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
Will Stem Cells be Used With Japan’s Nuclear Workers?
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
Ray and Dagmar Dolby
Ray Dolby Donates Millions to Fund Stem Cell Research – The University of California San Francisco reported today that they have received a 20 million dollar donation from Ray Dolby, founder of Dolby Laboratories. (aka Dolby sound) This is the second large donation made by Dolby to UCSF for stem cells, as in 2006 he and his wife donated $16 million to launch a $123M fund raising campaign for the same stem cell building.
(Dolby’s 2006 donation, like many others, occurred only days after then President Bush vetoed the embryonic stem cell research bill with baby in arms)
The new stem cell research building will be named the Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building, and is set to open its doors next week. (February 9th) The building will be the headquarters of UCSF’s stem cell research.
Stem Cell Donors: Dolby is one of several prominent wealthy individuals to donate to stem cell research. Others include Michael Bloomberg, Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle), Bill Gates, and Michael J Fox.
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