German scientists at the University of Bielefeld and Dresden University of technology have produced neurons from inferior turbinate stem cells [ITSC], a cell type that is typically discarded during sinus surgery, as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease. After transplanting the ITSCs into an animal model suffering from Parkinson’s, the researchers observed full functional restoration and significant behavioral recovery in the subjects without any adverse side effects. 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 research team, led by Dr. Eric Darling of Brown University, has found a potential source of stem cells to protect children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia against the adverse effects of the chemotherapy drug methotrexate (MTX). Adipose-derived stem cells, which appear to be impervious to the bone-degenerative side effects of MTX, may allow children to undergo the chemotherapy treatment and then regain the lost bone tissue afterwards. Continue reading
Recently, researchers team from Sanford-Burnham’s Del E. Webb Center for Neuroscience, Aging, and Stem Cell Research and MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research used stem cells from patients with Parkinson’s disease to show that a genetic mutation is partly responsible for cell death in the patients’ nervous system. This study exhibits a novel ability of stem cells to act as a model through which researchers can better understand diseases and develop better outcomes. Continue reading
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.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive degenerative disorder of the nervous system that affects movement and motor function. Some common symptoms of the disease are tremors and difficulty walking, caused by degeneration of neurons that produce dopamine (also know as “dopaminergic neurons”).
In a recent study, Takuya Hayashi headed a team of researchers at the RIKEN Center for Molecular Imaging Science with the goal of regenerating dopaminergic neurons using autologus stem cells (or stem cells derived from a patient’s own body). The researchers directed the stem cells to differentiate into dopaminergic neurons in an animal model; monkeys suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers at Gutenberg University Mainz have found a way to generate human neurons from pericytes, cells found in the central nervous system, through the use of stem cells. The researchers have observed the process of differentiation that stem cells undergo when they become a new type of cell, and have induced stem cells to go through this process. Therefore, these cells have been directed to become new neuronal cells.
Dr. Peter Donovan, Dr. Hans Keirstead, Dr. Aileen Anderson, Dr. Brian Cummings, Dr. Frank LaFerla, Dr. Leslie M. Thompson, and Dr. Matthew Blurton-Jones of UC Irvine discuss the importance of stem cells and the current research taking place within their labs.