Sniffing Out Parkinson’s Disease with Stem Cells

Stem Cells found in the nose produce neurons that may be able to treat neurodegenerative diseases.

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

Singing the Praises of Stem Cell Research

Stem Cells in white crown sparrows used to study neurodegenerative diseases.

A research team from the University of Washington has discovered a stem cell signal in Gambel’s white-crown sparrows that may lead to new regenerative treatments for patient suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.  The team found that, in preparation for an upcoming mating season, the sparrow’s brain cells release a chemical signal that activates the division of neural stem cells, which facilitate peak singing performance to attract mates. 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

Stem Cells Repair Damage via “First Aid Kits”

Scientists found that neural stem cells deliver restorative materials to other cells through vesicle transport.

In a recently published study, a team of researchers from the University of Cambridge has shown that neural stem cells are able to communicate and alleviate damage in other cells by transferring vesicles filled with molecules that enable the cells to repair themselves.  The cellular “first aid kits” contain proteins and nucleic acids that stimulate gene activation and signaling pathways to help the injured target cells survive. 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

Dental Stem Cells Differentiated into Brain-like Cells for Stroke Patients

Scientists have discovered the ability of dental pulp stem cells to grow into brain-like neurons.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide, led by Dr. Kylie Ellis, have discovered that dental pulp stem cells [DPSC] have the ability to differentiate into complex networks of cells closely resembling neurons found in the brain.  According to Dr. Ellis, “Stem cells from teeth have great potential to grow into new brain or nerve cells, and this could potentially assist with treatments of brain disorders, such as stroke.” She goes on to say “ultimately, we want to be able to use a patient’s own stem cells for tailor-made brain therapy that doesn’t have the host rejection issues commonly associated with cell-based therapies. Another advantage is that dental pulp stem cell therapy may provide a treatment option available months or even years after the stroke has occurred.”  Current drug treatment therapies for stroke victims must be administered almost immediately following the stroke – within hours.  This severely limits their application as most stroke victims don’t have access to these treatments within that timeframe. Continue reading

Bipolar Disorder Studied by Utilizing Autologous Stem Cells.

Researchers from the University of Michigan have used stem cells to study and progress bipolar disease.

New research published by scientists from the University of Michigan Medical School utilized stem cell-derived neurons to better understand and compare the origin and function of brain cells between people with bipolar disorder and those without.  The researchers observed that when differentiating the stem cells into neurons, the cells from people with bipolar disorder showed differences in gene expression and reacted differently to neurological stimuli. Continue reading

Motor Neuron Development Accelerated by New Stem Cell Technique

A new procedure in differentiating stem cells will accelerate advances in treating neurological diseases.

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

Mesenchymal Stem Cells [MSC] Promote Nerve Regeneration

neurons

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery find that mesenchymal stem cells [the type of stem cells found in teeth] promoted nerve regeneration in animal models [in this case – rodents] with paralyzing leg injuries.  According to the researchers, “Mesenchymal stem cells may be a promising add-on therapy to help damaged nerves regenerate.”  The study found that the rodents treated with their own stem cells responded best to the treatment. Those treated with donated cells from dissimilar rodent types – a situation most similar to human transplants – rejected their new limbs.

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