According to a recent study conducted by scientists at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, stem cells may hold the key to replacing the body’s unwanted storage of white fat cells with calorie-burning brown fat cells. The researchers studied the stem cells that typically mature into white fat cells, and, after screening the effects of 1000 compounds on the cells, they found two that stimulate the stem cells to differentiate into brown fat cells instead. Continue reading
In a pilot study conducted by the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, five patients received transplants of their own [autologous] stem cells directly into their brains only seven days after a severe stroke. Although the trial was designed primarily to assess the safety of such a procedure, the patients showed significant signs of recovery considering the typical lethality of the strokes. Continue reading
In a novel use of stem cells, scientists at Rockefeller University and The Scripps Research Institute have created what they are referring to as a ‘humanized mouse’, which responds to diseases as a human would. The creation of mice that react to disease and potential treatments the way humans would will significantly reduce the cost, and speed the process, of developing treatments for a wide variety of disease. “We believe this will improve drug discovery because the reactions we observed were authentic human reactions,” says Dr. Harris Perlman of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Some of the diseases researchers are using these modified mice to develop treatments for are Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – an affliction that affects 70 million people (worldwide) and the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) which affects 130 million people worldwide.
Peter Couche suffered from a stroke 20 years ago and has since lived with ‘Locked-in Syndrome’. Peter established The Peter Couche Foundation within the Robinson Institute at the University of Adelaide. The foundation raises money to support adult stem cells research on treatments for stroke victims. The University research utilizes the powerful stem cells found in teeth to develop regenerative therapies to address the trauma induced as a result of a stroke. As the research advances, scientists envisage a therapy regiment utilizing autologous [from the patient] dental stem cells.
Stroke is the third largest cause of death and the single largest cause of adult disability in the developed world. The University of Glasgow and ReNeuron are advancing their clinical trial for stroke patients using neuronal stem cells. Approved by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the procedure involves expanding the stem cells in-vitro [to clinically relevant numbers] and then transplanting them into the individual. Professor Keith Muir, principal investigator in the trial, said: “We are very pleased that the trial is progressing well and that all the patients treated so far have shown no adverse effects.”
Researchers at Adelaide University have developed a potential therapy for stroke victims utilizing dental stem cells to regenerate damaged brain cells. The study involved the use of human dental pulp stem cells in rats suffering from post- stroke symptoms. The stem cells were transplanted into the damaged brains of the rats with the rats showing significant improvement in brain function, motor skills and cognitive abilities within several weeks. The therapy poses a new possibility for patients who have suffered a stroke. Patients will be able to use stem cells extracted from their own teeth to regenerate damaged brain tissue. The use of autologous stem cells eliminates the risk of rejection and the need for immune-suppression drugs and results in a more positive outcome. The research is so promising that the researchers hope to begin clinical trials within three to four years.