The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada has funded Canada’s first stem cell clinical trial to treat multiple sclerosis, conducted by researchers at the University of Ottawa. The trial, called MESCAMS [Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Canadian MS patients], will comprise MSC infusions to the central nervous system to utilize their ability to regulate autoimmune attacks and reduce inflammation in 40 MS patients. Continue reading
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
Scientists led by Dr. Craig Mello of The University of Massachusetts have developed a genetic tool – CRISPR [clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats] – to revolutionize the way stem cells are applied to treat genetic diseases, such as sickle cell or thalassemia. CRISPR aims to expedite and improve upon the process of translational genomics, in which the patient’s stem cells are extracted, altered to repair the damaged gene, and then transplanted back to the patient. Continue reading
As reported on the front page of the New York Times Science section, clinical applications of stem cell based therapies are accelerating at a rate that will revolutionize the medical field in a matter of years. In the United States alone, there are currently over 4000 therapies in clinical trials for the treatment of heart disease, blindness, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, H.I.V., and other diseases, injuries, and traumas. Continue reading
A team of researchers led by Professor Jeanne Loring of the Scripps Research Institute have advanced a potential treatment option for autoimmune diseases similar to multiple sclerosis by utilizing human stem cells to reregulate the immune system. In an animal model paralyzed by MS symptoms, the scientists differentiated human stem cells into early stage neural cells that, when transplanted into the spinal cords of the compromised mice, secreted proteins that halted the autoimmune attack and enabled the mice to walk and run again. Continue reading
In a recent publication, biologists in the Immune Tolerance Network have used autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells to refurbish the immune systems of Multiple Sclerosis [MS] patients to no longer favor autoimmunity. The ITN researchers suppressed the patients’ immune systems, transplanted the stem cells, and in a 12 month follow-up, identified key distinctions between the patients’ T-cells before and after the transplant, indicating that the procedure was a success. Continue reading
A team of researchers at the University of Illinois led by doctors Fei Wang, Qiuhao Qu, and JianJun Cheng, have developed a fast and efficient technique for differentiating stem cells into motor neurons. The researchers added critical signaling molecules and growth factors to the cells much earlier than previous methods, resulting in twice the amount of neurons derived from the cells in half the time. Continue reading
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, adult stem cell therapies are advancing rapidly; with researchers utilizing stem cells to treat an expanding range of disease, trauma and injury. The article highlights the increasing use of cord blood to treat a variety of ailments such as; Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury and immune deficiencies such as diabetes. Continue reading
A team of researchers led by Dr. Cecilia Laterza and Dr. Gianvito Martino at the San Raffaele Hospital have found a novel use of neural stem cells to modulate damage caused by multiple sclerosis. Stem cells injected into mice with MS travelled to sites of inflammation and secreted factors to promote growth of myelin-producing cells and limit the inflammation caused by the strong immune attack.
Scientists in the US (UC, UCSD) and China (Wuhan) have found a way to convert stem cells into functional neurons. The researchers were able to suppress an RNA-binding protein, inducing the stem cells to become neurons. This gives hope for a treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), which will afflict one in four Americans over their lifetime.