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Category Archives: Diseases

Stem Cell Conferences | Cell and Stem Cell Congress | Stem …

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Guidelines for Preventing Opportunistic Infections Among …

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Cell Therapy Conferences | Spain | Worldwide Events …

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Adult Stem Cells – Therapies and Treatments

Life-Saving Stem Cells – Discover, Learn, ShareNearly everyone inside and outside of the medical and scientific community agrees that stem cell research represents one of the most exciting and promising frontiers for treating people with a myriad of diseases and conditions. Stem cell research and treatments represent perhaps mankind’s greatest opportunity to fulfill that ancient call to “heal the sick,” relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for untold millions of people. This website provides scientific facts and concise information for those of us who are not scientists, researchers or medical professionals. You will learn answers toquestions like …”Who is benefitting from stem cell research and therapies today?” and “What types of stem cells are working?” In addition, basic questions such as”What is a stem cell?””Why do we need stem cell research?” are answered. The video patient profiles featured on this site emphasize ADULT stem cell advances with the goal of informing and the hope of inspiring you to take action. These real-life stories represent a small sampling of people and the many diseases and conditions now being helped by adult stem cells naturally found in the human body. Stem Cell Research Facts illustrates how current adult treatments and therapies directly impact the lives of patients and their families today – as opposed to debating themerits of other types of stem cell research. We invite you to discover, learn and share the incredible possibilites of stem cell research. We welcome your feedback and encourage you to return for the latest developments in the world of stem cell research. Thank you! Continue reading

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Eye Diseases | Canadian Stem Cell Foundation

Are there stem cell therapies available for eye diseases? To our knowledge, no stem cell therapy has received Health Canada or U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for treatment of eye diseases at this time. Patients who are researching their options may come across companies with Web sites or materials that say otherwise and offer fee-based stem cell treatments for curing this disease. Many of these claims are not supported by sound scientific evidence and patients considering these therapies are encouraged to review some of the links below before making crucial decisions about their treatment plan. For the latest developments read our blog entrieshere. For more about stem cell clinical trials for eye diseasesclick here.(for printed version: http://goo.gl/2i14w) There is currently no therapy for curing neurodegenerative eye diseases so the idea of transplanting stem cells to regenerate damaged cells holds great appeal. Stem cells have an unparalleled regenerative capacity and the flexibility to grow into hundreds of different types of cells. In theory, this means that they could be harnessed to produce an inexhaustible source of transplantable cells to repair the eye. This would be a tremendous boon in situations such as corneal transplants, where the demand overtakes the availability of donor tissue from cadavers. Other proposed strategies aim to take advantage of the properties of stem cells and their products to protect the many neurons in the eye responsible for vision. There are countless research teams around the globe working to develop stem cell therapies for eye diseases. Their common goals are identifying the best stem cell contenders, understanding the environmental cues that can coax them into becoming photoreceptor neurons, and developing the large scale lab methods required for ramping up the cell production. Researchers agree that one of the biggest challenges will be to figure out how get the transplanted cells to make the right links with other neurons in the eye. These connections are an essential part of restoring the transmission of visual information to the brain. One of the most important research contributions to date has come from Canadian researchers who identified retinal stem cells, first in the mouse and a few years later in humans. This discovery kindled hope in the research community that retinal damage, long considered permanent, might be reversible. The proof of principle for this concept came from experiments with mice and chicks, where transplanted retinal stem cells could integrate and make a variety of retinal cells, especially photoreceptor neurons. Stem cell research for eye diseases is moving along a number of different routes and some of the successful stops along the way have been translated into early Phase 1 and 2 clinical studies. These are small trials designed to carefully test the safety of using stem cells to replace or protect cells within the eye. The advances to date in both pre-clinical and clinical studies are quite remarkable, and are providing the basis for a realistic future where stem cell therapies will be a viable option for restoring damaged vision. Japan has approved the worlds first human tests using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to treat age-related macular degeneration. Find out morehere. Before basic stem cell research can be translated into the clinic for patients, it must first be rigorously tested and validated. For eye diseases, this involves transplanting stem cells and their products into animal models to test if vision can be improved. Stem cells from a wide variety of sources are being considered, both from inside the eye (limbal and retinal stem cells) and outside the eye (embryonic, induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS cells, bone marrow and neural stem cells). One of the challenges researchers are finding is getting the transplanted stem cells to take. Some regions of the eye are more hospitable to transplants and successes have come relatively quickly, as in the case of grafting corneal tissue generated from limbal or embryonic stem cells. The retina, on the other hand, is not so welcoming to incoming cells. Researchers are working hard to overcome this by identifying the normal signals within the eye that work on stem cells to promote tissue repair. They are also developing new delivery methods (for example, biodegradable gels seeded with stem cells) that are able to promote more continuous integration of the transplanted cells into the eye. The road to finding a stem cell therapy for eye diseases is paved with many challenges that will take time to overcome. But the wealth of information generated from labs around the globe is converging to help with the transition from basic research to the clinic. The results are very promising and in time may point to a viable stem cell therapy that accomplishes more than any of the current therapies by supplying an endless source of transplant material to restore vision in patients with injuries and diseases of the eye. In nature, the master stem cell is the embryonic stem cell because it can make an entire human being. In 2006, scientists devised a method for turning human embryonic stem cells into the outer layer of the retina, called the RPE. This is the crucial layer that absorbs light. Scientists were able to transplant this layer just under the retina in mouse models of macular degeneration. Improved vision in the mice proved that the transplanted cells were able to rescue damaged photoreceptor neurons. Moving forward, researchers are tweaking protocols and adding factors that guide more precisely the way to making RPE cells. This process involves careful screening of any unwanted cells that could cause tumours. In a landmark trial in 2012, human embryonic stem cell-derived RPE were transplanted into two people with different forms of macular degeneration. The researchers are guarding their excitement, however, because although both patients have shown a degree of improvement in vision, it is still uncertain whether the transplanted stem cells are responsible and if they may yet be rejected. Limbal stem cells are also being investigated for their ability to regenerate corneal tissue in people whose eyes have been badly burned. Provided that one of the eyes is undamaged, a sample of the patients limbal stem cells can be harvested, grown in the laboratory and transplanted back into the patients burned eye. A recent trial tested this approach in over 100 patients and the before and after pictures were remarkable: the cloudy corneas scarred by acid burns became clear, transparent corneas. So far, the effects appear to be long-lasting (up to 10 years) and this bodes well for the future of using this therapy to regenerate damaged corneas. Technological advances are paving the way for studies with retinal stem cells. An implantable device has been developed that can be loaded with human retinal stem cells, genetically modified to make a factor that protects neurons and supports their survival. The device can be implanted into the back of the eye where it releases a continuous supply of the protective factor. A big advantage of this method is that graft rejection is minimized because the genetically modified cells are trapped in the device and do not come into contact with the immune system. Early clinical trials in patients with various eye diseases have shown that the device is well tolerated and appears to slow the rate of vision loss. Other trials are testing for adverse effects, rejection or shifting from the site of implantation. This method points to a potentially safe way of delivering stem cells that could make protective factors to treat diseases such as glaucoma or AMD. Readers may wish to peruse the recommended sites and articles below for more information about eye disease and the possible applications of stem cells to treat these conditions. AMD Alliance International(www.amdalliance.org) CNIB(www.cnib.ca) The Foundation Fighting Blindness (Canada)(www.ffb.ca) Foundation Fighting Blindness(www.blindness.org) The London Project (UK)(www.thelondonproject.org) National
Eye Institute(www.nei.nih.gov) Vision Action Plan(www.who.int/blindness/Vision2020_report.pdf) Continue reading

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Stem Cells: Get Facts on Definition, Types, and Research

Stem cell facts Stem cells are cells that have the potential to develop into many different or specialized cell types. Stem cells can be thought of as primitive, “unspecialized” cells that are able to divide and become specialized cells of the body such as liver cells, muscle cells, blood cells, and other cells with specific functions. Stem cells are referred to as “undifferentiated” cells because they have not yet committed to a developmental path that will form a specific tissue or organ. The process of changing into a specific cell type is known as differentiation. In some areas of the body, stem cells divide regularly to renew and repair the existing tissue. The bone marrow and gastrointestinal tract are examples of areas in which stem cells function to renew and repair tissue. The best and most readily understood example of a stem cell in humans is that of the fertilized egg, or zygote. A zygote is a single cell that is formed by the union of a sperm and ovum. The sperm and the ovum each carry half of the genetic material required to form a new individual. Once that single cell or zygote starts dividing, it is known as an embryo. One cell becomes two, two become four, four become eight, eight become sixteen, and so on, doubling rapidly until it ultimately grows into an entire sophisticated organism composed of many different kinds of specialized cells. That organism, a person, is an immensely complicated structure consisting of many, many, billions of cells with functions as diverse as those of your eyes, your heart, your immune system, the color of your skin, your brain, etc. All of the specialized cells that make up these body systems are descendants of the original zygote, a stem cell with the potential to ultimately develop into all kinds of body cells. The cells of a zygote are totipotent, meaning that they have the capacity to develop into any type of cell in the body. The process by which stem cells commit to become differentiated, or specialized, cells is complex and involves the regulation of gene expression. Research is ongoing to further understand the molecular events and controls necessary for stem cells to become specialized cell types. Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/3/2015 Stem Cells – Experience Question: Please describe your experience with stem cells. Stem Cells – Umbilical Cord Question: Have you had your child’s umbilical cord blood banked? Please share your experience. Stem Cells – Available Therapies Question: Did you or someone you know have stem cell therapy? Please discuss your experience. Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stppler’s educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology. Medical Editor: Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology. Stem Cells: One of the human body’s master cells, with the ability to grow into any one of the body’s more than 200 cell types. All stem cells are unspecialized (undifferentiated) cells that are characteristically of the same family type (lineage). They retain the ability to divide throughout life and give rise to cells that can become highly specialized and take the place of cells that die or are lost. Stem cells contribute to the body’s ability to renew and repair its tissues. Unlike mature cells, which are permanently committed to their fate, stem cells can both renew themselves as well as create new cells of whatever tissue they belong to (and other tissues). Continue reading

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