Category Archives: stem cell news

Scientists Find Solution for Stem Cell Therapy Side Effects

pluripotent stem cell

pluripotent stem cells

Pluripotent stem cells are the key to many of the most promising developments in regenerative medicine. Why is that? Because these are the cells (including the well known and controversial embronic stem cells) that can develop into just about any kind of cell in the human body. (i.e. the same stem cells that are used to treat a burn victim can also be used to help prevent a heart attack)

Until now, the main side effect in using these pluripotent stem cells is the chance that the cells won’t change into the appropriate type of cell needed during therapy. These unchanged stem cells are called “undifferentiated,” and can be lethal; possibly even turning into a dangerous tumor called a teratoma.

Recently, scientists at Stanford have developed an antibody to directly identify and destroy these undifferentiated stem cells, potentially eliminating this dangerous side effect… read full article

Jon Huntsman & Tim Pawlenty Oppose Embryonic Stem Cell Research

jon huntsman tim pawlenty

jon huntsman and tim pawlenty

Jon Huntsman & Tim Pawlenty Oppose Embryonic Stem Cell Research – Two Republican presidential candidates Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty confirmed recently that they maintain a position against embryonic stem cell research.

Comments by Huntsman made in 2004 seemed to show his support for embryonic stem cell research, as he was quoted in a newspaper as saying that the stem cell issue was one in which he the pro-life group Eagle Forum disagreed, saying of the conservative group, “Stem cell research would be another issue on which we part company.”

Though previously the governor of a conservative state, and looking to win the support of the conservative (and often anti-stem cell research) Republican Party, Huntsman finds him self in an interesting position, as his father founded the Huntsman Cancer Institute, which publicly advocates the use of embryonic stem cells in cancer research.

Former Minnesota Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty also confirmed his pro-life, anti embryonic stem cell research (irony?) position during the first Republican debate.

Here is Pawlenty’s full quote from the Republican debate: “As to stem cell research it holds great promise and I support stem cell research. I think it should be adult derived… most of the therapies and breakthroughs that we are seeing interms of treatment are coming from adult derived stem cell research. I strongly support that.

As for embryonic stem cell research, I don’t think we should pursue although President Bush when he was in office said he would allow and authorize the use of research on certain stem cell lines for which the embryo had already previously been destroyed before the issue came to his desk or came to his attention. I did support his approach for that limited window of stem cell research on those existing lines for which the embryo had already been destroyed.”

Most of the other candidates have focused their talking points to Planned Parenthood and abortion, and have yet to directly address their position on the use of embryonic stem cells.

Jon Huntsman Stem CellsTim Pawlenty Stem Cells

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Can Stem Cells Heal a Broken Heart?

mouse heart stem cell

Stem Cell from Mouse Heart

Can Stem Cells Heal a Broken Heart? At University College in London, scientists are optimistic about a new procedure that could help the heart heal itself after a heart attack.

The discover focuses on a newly identified source of dormant stem cells in the epicardium, a layer of the sac surrounding the heart. They found that a naturally occurring peptide called “thymosin beta-4” could stimulate these dormant stem cells, causing them to repair damage to the heart.

So far the treatment has shown promise in tests on mice, with the mice receiving injections of thymosin beta-4 regrowing more heart muscle from their own stem cells than the mice who didn’t.

If further research goes well, scientists envision that a pill could be developed that contains the thymosin beta-4 protein. This pill could be given to patients at risk of a heart attack or suffering from unstable angina (a form of chest pain that results from the heart not receiving enough oxygen) to help them better recover from a possible heart attack in the future. Read the full story

Stem Cells and Heart Attacks

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Japanese Nuclear Workers to Use Stem Cell Transplants?

Will Stem Cells be Used With Japan’s Nuclear Workers?

Japanese nuclear plant worker

Japanese plant worker

In the wake of the nuclear disaster in Japan, Japanese officials have proposed harvesting stem cells from the bone marrow of workers before sending them into the Fukushima nuclear power plant as a precautionary measure.

These stem cell transplants could offer a potentially life-saving treatment option for Japanese nuclear workers who may become exposed to unsafe levels of radiation, which damages bone marrow.

The stem cell transplant procedure would involve having the workers of the Fukushima nuclear power plant take specialized drugs (called blood growth factor proteins) for several days which would facilitate stem cells being released into their blood stream, from which the stem cells could then be extracted through apheresis. (a process commonly used for the donation of blood plasma and platelets) The stem cells could then be stored and returned later to an exposed worker’s body in a process called engraftment, (incorporation of grafted stem cells into the body) which would require a hospital stay and lengthy recovery process.

Although dozens of European hospitals have offered to aid in the stem cell tretment procedures, critics argue that such stem cell transplants would be irresponsible. They note that exposure to high levels of radiation would harm many areas of the body, not just the bone marrow; making stem cell bone marrow transplants far from a pancea for exposed nuclear workers who would also likely have damage to other systems in their bodies.

They also propose that such a procedure could make them less careful in avoiding exposure to radiation.

read more: Japan Considers Harvesting Bone Marrow Before Sending Nuclear Workers into Fukushima Plant

Nasal stem cells may prevent childhood deafness

sensorineural hearing loss

sensorineural hearing loss

Nasal stem cells may prevent childhood deafness – Australian scientists have shown for the first time in mice that nasal stem cells injected into the inner ear have the potential to reverse or restore hearing during early onset sensorineural hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when hearing cells in the cochlea lose their ability to function. Often inherited, and usually starting during infancy and early childhood, sensorineural hearing loss can slow a child’s development and lead to speech and language problems… read this article

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