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Thread: A visit to Dr. Keirstead’s lab.

  1. #1

    A visit to Dr. Keirstead’s lab.

    I am thrilled and honored to announce that WALDERNESS (Brian) and I have been invited to tour Dr. Keirstead’s lab. We hope to iron our trip dates this week.

    Our trip is inspired by Schmeky’s recent visit with Dr. Davies. Much thanks to Schmeky, Karen Miner and Don Reed for their help and encouragement in getting this set up.

    Following is an excerpt of an email sent to me by Karen Miner following a recent fundraiser for Dr. Keirstead’s work. Paragraph 5 speaks to his work with chronics.

    I am pleased to report that the Seventh Annual Research for Cure Dinner was a huge success, due to 1. Dr. Keirstead's presentation plus his easy manner of cruising through the attendees, allowing everyone an opportunity to speak to him about their own concerns. 2. The efforts of a growing number of volunteers.
    Below is a brief synopsis of Dr. Keirstead's presentation. It lacks the details and the excitement that Dr. Keirstead has for this work, which is quite contagious.

    Keirstead worked with Dr. Thomas Lane at UCI, whose interest is multiple sclerosis, to develop a means of reducing the inflammatory response immediately after trauma or injury to the nervous system. Together they developed a treatment for multiple sclerosis, which Dr. Keirstead’s group then adapted for use in acute SCI. A phase 1 clinical trial began in 2006 on individuals with ulcerative colitus (same inflammatory mechanism that causes degeneration), and is funded by
    Medarex Corporation.

    Using hESCs, Dr. Keirstead’ team has had great success turning them into oligodendrocytes, with a purity level above 95%. Injection of the cells into sub-acute paralyzed rats (within 2 weeks of injury) resulted in improvement of function. Four other laboratories replicated this approach. Clinical trial dates have been pushed forward several times, as this will be the first hESC therapy clinical trial and safety is the primary consideration. Being the first trial, new procedures and standards have been created and revised and revised again. Clinical trials are now scheduled to begin in 2008, and will be funded by
    Geron Corporation.

    Dr. Keirstead also has a team working on scar tissue removal. Scar tissue is the reason that the oligodendrocyte treatment outlined above will only work on acute injuries - there is no scar tissue in acute injuries. If the scar tissue is removed, the sub-acute injuries become like acute injuries and treatments successful on acute injuries may be successful.

    Chronic studies are being pursued with a passion equal to my own for treatments. Motor neurons, in conjunction with cAMP and a "designer" virus, is hoped to restore function in chronic SCI (months to decades after injury). This is another wonderful example of collaboration equaling faster answers to recovery treatments. Dr. Keirstead and collaborators from California Stem Cell Inc. have put their knowledge together and now can produce clinical grade human motor neurons in large volumes at 95% purity. Dr. Keirstead has provided these cells to Dr. Doug Kerr at Johns Hopkins, and both have both begun animal testing. Because of Dr. Keirstead’s experience with the FDA during his work with
    Geron Corporation, the path now exists to move through the process much quicker. The first human trials are planned for babies with spinal muscular atrophy. These poor babies generally only live about 12 months, and die as a result of motor neuron death within the spinal cord. There are currently no treatments for the disease. The trials would be relatively quick, as the babies’ lifespan is so short. As with other clinical trials, once a treatment has been proven safe for humans, it can be used for other conditions.

    We all left with hope, based on science and, hopefully, a desire to help politically for increased funding for hESC research, or a desire to volunteer time in efforts to raised money or, if able, donate money towards this exciting research OR all three! : ]

    __________________

    Brian and I are eager to meet any West Coast CCers who can arrange their schedule to join us for dinner or such. Sorry we cannot invite you join us on the tour but we would enjoy discussing our impressions with you while we’re in town.

    We are also very interested in your questions for Dr. Keirstead. Please help us prepare so that we take full advantage of this opportunity.

    In keeping with Schmeky’s fine example, upon our return we will give this community a report on our visit.

    Mods, as with the Davies’ thread, I hope you will sticky this thread and help keep it on point.
    My blog: Living Life at Butt Level

    Ignite Phoenix #9 - Wheelchairs and Wisdom: Living Life at Butt Level

    "I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit."

    Dawna Markova Author of Open Mind.

  2. #2

    Thumbs up

    quote:

    I am thrilled and honored to announce that WALDERNESS (Brian) and I have been invited to tour Dr. Keirstead’s lab. We hope to iron our trip dates this week.

    Our trip is inspired by Schmeky’s recent visit with Dr. Davies. Much thanks to Schmeky, Karen Miner and Don Reed for their help and encouragement in getting this set up.

    Following is an excerpt of an email sent to me by Karen Miner following a recent fundraiser for Dr. Keirstead’s work. Paragraph 5 speaks to his work with chronics.


    This is a great report! Thanks guys! Always Schmeky has a great ideas.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Schmeky's Avatar
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    Jen,

    Excellent. I have no doubt you guys will do a great job. I want the forum to know I had little to do with this, Jen has done all the work.

  4. #4
    I messaged Jen with interest in visiting the lab, and before I knew it, she had the trip nearly arranged! I can vouch that this is all her work. Thanks, Jen!

    We'll do our best to regurgitate Dr. Keirstead's research. From what I hear, he is enthusiastic about his work, but not into grandstanding like some scientists...

  5. #5
    Senior Member kate's Avatar
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    Good for you!

    The thing I'd like to understand better has to do with this:

    Being the first trial, new procedures and standards have been created and revised and revised again. Clinical trials are now scheduled to begin in 2008, and will be funded by Geron Corporation.
    Like, what's the process for coming up with these procedures and standards? Who decides at what point to stop revising?

    It would obviously be a catastrophe for us if there were a safety issue, so it's in our interest to support the procedures and standards process . . . which we can do a lot more effectively if we understand it.

    That's one. The other one is all the details about the 2008 trials, including when, where, how many, what kinds of injury, what results are they looking for.

    If you can get images that illustrate what you're describing, that would be golden.

    Thank you for doing this.

  6. #6
    Jen,

    I look forward to your report on the visit. I think it's great that you two are going out there!
    Daniel

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mona~on~wheels's Avatar
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    Me too. Cool beans~ Awesome!

  8. #8
    Senior Member poonsuzanne's Avatar
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    Jen,

    Thanks for doing this for us! I feel deeply grateful for you and Brian!!

    I am very much interested in Dr. Kierstead research work on motor neurons. My son was completely injured at T12. Therefore, if I am not wrong, in his case, the "Central Pattern Generator (CPG)" located at 12 should have been completed damaged also. I came to learn that motor neurons have to be replaced in order to regenerate the CPG.

    Suzanne
    Suzanne

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Thanks for doing this! You all have renewed my "realistic hopefulness".

  10. #10
    Excellent news - it will be great to get a first-hand report of another lab and its research. Looking forward to it.

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