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Thread: Stem Cell Articles

  1. #21
    Several hospitals engaged in unauthorised use of stem cells for treating fatal diseases

    Monday, July 16, 2007 08:00 IST
    Nandita Vijay, Bangalore

    Several small hospitals, nursing homes and one-man clinics in the country are found to be engaged in drawing stem cells from peripheral blood of patients and using them for treating certain fatal diseases. The clinically approved practice is to draw stem cells from bone marrow and not from peripheral blood.

    A section of doctors are trying to take maximum advantage of the impression amongst the public about stem cells considered to be a proven therapy for regeneration, reversal of degenerative disease, injury and anti-ageing benefit with least side effects. They are increasingly convincing patients, who can afford this treatment, to go in for stem cells therapies.

    With half-baked information about the benefits of stem cell therapy, some unscrupulous doctors are working to take the most out of the opportunity and make a fast buck. A number of patients suffering from spinal cord injuries, myocardial infarction, leg ischemia, diabetes and Parkinson's disease are thus being taken for a ride.

    Once the patient agrees for stem cell treatment, 5ml of peripheral blood is drawn from his peripheral veins. Blood is churned in a centrifuge after which the buffy coat is taken out and injected. Patients are charged Rs 65,000 for the treatment as they are impatient for a cure.

    Although peripheral blood is known to contain stem cells, it cannot be used to treat illness. The racket is rampant and needs to be exposed because the ignorant patient is misguided, informed sources said.

    Doctors are also known to transplant Foetal stem cells, where stem cells are sourced from aborted fetuses for treatment. The use of embryonic stem cells and foetal stem cells are still not approved for treatment by the regulatory authorities.


  2. #22
    July 16, 2007
    German ethics body recommends easing stem cell law

    BERLIN (Reuters) - A body that advises the German government on medical ethics on Monday recommended changing the law to make stem cell research easier, a view that could boost the chances of new legislation.

    The National Ethics Council voted narrowly in favor of changes to existing laws, which scientists say prevent them keeping up with global advances.

    After a heated debate in 2002, parliament decided to ban the production of embryonic cells from pre-existing stem cell lines.

    To ensure foreign laboratories did not produce stem cell lines for the German market, it barred German scientists from working on any lines created after January 1, 2002.


  3. #23
    Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation From Chinese Mainland to Taiwan

    The first haematopoietic stem cell transplantation from a Chinese mainland donor to a Taiwan resident will take place next week.
    Volunteer Hang Bin has arrived in Beijing for preparation. She is from East China's Jiangsu Province and is quite honored to make the contribution.


  4. #24
    Stem cell specialists face questioning
    16 Jul 2007

    A top panel of experts will face questions of public and scientific concern on stem cell research during an international conference being held at The University of Manchester this week.
    The Stem Cell Question Time will be headed by Lord Naren Patel, chair of the UK National Stem Cell Network, as part of Stem Cell Manchester, a three-day gathering of stem cell researchers from across the globe.

    Among the panellists at Wednesday's event will be Ron McKay from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, Justine Burley, from the University of Singapore, and Jed Davies, from the University of Toronto, Canada.

    The audience, which will be comprised of scientists both within and outside the field, will be invited to submit questions on important, contentious and challenging issues facing the stem cell research community.

    Such topics up for discussion are likely to focus on the ethical issues surrounding stem cell research as well as the scientific challenges that must be overcome if this cutting-edge branch of biomedical research is to fulfil its true potential.


  5. #25
    Stem Cells Treat Urinary Incontinence

    Ivanhoe Broadcast News
    Monday, July 16, 2007; 12:00 AM

    TORONTO (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- Approximately 13 million Americans are living with urinary incontinence -- a condition that causes the bladder to leak urine. Its nearly twice as common in women, and many dont seek help. Surgical slings, pills and exercises are a few common treatments, but researchers say stem cell therapy could offer new hope to people looking to live a life free of embarrassment.

    Sharon Tomlinson has been living with an embarrassing problem for six years. Someone would tell a joke, and I would wet myself, she says. If Id cough, lots of times, I would find myself wet, and it became awkward.

    Urinary incontinence became particularly inconvenient for Tomlinson when it began to interfere with some of her favorite hobbies, like golf. I had been embarrassed enough times that I really had to do something about it, she says. Thats why Tomlinson decided to join a clinical trial designed to test the efficacy of a new form of stem cell therapy.


  6. #26
    Can Patch use for spinal cord injury to improve function?

    Patch Helps Heart Grow New Cells
    07.16.07, 12:00 AM ET

    MONDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- A special patch placed on a damaged area of the heart regenerates cardiac cells after heart attack and improves heart function, a new study finds.
    Success with the patch in rats may lead the way to new methods of repairing damaged human hearts and possibly spare some patients the need for a heart transplant, according to researchers reporting in the July 15 online edition of Nature Medicine.

    "Normally, adult human hearts do not regenerate because the heart doesn't make more cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) after injury," explained lead researcher Dr. Bernhard Kuhn, from the Department of Cardiology at Children's Hospital Boston. "It would be desirable to induce the heart to make new cardiomyocytes after injury."

    To that end, Kuhn's team created a patch that contains a compound called periostin, which helps cardiomyocytes divide and multiply. "If you do that over a number of cycles, you do get an increase in cardiomyocytes," he said. "So, the cardiomyocytes you have lost are replaced."

    Periostin is a natural component of tissue surrounding cells. It comes from the skin lying around bone and helps stimulate cells to divide.

    During a heart attack, cardiac cells die from lack of blood and oxygen. This damage prevents the heart from working normally. Typically, lost or damaged cardiac tissue cannot regrow.

    In their experiments, Kuhn's team made patches from a material called Gelfoam and soaked the patches with periostin. They placed the patches on the damaged heart muscle of rats in which they had induced a heart attack.

    After 12 weeks, the rats treated with the periostin patch experienced a 16 percent improvement in their heart's cardiac pumping ability. They also had less scarring of heart tissue, a reduction in the size of the damaged area of the heart, and more blood vessels feeding the area. In contrast, rats that received a patch without periostin showed no change in their heart function.

    The hearts of rats treated with periostin showed a 100-fold increase in the number of heart cells and an average of 6 million more heart cells, far outnumbering the amount of dying cells.

    The advantage of this technique is that it doesn't require new cells, such as stem cells, to coax the growth of new heart cells. Stem cells might also migrate to other parts of the body, with unknown consequences, Kuhn said. The patch is "also not gene-based, so it's not gene therapy," he said.

    It is possible that this same technique could be used in people who have severe heart disease, Kuhn said. Although the technique might not restore heart function back to normal, there could be significant improvement, he said.

    "At this point, the only biologically proven myocardial [heart] replacement therapy is heart transplant," Kuhn said. "But with this method, if you were on a transplant list, you may be able to come off it," he said. "This could be a revolutionary approach to treating heart failure."

    One expert was impressed by the findings.

    "The work is important in at least two ways: It helps improve our understanding of the molecular pathways regulating cell cycle reentry in adult cardiomyocytes, and it can form a basis for novel heart therapies based on the mobilization of [the heart's own] cells," said Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, a professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City and co-director of the Tissue Engineering Resource Center at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.


  7. #27
    House Will Likely Debate Ethical Stem Cell Research Funding This Week

    by Steven Ertelt Editor
    July 16, 2007

    Washington, DC ( -- The House of Representatives will likely engage in another debate on stem cell research this week as it takes up the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill. On Wednesday or Thursday, House members will consider an amendment to support ethical forms of the research.

    Pro-life lawmakers and organizations support ethical stem cell research using stem cells obtained from alternative sources such as umbilical cord blood. These don't require the destruction of human life to obtain.

    To further such research, pro-life Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, is joining with Rep. Artur Davis, an Alabama Democrat who votes for abortion.

    Together the two will offer an amendment to bring the funding of the National Cord Blood Inventory program up to its full authorized level of $15 million. Congress has allowed funding before, but has not fully funded the initiative -- with the current appropriations bill setting funding at only $4 million.

    Without proper funding for the NCBI, it will be forced to reduce the contracts awarded to cord blood banks, will not be able to expand and include other banks in the national inventory, and will likely fail to meet the goals and purposes of the law.


  8. #28
    What Stem Cells May Mean to Ophthalmology

    News from London on a potential breakthrough underscores the impact that stem cell research may have in our field of medicine.

    Robert M. Kershner, MD, MS, FACS, Boston

    Stem cells, those progenitor, prodigious and primordial little cells have been credited with everything from curing cancer to restoring sight to the blind. Why then is such a small group of cell types the center of such a tempest that even God himself is brought into the mix? Have we found the Holy Grail of medical cures at last?

    Somewhere between the hype of the ongoing political and scientific debate and the real science that is taking place, there lies a glimmer of hope. The exhaustive research and millions of dollars already spent in chasing the stem cell microcosm is beginning to live up to its expectations. As the unraveling of the human genome that enhanced our understanding of disease, our knowledge of how stem cells go about their business could forever change how we practice medicine.

    Science is on the cusp of something big from which a new field of regenerative medicine is emerging. Should ophthalmologists care? If recent work is any indication, we eye specialists may have a special stake in the outcome of the stem-cell wars (See sidebar, below). The impact of this specialized science on how we treat our patients could be profound.

    Promise and Controversy

    Stem cells, of which there are three main types—embryonic (derived from blastocysts), umbilical cord blood stem cells, and adult stem cells—are common to all organisms. These pluripotential cells possess the unique ability to renew themselves and to differentiate into an almost limitless range of cell types.

    Stem cell research, first pursued in the 1960s by Canadian scientists Ernest A. McCulloch and James E. Till, is as vast and complicated a field as the human genome itself. Stem cells can be nudged to grow and differentiate by a promoter gene sequence of DNA that can tell the cell precisely what to do, when to do it, and how to act when it grows up. The real interest rests with embryonic cells, for they are truly pluripotential. These cells possess all the genetic information that is required to become anything from a skin cell to a retinal photoreceptor.

    Once they divide through the process of mitotic division however, they are already well on their way to differentiating into fully functional adult cells. The secret is to isolate the post-mitotic precursor that can be coaxed into going one direction or the other, much like your teenager deciding to become a Rhodes Scholar or a gang member. The progenitor cells are the immature, yet undifferentiated cells that become something special, and therefore less able to differentiate themselves than the original stem cell from which they came. It is the stem cell, the stem of the plant that has yet to flower, that has created all the fervor.

    The controversy about stem cell research is centered on the source for these little wonders: either fetal tissue or established stem cell lines. Researchers confined to using only established cell lines are limited in the directions that their cells can take. Providing a fresh source of fetal cells for science opens limitless possibilities.

    Where do ophthalmologists fit in? Let’s take a look at where stem cell lines could be utilized in the eye.


  9. #29
    Stem Cell Transplants Aid Angina Patients

    U.S. scientists have found transplantation of purified adult stem cells into the hearts of severe angina patients is safe and provides pain reduction.

    Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine scientists, in the first such U.S. study, found the transplanted stem cells produced a reduction in angina pain, as well as improved functioning in the patients' daily lives.


  10. #30

    Thumbs up


    Vas votes "yes" on stem cells

    Home News Tribune Online 07/17/07

    MIDDLESEX COUNTY — ASSEMBLYMAN JOSEPH VAS, D-Middlesex, voted in support of legislation authorizing a November bond referendum to provide $450 million for stem cell research efforts in New Jersey.

    "The investment of nearly half a billion dollars in stem cell research would help generate cures to deadly diseases and create scores of new high-paying jobs in the biomedical research industry," said Vas, who represents Carteret, Perth Amboy Sayreville, South Amboy and Woodbridge.

    Vas said his support as a co-sponsor of the measure is the latest chapter in New Jersey's history of supporting stem cell research. In 2004, New Jersey became the second state in the nation to authorize embryonic and adult stem cell research, a law Vas supported.


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