An Eye for a Tooth: Corneal Blindness Treatment Advances With The Use Of Dental Stem Cells.

Dental Stem Cells may hold the potential to cure corneal blindness.

Ophthalmologists James L Funderburgh, Ph.D. and Fatima Syed-Picard, Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh have devised a method for treating corneal blindness by utilizing dental pulp stem cells.  The researchers harvested the stem cells from molars discarded during routine extraction and induced the cells to differentiate into keratocytes [corneal cells].  They then seeded the cells onto a nanofiber scaffold, allowing them to grow into fully developed, functional corneas capable of restoring eyesight.    Continue reading

Stroke-Induced Brain Damage Prevented by Stem Cells.

Stem cells have been found to prevent neurological damage to GCI stroke victims.

In a recently published study from the Hallym University College of Medicine, researchers have applied mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] to animal models afflicted with global cerebral ischemia [GCI] to successfully reduce the associated neuronal damage.  When compared to those that received no treatment, animals that received MSCs displayed a significant decrease in cell death, inflammation to the brain, and disruption of the blood brain barrier. Continue reading

Multiple Sclerosis Trial Exhibits Positive Results of Stem Cell Therapy.

A five year phase II clinical trial has shown initial success in treating multiple sclerosis.

In a recent update of an ongoing five year clinical trial conducted by the Chicago Blood Cancer Institute, patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis have experienced suppression of disease-related inflammation as a result of hematopoietic stem cell transplantations.  The stem cells have the ability to regulate the autoimmune attack on the central nervous system, and have provided 82.8% of the patients with two years thus far of event-free disease remission. Continue reading

Low Blood Cell Counts Could Be Treated by Regulating Stem Cells.

Megakaryotes may hold the ability to regulate the amount of blood that stem cells produce.

According to new research from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, hematopoietic stem cells [stem cells that produce blood] are directly regulated by megakaryocytes, the blood cells responsible for healing wounds.  The researchers found that megakaryotes produce two growth factors; one that signals for hematopoietic stem cells to proliferate, and one that keeps them in an inactive state.  This relationship controls the amount of blood being produced in the body. Continue reading

MIT Develops New Stem Cell Isolation Technique.

Researchers have discovered a method of purifying mesenchymal stem cells from the other cells within the bone marrow.

In a new study, researchers from the Singapore-MIT Alliance in Research and Technology have identified three physical characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] that can distinguish them from other bone marrow-derived cell types. By isolating cells in the bone marrow based on size, stiffness, and fluctuations in the nuclear membrane, scientists can rapidly generate and purify the stem cells needed to treat patients.    Continue reading

Brain Tumor Chemotherapy Delivered via Stem Cells.

Scientists hope to use stem cells to minimize collateral damage from brain tumor chemotherapy treatments.

Neuroscientist Dr. Karen Aboody, M.D. and Oncologist Dr. Jana Portnow, M.D. from City of Hope Hospital are set to begin a phase 1 clinical trial for a method of delivering chemotherapy treatments to glioblastoma [aggressive brain tumors] with modified neural stem cells.  The scientists plan to capitalize on the stem cells’ innate ability to seek out invasive tumors by loading the cells with a chemotherapeutic protein and then injecting them into the brain. Continue reading

Gel-Like Polymers May Improve Stem Cell-Based Therapies.

Scientists are developing a polymeric gel to protect stem cells from trauma during transplant injections.

Complex chemical polymers are currently being developed by scientists at Stanford University to protect and support the proliferation of stem cells during spinal cord transplantation procedures.  The gels are designed to provide padding for the cells during injection, while also varying in viscosity and the biochemical signals contained within to offer stem cells an optimal environment for differentiation. Continue reading

FSHD Study Utilizes Stem Cells

A new potential treatment for FSHD utilizes stem cells to regenerate the muscle lost to protein DUX4.

In a recently published study by the University of Minnesota, researchers are utilizing skeletal muscle stem cells in an animal model designed to study the muscle-degenerative protein DUX4 found in patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy [FSHD]. The team was able to harvest the muscle stem cells from one mouse with FSHD and transplant them into a recipient mouse, allowing the recipient to regenerate new muscle as long as DUX4 was not activated. Continue reading

Growing Teeth with Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Scientists are using mesenchymal stem cells to grow new organs in vivo.

Researchers at the Wyss Institute and Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a self-shrinking gel that, when loaded with mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs], stimulates their ability to differentiate into teeth, bones, and organs in vivo [in the patient’s body]. The gel is designed to spontaneously compress at 37°C [the temperature of the human body], which places the physical pressure required to trigger the stem cells’ proliferative properties while inside the patient’s body. Continue reading

Eye Cells Developed with Autologous Stem Cells May Lead to Vision Restoration.

Scientists have utilized stem cells to create viable eye tissue in vitro.

Two studies presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in Orlando, FL, have proposed methods to differentiate autologous non-embryonic stem cells into various eye cells that can be utilized to replace damaged tissue in patients with impaired vision. In one study the researchers converted stem cells in the front of the eye to nerve cells in the back of the eye. In the second, stem cells were introduced to specific growth factors that promoted their development into eye tissue. Continue reading