Category Archives: stem cell research

type1 diabetes stemcell

Can Stem Cells Help Type 1 Diabetes?

diabetes stem cell

type 1 diabetes & stem cells

Stem Cells and Type 1 Diabetes: I’ve been asked more than once if there was anything that stem cells could do to cure or help fight Type 1 diabetes. Actually, until recently there really wasn’t much progress in that area.

Recently, in an experimental study, 28 teens with type 1 diabetes underwent a stem cell procedure (using their own stem cells) hoping that it could allow them to stay off their insulin injections.

The results of this (small) study? Fifteen of the 28 teens were able to stay off of insulin injections for an average of a year and a half; one of these teens with type 1 diabetes has actually gone without insulin injections for three and a half years.

How does the stem cell treatment work to fight type 1 diabetes? Known as a “cocktail” treatment, stem cell therapy in this case is combined with drugs for a double barrel attack on type 1 diabetes. Because type 1 diabetes generally attacks the immune system, (pancreatic insulin producing cells) the drugs used in this procedure function to suppress the immune system so that the stem cell therapy component can be more affective.

The stem cells used are harvested from the patient prior to treatment, frozen, and then reintroduced during treatment. These “immature” stem cells haven’t learned bad behavior yet, and replace the destructive cells that previously were attacking the patients insulin producing cells.

Although researchers are in the early stages, this treatment shows a lot of promise for the treatment of type 1 diabetes in children.

The findings of this study (including side effect, diet, & weight info) were introduced to the American Diabetes Association, and will appear in July’s issue of the Diabetes Care journal.

Read more


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stem cell treatment for babies with spina bifida

Fetal Stem Cell Treatment: Offering Hope for Babies With Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is a condition in which the baby’s spinal cord doesn’t close properly during a pregnancy. It’s two words that soon-to-be parents don’t want to hear during an ultrasound, (I’ve heard it myself) and it’s one of the main reasons women are told to take prenatal vitamins with folic acid.

Fetal Stem Cell Treatment for Myelomeningocele

The effects of spina bifida range in severity, but cause varying degrees of cognitive, urological, (incontinence) and motor disabilities. The most common form of spina bifida is called “myelomeningocele,” in which the spinal cord emerges through the back, pulling brain tissue into the spinal column. With myelomeningocele permanent shunts are needed to drain fluid around the brain.

Fetal surgery + stem cell treatment for spina bifida

While fetal surgery for spina bifida revolutionized treatment by improving brain development, it largely came up short in helping to benefit motor function. The landmark Management of Myelomeningocele Study showed the effectiveness of fetal surgery for brain development, but most children treated were still unable to walk independently at 30 months of age.

However, new research from UC Davis Health System suggests that fetal surgery combined with stem cell treatment offers hope of a cure for spina bifida before birth.

Promising Results Treating Spina Bifida in Animals: Fetal Surgery + Stem Cell Treatment

In a recent study 12 lambs with spina bifida were given standard fetal surgery, while half of the group also received stem cell treatment.

The six animals who received the stem cell treatment showed noticeable improvement compared with the control group. All 6 animals treated with the additional stem cell therapy had the ability to walk without noticeable disability in the hours after birth.

This, of course, has led doctors to believe that such promising results in animal testing can also benefit human babies diagnosed with spina bifida as well.

stem cell scientists Shinya Yamanaka and John B. Gurdon

Stem Cell Discoveries Win Nobel Prize

2012 Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded – A pair of stem cell discoveries some 40 years apart have earned John B. Gurdon of the University of Cambridge & Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Their discoveries are central to the promise of regenerative medicine and offer hope that human organs can be repaired or replaced with one’s own cells.

Of course, the findings certainly raise ethical and religious questions about animal cloning and the ability of science to create life. read the article: Cloning and Stem Cell Discoveries Earn Nobel in Medicine – NYTimes

Geron Halts Stem Cell Research

geron coroporation stem cell

Geron Corporation

Geron Quits Stem Cell Research – A leader in the field of stem cell research, and in the midst of the world’s first clinical trial using embryonic stem cells, Geron Corporation abruptly announced that it is leaving the stem cell business entirely.

This bombshell comes in the midst of a terrible year for the California-based biopharmaceutical company in which the company stock has dropped about 70%. In the wake of the announcement, the stock dropped to another 52 week low today of $1.58 per share.

The decision to cease stem cell trial, which held promise for those with spinal cord injuries, was reportedly a financial decision, as the company said it would focus on more lucrative projects including cancer treatments.

However, critics wonder if this decision was really based primarily on money. “This company would not walk away from this trial in the absence of an unexpected complication or safety concern, if there was any evidence that it was working,” said Dr. Daniel Salomon of the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego.

Many are left to wonder whether embryonic stem cell research has been abandoned entirely in the U.S. Read the story from ABC News


 

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