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Category Archives: Diseases
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!
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Adult Stem Cells - Therapies and Treatments
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 pot
entially 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)
Originally posted here:
Eye Diseases | Canadian Stem Cell Foundation
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.
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.
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).
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Stem Cells: Get Facts on Definition, Types, and Research
Introduction Stem Cells are unique in that they have the potential to develop into many different cell types in the body, including brain cells, but they also retain the ability to produce more stem cells, a process termed self renewal. There are multiple types of stem cell, such as embryonic stem (ES) cells, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, and adult or somatic stem cells. While various stem cells can share similar properties there are differences as well. For example, ES cells are able to differentiate into any type of cell, whereas adult stem cells are more restricted in their potential. The promise of all stem cells for use in future therapies is exciting, but significant technical hurdles remain that will only be overcome through years of intensive research.
The NINDS supports a diverse array of research on almost all stem cells, from studies of the basic biology of stem cells in the developing and adult mammalian brain to studies focusing on nervous system disorders such as ALS or spinal cord injury. For example, investigators are looking at how ES cells can be used to derive dopamine-producing neurons that might alleviate symptoms in patients with Parkinsons disease or how somatic stem cells can generate myelin producing oligodendrocytes for remyelination following acute and chronic brain injury. Although there is much promise for using stem cells to treat neurological diseases in humans, there is much work to be done before stem cell-based therapies are ready for the clinic.
The NIH Stem Cell Information Web page provides additional information about stem cell research at NIH. Also, see MedlinePlus for more health information regarding stem cells.
To learn more about investigational therapies, including stem cells, one can search the National Institutes of Health (NIH) online clinical trials database, which has information about federally and privately funded clinical research studies on a wide range of diseases and conditions. You can access this database at ClinicalTrials.gov to learn about the location of research studies in need of participants, as well as their purpose and criteria for patient participation. The NIH also maintains a clinical research website that has additional information and can be found here: NIH Clinical Research Trials and You
NINDS Repository The NINDS also supports a repository that offers human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines for research on neurological disorders. A list of available cell lines can be found here: Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
NINDS Stem Cell Research on CampusThe Intramural Research Program of NINDS is one of the largest neuroscience research centers in the world. Investigators in the NINDS intramural program conduct research in the basic, translational, and clinical neurosciences. Their specific interests cover a broad range of neuroscience research including stem cell biology. Listings of NINDS intramural researchers by laboratory affiliation and research areas are available online.
NIH Policy and ImplementationThe Director of the NINDS, Dr. Story Landis is the Chair of the NIH Stem Cell Task Force, which was created to enable and accelerate the pace of stem cell research and to seek the advice of scientific leaders in stem cell research. For comprehensive information on NIH policies related to stem cell research, visit the NIH Stem Cell Information web page.
NIH Center for Regenerative Medicine (NIH CRM)NIH CRM is a community resource that works to provide the infrastructure to support and accelerate the clinical translation of stem cell-based technologies, and to develop widely available resources to be used as standards in stem cell research. The Center provides services and information to both the intramural and extramural NIH communities that facilitate the use of stem cell technologies for therapeutic purposes and for screening efforts. Further information about NIH CRM can be found here: NIH Center for Regenerative Medicine
Funding OpportunitiesNINDS supports a wide array of stem cell research, both basic and disease-related. Funding mechanisms supported by NINDS can be found here: Funding Mechanisms
Additionally, those interested in targeted funding solicitations can search the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. One can do key word searches for entries such as neurological disease and stem cell or regenerative medicine. A link to the NIH Guide can be found here: NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
NINDS Contact InformationDavid Owens, Ph.D. Program Director firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (301) 496-1447
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Information on Stem Cell Research: National Institute of ...
The city of Oakland does not have the same snap and sizzle as San Francisco, but it will soon have something that the famed city-by-the-bay will not have the headquarters of an internationally known, $3 billion, stem cell research agency.
Californias taxpayer-financed program, which is arguably the largest, single source of stem cell research funding in the world, is leaving San Francisco this fall and moving across the bay to the sunnier and cheaper climes of Oakland.
The reason is that the agency is no longer the beneficiary of free space in San Francisco and cant afford to pay sky-high rent to stay there.
The stem cell agency enjoyed its rent free location as the result of a bidding war in 2005 among cities in California to acquire the agency headquarters. San Francisco offered a package that it calculated at $18 million. It also helped San Francisco that Bob Klein, the first chairman of the agency, lived on the San Francisco peninsula.
The agency and its auditor estimate that CIRM saved $12 million in rent and related benefits during the 10 years it has been in San Francisco. That money, however, will ultimately be spent on research or agency expenses.
That includes the rent for the new digs that will run $697,560 annually. The base rate for the 17,097 square feet is $3.40 a foot. The agency will have 14,411 square feet on the 16th floor of the 27-story building and 2,686 on the 15th.
In response to a query, Kevin McCormack, CIRMs senior director for communications, said,
The agency is expected to run out of cash for new awards in less than five years but will have ongoing functions related to its existing awards.
Costs for tenant improvements are still being calculated along with costs for the move.
Under the San Francisco lease, the owner provided free parking, a significant benefit for the agency employees, which number about 55. Parking can run to $15 to $20 a day in the agency's current neighborhood, according to sanfrancisco.bestparking.com.
In Oakland, employees will have to pay for their own parking, but the agency is looking into government assistance programs. The location is near a BART station, a mass transit overhead rail system that runs through much of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Over the years, Oakland has presented a changing face to the public. In World War II, it was part of what was described as a second gold rush as the result of defense plant operations. In 1966 , the city was the headquarters of the Black Panthers, whose co-founder, Huey Newton, attended high school there. Today Oakland is involved in a wave of gentrification that has created tension within the community.
It may be fitting for the agency to return to what is known as the East Bay area in California. Its first, temporary headquarter was located in Emeryville, just three miles up the road from its new space.
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California Stem Cell Report