Category Archives: stem cell research

Researchers Create New Organ From Stem Cells

mouse stem cells

mouse stem cells

Functioning Organ Created From Stem Cells

Japanese researchers from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology have successfully created a fully functioning pituitary gland from the embryonic stem cells of a mouse.

The cultured pituitary gland was then successfully implanted into a mouse, (replacing the animal’s non-functioning organ) where it worked flawlessly.

The significance of this can’t be overstated, as what they have successfully created a functioning organ from a group of stem cells. Although the procedure was done with a mouse, this is an important step in the effort to reproduce human organs, which researchers say is still years away. Read this story

What is a pituitary gland? A pituitary gland is a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain that produces hormones including HGH (human growth hormone) and TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). The pituitary gland is important for growth, blood pressure, and thyroid function. Medifast Diet coupon: medifast coupon december

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

Stem Cell Treatment for Heart Attacks Approved in South Korea

south kora stem cells

South Korean Scientist

South Korean Stem Cell Program Scores a Victory – Five years have already passed since scandal rocked the South Korean stem cell research program. (This, of course, when professor Hwang Woo-Suk was publicly disgraced after being found guilt of fraud and embezzlement after fabricating the results of his stem cell research.)

And on this five year anniversary, South Korea has not only secured the 2018 Winter Olympics, but has also gained approval from their Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) for a stem cell medication intended for heart attack victims.

Stem Cell Heart Medication Approved

Heart Stem Cells

The approval is significant not only for this peticular medication, but according to Oh Il-hwan (professor of molecular biology at the Catholic University School of Medicine in Seoul) represents “the government opening the road for progressive development in stem cell research.”

The Korean Food & Drug Administration said that it had completed the procedures needed to authorize the sale of Hearticellgram-AMI, a stem cell medication for acute myocardial infarction. read full article

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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Cord blood Stem Cells

Cord Blood Stem Cells

Stem Cells from Cord Blood – In the New Scientist, the question was posed: “should parents pay to have their child’s cord blood stored or instead donate it to a public cord blood bank?” My answer:

“If the couple already has a child with a life-threatening blood cancer, then banking the cord blood of a healthy newborn sibling is a fine idea, because that blood could save the older child’s life.”

Blood cancers are rare. In fact, a child has only between one in 1,000 and one in 200,000 chance of needing an infusion of his or her own cord blood later in life. The bigger promise advertised by some private banksbettertogive1.gif pivots on the supposed power of cord blood to cure common illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Some advertisements claim future cures for all of these, and may even be used to grow new body parts.

But wait a minute:

“Cord stem cells are scarce, and therefore not useful for most adults, who need large numbers of cells for transplants. Some assert that cord stem cells are powerful because they ignore their bloodline heritage and change into a multiplicity of cell types, including heart muscle and brain tissue. But this is hotly contested, and researchers are slugging it out experimentally, testing whether cord stem cells are as potent as the more optimistic scientists and cord blood banking companies claim.”

I argued that some claims about the therapeutic potential of cord blood were overstated, and that it was wrong to advertise that cures or treatments for complex diseases using cord blood were right around the corner.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has issued ethical guidelines for how physicians should talk to parents about donating their babies’ umbilical cord blood. The vote was clear: mothers should be encouraged to give the blood to public cord blood banks. The guidelines also suggest that doctors obtain the consent to donate before the mother goes into labor, disclose any ties they have to a cord blood bank, and not accept fees for a cord bank referral. In January, the Academy of Pediatrics said parents should consider private storage only if an older sibling has cancer or certain genetic diseases that can be successfully treated with cord blood.

Cord stem cells are powerful: I’ll explain in future posts what science says about the cells, and how research is trying to sort out how these cells can treat disease.

During the holiday season, the spirit of giving in hospitals should take another form. Parents can donate blood to public banks. That would increase the likelihood that a desperately sick child or adult would benefit.