Monthly Archives: April 2016

Turning science fiction into science fact

turningscien

April 29, 2016 by Lauren Flynn

Joints that can be reconstructed. New tissues or entire organs to replace those damaged in injury or disease. A transplant of healthy beta cells so a diabetic never needs an insulin injection again.

It sounds a bit like science fiction, but these are among the problems Western’s stem cell researchers are working on and may be a reality in the very near future. The Western stem cell community is growing and currently 17 Western labs and their trainees are members of the Ontario Institute of Regenerative Medicine (OIRM). These members are engaged in a wide range of research activities, from understanding the earliest steps in embryonic development, to harnessing the power of adult stem cells to direct tissue repair or replacement.
Dr. David Hess has more than a professional interest in stem cells.
“As a teen,” he said, “I underwent bone marrow transplantation to treat severe aplastic anemia, a disease where stem cells within the bone marrow fail to produce red blood cells that carry oxygen to our tissues, leukocytes that fight infection, and platelets involved in blood coagulation.”
So, why stem cells?
Well, for one, stem cells are rather captivating entities. They are captivating in their ability to create perfect replicas of themselves and also create more specific cells the body needs for survival every day. Roughly two million red blood cells are produced every second. The lining of your intestine, probably the most hostile environment in your body, is completely regenerated by stem cells every three days. However, stem cells have also been subject to more than their fair share of controversy in the form of ethical debate and, more recently, hype as the ‘magic bullet’ to cure all ails.

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New protein injection reverses Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice in just one week Human trials are not far off.

New protein injection reverses Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice in just one week

Human trials are not far off.

BEC CREW
21 APR 2016
mouse-model-alzheimers_1024

Researchers have discovered that an injection of a protein called IL-33 can reverse Alzheimer’s-like symptoms and cognitive decline in mice, restoring their memory and cognitive function to the same levels as healthy mice in the space of one week.

Mice bred to develop a progressive Alzheimer’s-like disease as they aged (called APP/PS1 mice) were given daily injections of the protein, and it appeared to not only clear out the toxic amyloid plaques that are thought to trigger Alzheimer’s in humans, it also prevented more from forming.‌‌

“IL-33 is a protein produced by various cell types in the body and is particularly abundant in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord),” says lead researcher, Eddy Liew from the University of Glasgow in the UK. “We found that injection of IL-33 into aged APP/PS1 mice rapidly improved their memory and cognitive function to that of the age-matched normal mice within a week.”

Before we go any further, we should make it clear that these results are restricted to mice only, and at this stage, we have no idea if they will translate at all in humans with Alzheimer’s.

And the odds aren’t great – one study put successful translation of positive results in mice to humans at a rate of about 8 percent, so we can never get too excited until we see how things fare in human trials.

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Scientists grow skin that replicates function of tissue for first time

Skin grown with follicles, glands and nerves could transform burns treatment and offer alternative to animal testing

grown skin

Bioengineered skin complete with functioning hair follicles, glands and nerves has been grown using a new technique that could transform burns treatment and end cosmetics testing on animals.

Working with mice, scientists in Japan created the skin by first producing three-dimensional clumps of cells that resembled embryos in the womb.

They then implanted the so-called “embryoid bodies” into immune-deficient mice, where the cells developed further. Next, the maturing cells were grafted on to the bodies of other mice to complete their transformation into skin.

The end result was functional “integumentary tissue”, the deeply layered tissue that allows the skin to work as the body’s largest organ.Lead scientist Dr Takashi Tsuji, from the RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology, said: “Up until now, artificial skin development has been hampered by the fact the skin lacked the important organs, such as hair follicles and exocrine glands, which allow the skin to play its important role in regulation.

“With this new technique, we have successfully grown skin that replicates the function of normal tissue.

Read more at:  www.theguardian.com/science/2016/apr/02/new-bioengineered-skin-could-transform-burns-treatment

‘Groundbreaking’ Stem Cell Treatment Could Regrow Limbs, Repair Bones

image: http://www.redorbit.com/media/uploads/2016/04/cells.jpg

Human cells isolated

APRIL 5, 2016

‘Groundbreaking’ stem cell treatment could regrow limbs, repair bones

In the pages of comic books and on the silver screen, superheroes like Wolverine and Deadpool have a “healing factor” that allows their bodies to regenerate and recover from injuries or illness at an amazing rate – but certainly nothing like that is possible in real life, right?

Amazingly, a team of scientists led by John Pimanda, a hematologist and associate professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia, published a study in Monday’s edition of the journal PNAS reporting that they had successfully reprogrammed bone and fat cells into induced multipotent stem cells (iMS) – the first step to making such a repair system a reality.

As they explained in a statement, stem cell therapies using iMS cells could theoretically repair a fractured bone or fix injured spinal discs, using a technique similar to how salamanders are able to regenerate lost limbs. These treatments could radically alter the field of regenerative medicine, and perhaps most surprisingly, the authors believe they could be available in just a few years.  The technique, which has been successfully tested in mice, “is a significant advance on many of the current unproven stem cell therapies, which have shown little or no objective evidence they contribute directly to new tissue formation,” Pimanda said.

Human trials could begin by the end of 2017

Read more at http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1113413468/stem-cells-regrowth-040516/#EvTOIPDBBg2QCgD3.99