Times, Newsday and The Los Angeles Times as well as national magazines including Smart Money and Health. She is coauthor of "The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic" and the recently released "Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry." She lives in rural New Jersey.


Tags: Dental Stem Cells, Research, Healthcare, Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cells & Diabetes, Adult Stem Cells

Eventually scientists hope to get to the point where any replacement body part or organ you need would simply be manufactured in a lab, man-made, just for you..

Posted by Mark Haigh on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 @ 12:00 PM

Dr. Paolo Macchiarini of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, is pushing the boundaries of the emerging field of regenerative medicine, which could eliminate the need for donor organs, which are in short supply all over the globe.

But for now, there is only one surgeon in the world who is doing transplants in humans with artificially grown organs. Patients come to the controversial surgeon because he is literally their only hope.

Little Hannah Warren. Born without a trachea and unable to breathe on her own, she had spent her entire life in the hospital, kept alive only by a tube. No child with her disorder has ever lived past the age of six, and Dr. Macchiarini's artificial trachea was her only hope.

Original article By Linda Caroll

Linda Carroll is a regular contributor to NBC News. She writes about health and science and her work has appeared in The Science Times, Newsday and The Los Angeles Times as well as national magazines including Smart Money and Health. She is coauthor of "The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic" and the recently released "Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry." She lives in rural New Jersey.

 

 



Tags: Research, Healthcare, Regenerative Medicine, Adult Stem Cells

Dr. Paolo Macchiarini of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, is pushing the boundaries of the emerging field of regenerative medicine

Posted by Mark Haigh on Fri, Jul 18, 2014 @ 09:48 AM

Dr. Paolo Macchiarini of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, is using a patient's own cells to rebuild tissues and organs. Eventually scientists hope to get to the point where any replacement body part or organ you need would simply be manufactured in a lab, man-made, just for you. This could eliminate the need for donor organs, which are in short supply all over the globe.

But for now, there is only one surgeon in the world who is doing transplants in humans with artificially grown organs. Patients come to the controversial surgeon because he is literally their only hope.

Take Julia Tuulik, a Russian dancer whose trachea was destroyed after a car accident.

“They offered for me this one chance,” Tuulik told Meredith Vieira for NBC News’ “A Leap of Faith: A Meredith Vieira Special,” airing Friday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. “And I haven’t other chance in my life.”

Original article By Linda Caroll

Linda Carroll is a regular contributor to NBC News. She writes about health and science and her work has appeared in The Science Times, Newsday and The Los Angeles Times as well as national magazines including Smart Money and Health. She is coauthor of "The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic" and the recently released "Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry." She lives in rural New Jersey.

 

 



Tags: Research, Healthcare, Regenerative Medicine, Adult Stem Cells

A new trachea from stem cells and a scaffold

Posted by Mark Haigh on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 @ 01:26 PM

Italian surgeon uses plastic as a scaffold, rather than a donated trachea. The first recipient would be Andermariam Beyene, a 36-year-old engineer from Eritrea.

 

Macchiarini’s team began by collecting stem cells from Beyene’s bone marrow. Those cells were mixed with special growth factors and then poured onto a scaffold made from plastic — in fact, the very same plastic that is used to make soda bottles — which had been made to mimic the shape of a real windpipe.

In just a matter of days, the scaffold began to transform into an actual functioning windpipe.

Macchiarini described the magical sounding process like this: “It’s like if you roast a chicken. It’s the same thing. You fill this box with fluid that includes cells. And then this chicken scaffold just is submerged in this fluid and the cells penetrate inside.”

Eight patients have now received his completely artificial, bio-engineered tracheas, but because the surgery is still highly experimental and unproven, critics worry that he is putting his patients at risk and taking the science out of the lab prematurely.

Skeptics have questioned whether he is using his desperate — and highly vulnerable — patients as human guinea pigs.

“I do believe he’s in the gray zone,” Dr. Joseph Vacanti, surgeon- in-chief at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, told Vieira in September of 2013.

Not all of Macchiarini's patients have survived, but supporters argue that this is how surgery advances.


"I do believe he’s in the gray zone."


“Take a look at any major turn in surgery,” said Dr. Rick Pearl, pediatric surgeon-in-chief at Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria. “It never started out working, did it?

“Tom Starzl, when he started doing liver transplants, the first seven, eight, nine patients all died. Everybody said he was nuts, OK? Christian Barnard, when he started doing heart transplants, everyone threw rocks at him. This is how we’re going to treat diseases in the future and this is the start of it.”

One of Macchiarini's most promising success stories is Claudia Castillo, a Spanish mother who is doing so well six years after her transplant that an increasing number of Macchiarini's colleagues are beginning to see him in a new light.

“I believe, for the field, we are now at the end of the beginning,” Vacanti said. “And so, he may feel alone, but he is not alone. He’s part of the group that’s making fantasy real.”

Original article By Linda Caroll

Linda Carroll is a regular contributor to NBC News. She writes about health and science and her work has appeared in The Science Times, Newsday and The Los Angeles Times as well as national magazines including Smart Money and Health. She is coauthor of "The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic" and the recently released "Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry." She lives in rural New Jersey.

Tags: Research, Healthcare, Regenerative Medicine, Adult Stem Cells

A Leap of Faith: Desperate Patients Look to Lab-Grown Organs

Posted by James Andrews on Tue, Jul 08, 2014 @ 10:38 AM

He is a world-renowned surgeon who has been described both as a daring pioneer and as a cowboy who takes dangerous risks with his patients.

Dr. Paolo Macchiarini of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, is pushing the boundaries of the emerging field of regenerative medicine, which involves using a patient's own cells to rebuild tissues and organs. Eventually scientists hope to get to the point where any replacement body part or organ you need would simply be manufactured in a lab, man-made, just for you. This could eliminate the need for donor organs, which are in short supply all over the globe.

But for now, there is only one surgeon in the world who is doing transplants in humans with artificially grown organs. Patients come to the controversial surgeon because he is literally their only hope.

Take Julia Tuulik, a Russian dancer whose trachea was destroyed after a car accident.

“They offered for me this one chance,” Tuulik told Meredith Vieira for NBC News’ “A Leap of Faith: A Meredith Vieira Special,” airing Friday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. “And I haven’t other chance in my life.”

Or little Hannah Warren. Born without a trachea and unable to breathe on her own, she had spent her entire life in the hospital, kept alive only by a tube. No child with her disorder has ever lived past the age of six, and Dr. Macchiarini's artificial trachea was her only hope.

Or Ciaran Finn-Lynch, an Irish boy who was born with a windpipe less than a tenth of an inch wide. At age 10, he was the first child in the world to get a transplant made from a donor organ and his own stem cells.

Many of Macchiarini's patients have been given only months or a few years to live, left with no options or any hope.

“You see a patient and this patient has no other alternatives,” Macchiarini said. “And he will die very, very soon. As a human and as a doctor are we allowed to say no? I don’t think so.”

Though it might sound like science fiction, scientists around the world are actively experimenting with this promising science. Recent accomplishments include Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's announcement that four teenage girls with a rare genetic disorder were implanted with lab-grown vaginas, and at the University of Basel in Switzerland, scientists regrew the nose tissue of older people whose noses had been partially lost to skin cancer.

But while scientists are eagerly working toward being able to grow vital organs like hearts, lungs and kidneys in the lab, it will be years before they are ready to attempt transplanting those in humans.


"As a human and as a doctor are we allowed to say no? I don’t think so."


But Dr. Macchiarini has already taken the science out of the lab. He first made headlines six years ago, in 2008, when he transplanted the world's first lab-made windpipe. It was constructed from a donor trachea that had been stripped of its original cells, leaving it as a skeleton upon which a new trachea could be built with the patient’s own stem cells. The groundbreaking method would allow Macchiarini to bypass two of the major problems associated with donated organs: the risk of rejection and the need to take powerful anti-rejection drugs.

By 2011, the Italian surgeon had moved on to plastic as a scaffold, rather than a donated trachea. The first recipient would be Andermariam Beyene, a 36-year-old engineer from Eritrea.

 

Macchiarini’s team began by collecting stem cells from Beyene’s bone marrow. Those cells were mixed with special growth factors and then poured onto a scaffold made from plastic — in fact, the very same plastic that is used to make soda bottles — which had been made to mimic the shape of a real windpipe.

In just a matter of days, the scaffold began to transform into an actual functioning windpipe.

Macchiarini described the magical sounding process like this: “It’s like if you roast a chicken. It’s the same thing. You fill this box with fluid that includes cells. And then this chicken scaffold just is submerged in this fluid and the cells penetrate inside.”

Eight patients have now received his completely artificial, bio-engineered tracheas, but because the surgery is still highly experimental and unproven, critics worry that he is putting his patients at risk and taking the science out of the lab prematurely.

Skeptics have questioned whether he is using his desperate — and highly vulnerable — patients as human guinea pigs.

“I do believe he’s in the gray zone,” Dr. Joseph Vacanti, surgeon- in-chief at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, told Vieira in September of 2013.

Not all of Macchiarini's patients have survived, but supporters argue that this is how surgery advances.


"I do believe he’s in the gray zone."


“Take a look at any major turn in surgery,” said Dr. Rick Pearl, pediatric surgeon-in-chief at Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria. “It never started out working, did it?

“Tom Starzl, when he started doing liver transplants, the first seven, eight, nine patients all died. Everybody said he was nuts, OK? Christian Barnard, when he started doing heart transplants, everyone threw rocks at him. This is how we’re going to treat diseases in the future and this is the start of it.”

One of Macchiarini's most promising success stories is Claudia Castillo, a Spanish mother who is doing so well six years after her transplant that an increasing number of Macchiarini's colleagues are beginning to see him in a new light.

“I believe, for the field, we are now at the end of the beginning,” Vacanti said. “And so, he may feel alone, but he is not alone. He’s part of the group that’s making fantasy real.”

 

Original article By Linda Caroll

Linda Carroll is a regular contributor to NBC News. She writes about health and science and her work has appeared in The Science Times, Newsday and The Los Angeles Times as well as national magazines including Smart Money and Health. She is coauthor of "The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic" and the recently released "Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry." She lives in rural New Jersey.


Tags: Dental Stem Cells, Research, Healthcare, Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cells & Diabetes, Adult Stem Cells

Stem cell banking from teeth gains acceptance

Posted by Mark Haigh on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 @ 03:07 PM
LUDHIANA: People with poor health history or those suffering from genetic diseases are going to the dentists in greater numbers for stem cell banking from teeth. The major reason to adopt stem cell banking from teeth is that people feel it less painful and the safest of all methods. With stem cells creating the new milestones for a secure future all around the world, the technique of collecting stem cells from teeth is picking up in the city. As diabetes, kidney and liver diseases are very common among city residents, they don't want their children to suffer from such diseases in the future.

Dr Vivek Sagger, a well-known dentist from Rani Jhansi Road, said: "In the city, this technique has started picking up recently. I have about eight people who have got their stem cells in the teeth banked. This technique is like health insurance, in which we invest today to get the results in future if we acquire health problems. Tooth stem cells are so powerful and strong that they can even regenerate a new bone. There are three best resources for procuring these stem cells a?? first from the milk tooth of children below 10 years of age, second from the wisdom tooth, and third from children undergoing orthodontic treatment."

According to doctors, with the discovery of stem cells in teeth, an accessible and available source of stem cells has been identified. Milk tooth and wisdom tooth are full of stem cells, which can be preserved for years. Dental stem cells have significant medical benefits in the development of new medical therapies, and can help people with newly generated organs and bones. Health problems which can be treated through these tooth stem cells include diabetes, visionary problems, kidney, and liver problems. Stem cells in gums can be used for fighting inflammatory diseases.

Dr Preeti Vohra, a city-based dentist from Rani Jhansi Road, said: "After cases came in the limelight about celebrities doing it, the technique has picked up in the city, and there are more people coming up for this. The numbers are greater in people from higher social circles, who are getting their children's stem cells preserved for future prospects.

In the city at present, the pulp is being collected by the dentist and is sent to stem cell banks in Mumbai or Chennai for preservation. As 95 per cent of health problems in any society or world are tissue-related, and only five per cent are blood diseases, these tooth stem cells are able to regenerate both soft and hard tissues. "That's why their preservation is so much in demand," said Sailesh Gadre, owner of a renowned stem cell bank.

Meena Dixit of Dugri, who got her son's stem cells preserved in a stem cell bank last year, said: "I did not know about this technique, until Aishwarya Rai disclosed that she is getting her daughter's stem cells preserved for future prospects. I surfed the net and decided to go for it. Diabetes is a major problem in our family, and I don't want my children to suffer from the severe treatment or its impacts in future. That is why I got them preserved."

Tags: Dental Stem Cells, Research, Healthcare, Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cells & Diabetes

Stem Cells In The Movies

Posted by James Andrews on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 @ 09:04 AM

Stem Cells in the MoviesEvery Friday, the people over at Signals update their regular feature, Right Turn, which showcases the “lighter” side of stem cells and regenerative medicine.

Stacey Johnson has compiled a short list of TV shows and movies that feature stem cells in a leading or supporting role. This isn’t an exhaustive so please head over to her original post and use the comments section to add or endorse your favourites.
 

Television Movies
Orphan Black Amazing Spider-Man
Dark Angel X-Men Wolverine
Eleventh Hour The Island
West Wing The X-Files: I Want to Believe
24 The 6th Day
South Park The Boys from Brazil
Degrassi: The Next Generation Multiplicity
  Stem Cell

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a preview of “The Amazing Spider-Man” featuring the clips about regenerative medicine (beginning at 2:20).

Tags: Regenerative Medicine, Adult Stem Cells

Stem Cells, Biobanking and the Shift to Precision Medicine

Posted by James Andrews on Thu, Dec 26, 2013 @ 10:06 AM

With a major paradigm shift underway related to diagnostics, treatments and delivery options, the shape of medical technology is changing rapidly to an approach that is much more patient-centered and focused on “precision medicine,” said Dr. Joseph Laning, Vice president of Research and Development for Provia Laboratories, LLC, during a presentation at the NSTC Biosciences seminar held on November 1 at Cummings Center in Beverly. “This change brings opportunity related to physician training, medical record portability and availability, as well as new and more accurate diagnostics – all leading to more personalized medicine.”

how stem cells can potentially be used as tools for basic research and drug discoveryDuring his presentation, Dr. Laning described how stem cells can potentially be used as tools for basic research and drug discovery, and how in the future “it could be your banked materials for you and your family” that are used in targeted medical treatments when needed. Dr. Laning outlined available sources for stem cells – including adult, embryonic, and induced – and provided an overview of the economic and ethical issues associated with each source and the use of stem cells in general.  He also outlined current pre-clinical and clinical testing being conducted in the field – including studies focusing used on stroke, spinal cord injuries, and regenerative medicine.

Stem cells are versatile self-contained models and are a reproducible source material for both basic and applied research, Dr. Laning told seminar attendees. For these reasons and because the “near and long-term clinical benefits are potentially immense,” there is an important value proposition associated with the use of stem cells in both biobanking and clinical research, he said. “We will see stem cells become state-of-the-art testing platforms and achieve therapeutic value,” Dr. Laning predicted. In order for this to happen, he said a company or group will need to “step up and push forward” some of the current and proposed clinical trials related to stem cells – then this will help drive momentum as well as product availability and increased interest.

Dr. LaningDr. Laning, now with Provia Labs, has spent the past 18 years seeking to translate concepts into products in the fields of wound care, regenerative medicine, and stem cell therapy. With a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Boston University and a PhD in Immunology from Harvard, Dr. Laning is currently targeting research related to the optimization of dental sourced biobanking methods. Lexington-based Provia Labs is a health services company specializing in high quality stem cell biobanking, including the Store-A-Tooth™ service which provides an opportunity for parents to preserve stem cells from baby and wisdom teeth in preparation for future advances in stem cell therapies.

The seminar was sponsored by Lisa Miranda, President and CEO of BioBusiness Consulting, Inc., which specializes in biobanking, clinical research, and biotechnology product development advisory. Biobusiness Consulting, a boutique consulting firm based in the Greater Boston Area, serves pharmaceutical, biotech, academic and government sectors worldwide. For more information please contact Lisa Miranda @ lisabmiranda@biobusinessconsulting.com

Republished courtesy of The North Shore Technology Council http://nstc.org

Tags: Dental Stem Cells, Research, Healthcare, Regenerative Medicine, Company Updates, Adult Stem Cells

Stem cell therapy on course to help treat spinal cord injuries

Posted by James Andrews on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 @ 10:07 AM

Adult stem cell treatment for spinal cord injuriesA systematic survey of the scientific literature shows that stem cell therapy can have a statistically significant impact on animal models of spinal cord injury, and points the way for future studies.

Spinal cord injuries are mostly caused by trauma, often incurred in road traffic or sporting incidents, often with devastating and irreversible consequences, and unfortunately having a relatively high prevalence (250,000 patients in the USA; 80% of cases are male). High-profile campaigners like the late actor Christopher Reeve, himself a victim of sports-related spinal cord injury, have placed high hopes in stem cell transplantation.

But how likely is it to work?

This question is addressed in a paper published 17th December in the open access journal PLOS Biology by Ana Antonic, David Howells and colleagues from the Florey Institute and the University of Melbourne, Australia, and Malcolm MacLeod and colleagues from the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Stem cell therapy aims to use special regenerative cells (stem cells) to repopulate areas of damage that result from spinal cord injuries, with the hope of improving the ability to move ("motor outcomes") and to feel ("sensory outcomes") beyond the site of the injury. Many studies have been performed that involve animal models of spinal cord injury (mostly rats and mice), but these are limited in scale by financial, practical and ethical considerations. These limitations hamper each individual study's statistical power to detect the true effects of the stem cell implantation.

This new study gets round this problem by conducting a "meta-analysis" – a sophisticated and systematic cumulative statistical reappraisal of many previous laboratory experiments. In this case the authors assessed 156 published studies that examined the effects of stem cell treatment for experimental spinal injury in a total of about 6000 animals.

Overall, they found that stem cell treatment results in an average improvement of about 25% over the post-injury performance in both sensory and motor outcomes, though the results can vary widely between animals. For sensory outcomes the degree of improvement tended to increase with the number of cells introduced – scientists are often reassured by this sort of "dose response", as it suggests a real underlying biologically plausible effect.

The authors went on to use their analysis to explore the effects of bias (whether the experimenters knew which animals were treated and which untreated), the way that the stem cells were cultured, the way that the spinal injury was generated, and the way that outcomes were measured. In each case, important lessons were learned that should help inform and refine the design of future animal studies. The meta-analysis also revealed some surprises that should provoke further investigation – there was little evidence of any beneficial sensory effects in female animals, for example, and it didn't seem to matter whether immunosuppressive drugs were administered or not.

The authors conclude: "Extensive recent preclinical literature suggests that stem cell-based therapies may offer promise; however the impact of compromised internal validity and publication bias means that efficacy is likely to be somewhat lower than reported here."

Potential "Biological Insurance"

For decades, doctors have harnessed the unique ability of stem cells to treat leukemia and genetic blood diseases. But now, researchers are discovering that these cells have the power to heal, to fight disease, and to regenerate damaged or aging tissue throughout the body. To fully understand why they hold the potential to change your child’s medical future, get to know more about stem cells.

Stem Cell Basics

Ordinary cells in your body replicate to make new cells of the same type - blood cells make more blood cells, skin cells make more skins cells and so on. However, there is another type of cell, called a stem cell.

Stem cells are able to repair or replace damaged tissue. This is why scientists and doctors are so excited about the growing role of stem cells to treat disease, injury, and the deterioration of tissue due to aging. Amazingly, after our birth and into adulthood, we keep a store of these stem cells in certain parts of our body.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Different types of stem cells exist in different body tissues, and in varying concentrations. One of the most well-understood and widely researched types of stem cells is the mesenchymal stem cell.

Mesenchymal stem cells can form tissues such as bone, nerve, muscle, and blood vessels. They also help body tissue to repair itself, and they play an important role in healing by suppressing inflammation.

Though located in a number of places in the body, mesenchymal stem cells can be found in especially high concentrations in the healthy dental pulp of teeth.
e.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells From Teeth Have Helped Paralyzed Animals Walk Again.

Diseases and injury to the nervous system affect millions of people of all ages, and scientists are actively exploring the use of stem cells to re-grow or repair nerve tissues and cells (a process known as neuroregeneration).

Today there is no cure for spinal cord injury, a misfortune that can strike at a moment’s notice with devastating effect on the person injured as well as their family.

Researchers have been studying the use of stem cells to treat spinal cord injury for many years. Recently, a research team at Nagoya University in Japan demonstrated that stem cells from teeth – both baby teeth and wisdom teeth – helped heal spinal cord injuries in rats and even restored some ability to walk. Another important finding: the stem cells from teeth worked better than stem cells from bone marrow.

Younger Is Better

Over time, even stem cells succumb to the environmental “insults” that age all of our cells. Freezing cells in a youthful state preserves their future ability to generate replacement tissue and heal the body.

All of these attributes make stem cells the cornerstone of the emerging field of treatments and therapies called Regenerative Medicine.

You can now bank on them

Store-A-Tooth is a simple service that takes that wisdom tooth or baby tooth that would be thrown out as biological waste by your dentist and banks it for you for the future.

Find out more: http://www.store-a-tooth.com/why-bank-stem-cells

 

Tags: Dental Stem Cells, Research, Healthcare, Regenerative Medicine, Company Updates, Adult Stem Cells

We don’t have to wait for the future potential of stem cells, it's already here

Posted by James Andrews on Fri, Dec 06, 2013 @ 10:15 AM

World stem cell summit, the future of regenerative medicine is hereYou have been hearing about the potential of stem cells to treat diseases and disorders for a few years now. So it was entirely appropriate that one of the opening sessions at the World Stem Cell Summit in San Diego focused on ways that stem cells are transforming medicine right now. This was very much a case of “we don’t have to wait for the future, because the future is already here.”

The agenda ranged from stem cell basics to advanced research.

Here is a list of some of the topics covered:

  • STEM CELL SCIENCE- UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS
  • PROGRESS TOWARD STEM CELL-BASED THERAPIES IN CALIFORNIA
  • HOW STEM CELLS ARE TRANSFORMING MEDICINE
  • THE GLOBAL REGULATION OF STEM CELL THERAPIES
  • STEM CELLS FOR TREATMENT OF HEART DISEASE
  • INTERSECTION OF STEM CELLS AND GENE THERAPY – CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS
  • SYNTHETIC MATERIALS, BIOMATERIALS AND SCAFFOLDS
  • THE PROMISE OF DIRECT REPROGRAMMING OF STEM CELLS
  • STEM CELLS AND THE COMING STANDARDS REVOLUTION IN THE LIFE SCIENCES
  • HOW PATIENT ADVOCACY ADVANCES STEM CELL RESEARCH AND REGENERATIVE MEDICINE
  • WHAT CAN FAT (ADIPOSE) STEM CELLS REALLY DO?
  • THE ROLE OF THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY IN REGENERATIVE MEDICINE
  • STEM CELL OPEN INNOVATION IN JAPAN: INDUSTRY-ACADEMIA COLLABORATION ON STEM CELL LARGE-SCALE PRODUCTION AND QUALITY CONTROL
  • NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE TO EMPOWER PATIENTS
  • GROWING WHOLE ORGANS –CHANGING MEDICINE FOREVER
  • DIABETES PROGRESS
  • STEM CELLS FOR DISEASE MODELING
  • FROM CELLS TO CELL THERAPIES IN THE UK: ACCELERATING TRANSLATION AND A ROUTE TO THE EUROPEAN AND GLOBAL MARKETS
  • SYSTEMS APPROACHES TO DISEASE AND STEM CELLS
  • VISION FOR THE STATE-OF-THE ART BIOBANK
  • TAKING STEM CELL BASED THERAPIES TO THE CLINIC
  • STEM CELLS AND PARKINSON'S DISEASE
  • THE EMERGING INNOVATIVE POWERHOUSE OF BRAZIL - STEM CELL RESEARCH AIMED AT CURES

The World Stem Cell Summit honored five champions of stem cell research Thursday evening. They are: Philanthropists Denny Sanford and Malin Burnham; stem cell researcher/blogger/patient advocate Paul Knoepfler; medical journal publisher Mary Ann Liebert, and patient advocate Roman Reed.

A memorable speech advocating more stem cell research came from Roman Reed.
A spinal cord injury from a college football accident left Reed mostly paralyzed. He's recovered use of his arms, but cannot walk. Reed and his father, Don, were among the foremost proponents of Prop. 71, the initiative that set aside $3 billion in bond money to fund stem cell research and disease treatments in California.

Roman Reed describes how he fought back after being partly paralyzed.





You can read more about Roman Reed on this blog and view other videos covering topics about raising funds for stem cell research for spinal cord injuries, rats cured of spinal cord injuries with stem cells raising the question - how long for people?

 

Highlights from some of the speakers:

Paul Simmons, Ph.D., of the biotech company Mesoblast talked about his company’s use of mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs) – the kind of stem cell found in bone marrow and the dental pulp of teeth – to help treat people who have heart failure or suffered a heart attack, as well as to help regenerate bone to repair damage to the spine and to treat immunological disorders.

Though located in a number of places in the body, mesenchymal stem cells can be found in especially high concentrations in the healthy dental pulp of teeth.

Mesenchymal stem cells are one of the most well-understood, widely researched and promising types of stem cell. More on Mesenchymal stem cells...

Professor Teruo Okano, Ph.D., of Tokyo Women’s Medical University talked about the use of tissue engineering to create entire sheets of stem cells that can then be transplanted into the body to repair damage. He showed how those sheets of cells can be placed on an eye to help repair a damaged cornea. The sheets didn’t need any stitches to hold them in place, instead after just ten minutes they had already adhered to the surface of the eye and begun to work. This technique has already been used in helping 30 patients in Japan and 25 in France.

Okano also showed how the same approach has been used to help patients with heart failure. One patient in Japan was on a heart assist device because his own heart was too weak to keep him alive. After receiving a transplant of heart stem cells in a sheet onto the surface of his heart the man began to recover. Within 7 weeks he was able to come off the heart assist device and within a few more weeks he was able to go home. Six years later he is still thriving.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. People of all ages and backgrounds can be affected. More on stem cells from teeth to treat heart attacks...

U.C. Davis researcher Jan Nolta, Ph.D., also talked about mesenchymal stem cells but said her team is genetically engineering them so they can be used to treat many different problems ranging from heart and stroke to arthritis and cartilage and autoimmune disorders such as lupus. Nolta says the MSCs don’t seem to “become” the damaged cells but instead work by having an impact on other cells in the body, stimulating them to help repair the damage.

She also talked about the growing use of MSCs in dental work, helping repair damaged bone in the mouth or even restore gum tissue. Nolta has received a number of grants from CIRM for her work in developing new therapies for Huntington’s disease and critical limb ischemia.

The speakers didn’t gloss over the fact that there are many obstacles still facing the industry. Simmons highlighted some of the problems in being able to mass produce stem cells in the quantity and quality that will be needed if these kinds of treatments are going to be not just widely available but also affordable.

Okano said his team is already working on producing a cell sheet tissue factory, a fully automated system for manufacturing the sheets of stem cells needed in his work.

The conclusion was that even the most advanced researchers and companies acknowledge that there is a lot of work still ahead but that progress is being made and therapies are already in the clinics for patients, and many more are on the way.

Tags: Dental Stem Cells, Research, Healthcare, Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cells & Diabetes, Adult Stem Cells

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