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Cell Transplants for Macular Degeneration

Posted: June 30, 2010 at 8:19 am

From the MIT Technology Review: "Rats genetically engineered to lose their sight can be protected from blindness by injections of human neural stem cells ... a startup in Palo Alto, CA, plans to use the positive results to file for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin human trials. The company is already testing the cells in children with a rare, fatal brain disorder called Batten's disease. ... The company's cells are isolated from human fetal tissue and then grown in culture. To determine whether these cells can protect against retinal degeneration, scientists studied rats that were genetically engineered to progressively lose their photoreceptors - cells in the retina that convert light into neural signals. These animals are commonly used to model macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, two major causes of blindness that result from cell loss in the retina. Researchers injected about 100,000 cells into the animals' eyes when the rats were 21 days old. ... the cells migrate over time, forming a layer between the photoreceptors and a layer of tissue called the retinal pigment epithelium, cells which nourish and support the photoreceptors. ... the cells protected vision in the part of the retina in which they were implanted."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/25647/?a=f

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Progress in Viral Cancer Therapy

Posted: June 30, 2010 at 8:19 am

Scientific American looks at the state of viral cancer therapies: "The adapted virus that immunized hundreds of millions of people against smallpox has now been enlisted in the war on cancer. Vaccinia poxvirus joins a herpesvirus and a host of other pathogens on a growing list of engineered viruses entering late-stage human testing against cancer. ... After a decade of development of so-called oncolytic viruses, the newest strains hold the most promise yet ... In a two-pronged attack, these viruses specifically target tumor cells while delivering a cargo of immune-boosting genes. In contrast, viruses that cause cancer, such as the human papillomavirus that is responsible for most cases of cervical cancer, disrupt a cell's genome, thereby triggering out-of-control growth. When the engineered viruses recognize and infect cancer cells, they replicate and sometimes destroy their hosts. Several of the viruses also release the gene for granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) an immune system protein. The GM-CSF attracts a swarm of white blood cells and other immune system operatives that mount a further attack on the tumor. ... The vaccinia virus has been developed by the biotechnology company Jennerex ... Later this year, the company plans to launch a phase III clinical trial in advanced liver cancer patients, in which the virus will be added to standard antibody treatment."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=tumor-virus-vaccines

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Amniotic Membrane Used to Repair Cartilage

Posted: June 30, 2010 at 8:19 am

A novel methodology in regenerative medicine: "The objective was to evaluate the utility of cryo-preserved human amniotic membrane (HAM) as a support for repairing human articular cartilage injuries, which have a very limited capacity for self-healing ... The results [show] that cryo-preserved HAM is useful as a scaffold for growing human chondrocytes in cell therapy and for repairing human cartilage injuries. ... It provides a more regular surface and fills in the cavities and fissures ... The authors cultivated the chondrocytes (cells that form part of the cartilaginous tissue), isolated from human articular cartilage, on the amniotic membrane over a period of three and four weeks. The amniotic membranes were used to develop 44 repair models of arthritic human articular cartilage in vitro, which was assessed between four and 16 weeks later. The HAM also bonds well with the native cartilage. ... In some models, we could not differentiate between where the native tissue stopped and the neo-synthesised tissue began. ... This tissue had a fibrous appearance and high cellular density (cellularity), which in some cases was greater than that of the actual native cartilage."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-06/f-sf-amu062310.php

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

The Risks that Come With Excess Body Fat

Posted: June 30, 2010 at 8:19 am

Another reason why you really don't want to live a lifestyle that makes you overweight: "For individuals 65 years of age and older, obesity, excess body fat around the waist and gaining weight after the age of 50 are associated with an increased risk of diabetes. ... Adiposity [body fat] is a well-recognized risk factor for type 2 diabetes among young and middle-aged adults, however, the relationships between different measures of body composition and diabetes in older adults [65 years of age or older] are not well described ... [researchers] examined the relationship between measures of overall body fat, fat distribution, changes in these measures, and diabetes risk among 4,193 men and women 65 years of age and older. ... The researchers found that BMI at baseline, BMI at 50 years of age, weight, fat mass, waist circumference, waist-hip ratio, and waist-height ratio were all strongly related to the risk of diabetes. ... For each measure, there was a graded increase in the risk of diabetes with increasing quintiles of adiposity. Participants in the highest category of adiposity had an approximately 2- to 6-fold increased risk of developing diabetes compared with those in the lowest category."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-06/jaaj-owg061710.php

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Inflammation, Genetics, and Longevity

Posted: June 30, 2010 at 8:18 am

A review paper from Italian researchers who have been working on understanding inflammaging for a number of years: "Ageing is an inexorable intrinsic process that affects all cells, tissues, organs and individuals. Due to a diminished homeostasis and increased organism frailty, ageing causes a reduction of the response to environmental stimuli and, in general, is associated to an increased predisposition to illness and death. Actually, it is characterized by a state of reduced ability to maintain health and general homeodynamics of the organism. A large part of the ageing phenotype is explained by an imbalance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory networks, which results in the low grade chronic pro-inflammatory status of ageing, 'inflamm-ageing'. It is strictly linked to immunosenescence, and on the whole they are the major contributory factors to the increased frequency of morbidity and mortality among elderly. Inflamm-ageing is compatible with longevity; even if centenarians have an increased level of inflammatory mediators in comparison to old subjects and they are very frail, they also have high level of anti-inflammatory cytokines together with protective genotypes. Actually, data on case control studies performed in Italian centenarians suggest that a pro-inflammatory genotype is unfavourable to reach extreme longevity in good health and likely favours the onset of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer's disease."

View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20549353

Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Hair Trigger: How a Cell’s Primary Cilium Functions as a Molecular Antenna

Posted: June 30, 2010 at 8:18 am

It turns out that not all the hairlike cilia projecting from the surfaces of many cells in the human body are equal--there are the myriad ones for sweeping, swimming and other functions, and then there is the until recently mysterious primary cilium.

Nearly all human cells contain these numerous microscopic projections. The more abundant variety of cilia are motile; they act like oars, paddling in coordinated waves to help propel cells through fluid, or to sweep material across cellular surfaces (as in the respiratory system, where millions of cilia lining the airways help to expel mucus, dead cells and other bodily debris). By contrast, cells also contain a single, nonmotile cilium known as the primary cilium. Its presence on cells has been known for more than a century, but many believed it was a functionless evolutionary remnant.

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Cell - Biology - Cell biology - Cilium - Human body

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko


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