Archive by category | Regenerative medicine

Transplanted cells detoxify poisoned brain, somewhat

There is some new research just out from StemCells Inc, which is running clinical trials for Batten’s disease, a neuordegenerative disease. Here’s a quick write up from my reading of the paper, a study of a mouse model. Motor coordination symptoms were delayed by a week or so based on a comparison between 14 mice that received transplants and 8 that did not. My initial thoughts are that the length of time of the experiment was too short, and I’m not sure if the magnitude of the observed effect would be clinically meaningful, but it does indicate movement toward ameliorating a serious disease.  Read more

Round-up of regenerative medicine stories and a big, squeaking accomplishment

Two groups of researchers have at last completed a stringent test to show that induced pluripotent stem cells have the same developmental potential as embryonic stem cells: inserted into a special embryo, they can contribute to all the cells in a new mouse, litters of which have now been produced. (See the Nature news story)  … Read more

Mouse study shows stem cells might help Alzheimer’s

Headlines from a recent PNAS study showing that stem cells can reverse dementia in mice keep popping up in my inbox. Here’s the press release. The cells don’t actually become neurons but instead secrete a well-studied protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor that stimulates neurons already in the brain to form new connections. The paper from UC Irvine scientists is supposedly out today, but I can’t find it on the PNAS site. I’d like to know how much cognitive performance improved. Also, the researchers used mice genetically engineered to have Alzheimer’s. That’s often the only way to study this, but I’d like to know how well the model represents human disease and also whether te researchers started “treating” the disease pathology long before any clinical signs of the disease became obvious, which would mean the strategy may not work for patients that have had Alzheimer’s for any significant time.  Read more

Can gene therapy plus liver “stem cells” cure diabetes?

The press resleases of two new studies are making the rounds, so I’ll point to them here. One mouse study, published in Developmental Cell, shows that gene therapy can prompt liver cells toward beta cells. I’ll cover the other press release tomorrow.  Read more

NovoCell, Yamanaka make dream team against diabetes

One of the leading cell-therapy diabetes companies has just enlisted a rock star. The scientist who first described how to reprogram differentiated cells to pluripotency, Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University,has signed a deal with Novocell to use induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to replace the beta cells that are lost in diabetes.  Read more