Research With Adult Stem Cells Improve

This subject reminds me of Christopher Reeve, the former Hollywood actor who became an adviser on stem cell research, claiming scientists were on a brink of a major breakthrough using embryo stem cells. Some friends of mine hated the fact that Bush refused to endorse and fund embryo stem cell research using new embryo stem cells rather than a few existing ones. This is why hype in scientific research must be met with caution rather than making it political. The Hwang scandal in 2004, bares this out as well! Years later, all that hype was not justified! Similar to many claims about evolution! They figured evolutionary explanations about the past had so much success in keeping in the box, why couldn’t embryo stem cell research?

 

Adult stem cell research has grown by leaps and bounds, destroying such arguments made by the former adviser on stem cell research, Christopher Reeve and political figures like John Kerry.  If scientists decided to stay in the box with Reeve and Kerry’s ideals on stem cell research along with other scientists, then two years later Yamanaka’s breakthrough with reprogramming adult stem cells wouldn’t have never happened! A year later Scientific American reported…

“The end of the politically explosive, decadelong ethical battle over human embryonic stem cells may finally be in sight. Two groups of researchers report today that washing human skin cells in similar cocktails of four genes enabled them to reprogram the cells to resemble those harvested from embryos. The finding potentially paves the way for scores of labs to generate new stem cell lines without cloned embryos, which had long been considered the only realistic way of making human stem cells in the short run.”

No embryos required! Imagine that, only two years later after Kerry’s speech about Reeve. Other Adult stem research as discussed in this blog, became the year’s breakthrough in science. But reprogramming adult stem cells didn’t put itself in a box, rather scientists have now discovered another new method. And that method is using “stress”, although stress is not good for the heart, it’s good for reprogramming stem cells, says Sasai and Obokata, two Japanese researchers who used a modest acid bath to create stress with the most fit animal on the planet who can survive extreme conditions and that is the bacterium. Once exposed to the acid bath, the bacterium’s cells revert back to the embryonic stage but even more so than using  Yamanaka’s method.

Using a stress method is logical, especially knowing that the body is able to repair damage tissue. Regenerative medicine has a ways to go but is showing tremendous progress outside of the politically correct box!

 

 

Human Skin Stem Cells Treating Various Disorders

What is a stem cell? It’s basically a “blank” cell, which is capable of becoming other cell types like muscle cells or nerve cells or even skin cells. Adult stem cells can become a built-in repair system for the human body, replenishing other cells as long as a person remains alive!

This research has become more important in recent years than ever before for treating various diseases and disorders! Speaking of which, there has been exciting news coming out with reprogramming skin cells for new treatments!

Science Daily writes…

“The study is the first successful attempt to employ human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) to produce a population of cells that are critical to neural signaling in the brain. In this instance, the researchers utilized cells crafted from human skin and transplanted them into animal models of myelin disease.”

“This study strongly supports the utility of hiPSCs as a feasible and effective source of cells to treat myelin disorders,” said University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) neurologist Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study. “In fact, it appears that cells derived from this source are at least as effective as those created using embryonic or tissue-specific stem cells.”

“The discovery opens the door to potential new treatments using hiPSC-derived cells for a range of neurological diseases characterized by the loss of a specific cell population in the central nervous system called myelin…”

There was great hype with embryonic stem cells with the claim that scientists think human embryonic stem cells could lead to cures for many ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, some forms of blindness and possibly cancer. However, as science progresses, adult stem cells can replace embryonic ones and be even more effective. For instance, using one’s own stem cells from their own body for treatment lessens the odds greatly of rejection! Also, there is not controversy by destroying another human in the process!

Adult stems cells are in abundance! They can be collected from various  pregnancy-related tissues, and body tissues where they can be also reprogrammed as you seen in this article to the embryonic stage! How exciting is that? :)

Adult Stem Cell Research Continues To Flourish

Adult stem cells has been compiling more promise for future medical research with no ethical qualms.  On the other hand, embryonic stem cell research has no compiling  record with major ethical concerns! The breakthrough of science back in 2009, continues to dazzle with more breakthroughs with understanding pluripotent cells (adult stem cells reprogrammed back to their embryonic stage).

New Scientist reports of a discovery with human skin containing important adult stem cells that are able to repair wounds! These cells exist in sweat and are not found in animals, the article adds this…“Humans have three times more eccrine glands than hair follicles, making them the major contributor to new skin cells.”  Elaine Fuchs from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland says the discovery was unexpected and goes against current dogma!

In Medical Xpress, pluripotent cells could be used to create personalized medicine for cancer patients!

“In the November 19 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), they report that these new stem-like cells do not express the same genes as embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) do.”

“That explains why they don’t produce tumors when they grow in the laboratory, as the other stem cells do, and why they are stable, producing the kind of cells researchers want them to. “These seem to be exactly the kind of cells that we need to make regenerative medicine a reality,” says the study’s senior investigator, chairman of the department of pathology at Georgetown Lombardi, a part of Georgetown University Medical Center.”

Very exciting news in adult stem cell research! Are you looking to refresh those old cells of yours? Well guess what? Researchers at the University of Toronto discovered a way to refresh those old cells, making them look young again!

Science Daily reports…

“A new method of growing cardiac tissue is teaching old stem cells new tricks. The discovery, which transforms aged stem cells into cells that function like much younger ones, may one day enable scientists to grow cardiac patches for damaged or diseased hearts from a patient’s own stem cells — no matter what age the patient — while avoiding the threat of rejection.”

With so much success continuing for adult stem cells which has been quite amazing, it seems superfluous to continue work with ethically-charged embryonic stem cells where concerns about abuse are being raised.

Can one trust scientist to regulate themselves with ethics? This is something the public insists upon.  However rigging public support is an unethical practice. Here is an example of claiming to employ an unbiased statistical sample of the public concerning stem cell research…

“Representing the Public in Public Engagement: The Case of the 2008 UK Stem Cell Dialogue” where Alison Mohr and Sujatha Raman (PLoS Biology) analyze the situation…

“Efforts to engage the public in science take many forms, yet in many cases, “engagement” is a means toward acceptance rather than true participation. In 2008, the largest ever public engagement (PE) exercise sponsored by UK Research Councils was held. The Stem Cell Dialogue (SCD), designed to identify the range of views and concerns amongst the wider public about stem cell research, was jointly supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC), and Sciencewise.”

The SCD revealed high levels of public support for stem cell science and technology, according to the official press release [1], and thus seems to validate the traditional reasons offered for conducting PE around cutting-edge science: that engaging the wider public in dialogue at an early stage can help scientists communicate the motivations for their research, including its expected societal benefits, assuage potential ethical concerns, avert damaging controversies, and secure public acceptance.”

“But, is this instrumental rationale–engagement toward a predetermined goal–sufficient? Can it offer the democratic legitimacy that underlies the recent turn to this type of “upstream” engagement? And does the SCD as it actually unfolded merit the summary finding of public support reported in the press release? In this paper, we draw from our work as official evaluators of the SCD (see Box 1), and recent debates on the purpose of engagement, to ask: how should we understand the “public” in PE; why is PE important for both society and science; and what lessons should we take from actual PE exercises? “

Some very good questions, the problem is, employing an unbiased statistical sample of the public concerning stem cell research is not the case! Yes, you read about how “competing rationales for representing the public can lead to particular outcomes that conflict with the democratic ideals of PE.”  So they take into account opposing viewpoints towards the research. But look who they omitted in the sample…

“The lack of alternative or more critical/skeptical perspectives of counter-experts (e.g., advocacy/pro-life group, religious group, journalistic, or National Health Service viewpoints) limited the range of participants’ discussion and increased the potential for obtaining positively biased indications of public approval and acceptance.”

The workshops contained mostly those who were for the research while skeptical perspectives were practically invisible! What does that mean? It means, a rigged sample of representing the public! By using this method, the public would be portrayed as overwhelmingly supported of any type of research being conducted!

“The homogeneity of responses appears to have been shaped by the role played by experts in framing the discussion. Framing played a significant role in bounding the discussions as participants showed a strong tendency to follow and explore the main issues raised in the experts’ presentations.” 

Not only does this rigging of public support happen with stem cell research, but it happens often with evolution which also requires public engagement! Despite the flaw and unethical ways of rigging public opinion, adult stem cell continues to flourish with astounding advancements for promising treatments for various people which would enhance our heath greatly!

Embryonic Stem Cells Loose Steam: Adult Stem Cells Gain

In early years of President Bush Sr, certain scientists and special interests fought for embryonic research. Anyone against it was considered against science and future medical discoveries. An argument often times used with creation science. During 2004, California’s Proposition 71 was passed which then released $3 billion in taxpayer funds in order to promote research on embryonic stem cells. Last year in phys.org it said this about the debate…

“The potent but hotly debated cells can transform into nearly any cell in the human body, opening a path toward eliminating such ills as Parkinson’s disease, paralysis, diabetes, heart disease, and maybe even the ravages of aging. And more human experiments are on the way as scientists refine new methods to get around the controversy that surrounds embryonic stem cell research, which has generated controversy because it involves the destruction of early human life.”

Even with ethical implications, much of the mainstream media, certain scientists remained dedicated in continuing embryonic stem cell research, much praise and exciting came when the Geron Corporation decided to use ES on on spinal cord injuries. But as reported in this blog in the past, embryonic stem cell research is dying and adult stem cell research continues to flourish.

The Geron Corporation decided it wasn’t going to be profitable enough to maintain the research so they killed the project all together. They are now focusing in on certain cancer treatments. Critics argued that the research in ES is not working like other promising treatments. Not only is it unethical to use ES for research but the critics are right about other promising treatments in the medical field that destroy the ES hype over the last ten years.

Here are a few examples…

Healthy new heart cells have been “generated by animals with chronic ischemic heart disease after receiving stem cells derived from cardiac biopsies or “cardiospheres,” according to research conducted at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.” reports Science Daily.

“The UB research demonstrated a 30 percent increase in healthy heart muscle cells within a month after receiving cardiosphere-derived cells (or CDCs). This finding is contrary to conventional wisdom which has held that heart cells are terminally differentiated and thus, are unable to divide…”Whereas most research has focused upon irreversible damage and scarring following a heart attack, we have shown that a single CDC infusion is capable of improving heart function in areas of the heart that are viable but not functioning normally,” explains study co-author John M. Canty Jr., MD, the Albert and Elizabeth Rekate Professor of Medicine in the UB medical school and UB’s chief of cardiovascular medicine.”

This is amazing research which in addition to may help the heart pump more blood after a heart attack; this was demonstrated on 16 human heart-attack survivors! Since ES is dying research doesn’t mean it can’t be replaced. While pituitary glands were created with embryonic stem cells by scientists, the research also believed they could do the same thing with adult stem cells, thus destroying the idea that was hyped up over ES research.

Using a patient’s own stem cells from bone marrow to repair torn knees and other injuries known as the first stem cell bandage in human clinical trials had received a great deal of funding recently as investors are putting their money into what is more promising. Medical Xpress writes…

“The company, which has received approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for the world’s first clinical trial using its Cell Bandage product, is funded by existing investors IP Group plc, the developer of intellectual property based businesses — and Oxford Technology Management as well as new investors including lead funder, Mr Osmond.

“Azellon’s Cell Bandage has been designed as an alternative to the current treatment of surgical removal of the meniscus (meniscectomy), a procedure that more than 1.7 million people around the world per year are estimated to undergo. This common orthopaedic procedure often results in the early onset of osteoarthritis, leading to further joint surgery including total knee replacement.”

“The Cell Bandage, which in vitro (tissue culture) has shown great promise for the healing of meniscal tears, is grown from the patient’s own stem cells and will be transplanted in the patient’s knee joint within two weeks of extracting the stem cells from bone marrow.”

There is incredible advances with adult stem cell research that are way better than ES research which doesn’t spark ethical problems. Christians should be elated with this type of progress in science! We live in an exciting time!

Great News For Non-Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Former first lady Nancy Reagan and others believed the use of stem cells from embryos could lead to cures for such illnesses as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. President Bush in 2001, restricted federal funding of embryonic research. But when former President Reagan died, 58 senators asked Bush to relax federal restrictions citing 19 out of the 78 embryonic stem cell lines were only good enough for research.

Mrs. Bush back in 2001, referred to alternatives rather than what she called, “abusing embryos” in research. Back at that time, neither side knew how successful the alternatives would be in the future as the main focus from liberal groups was to fund the embryonic stem cell research in the United States while others opposed it and rightfully so on morality issues.

Reprogramming stem cells to their embryonic stage (pluripotent stem cells) has been making tremendous strides for future treatments on various diseases. In MedicalXpress

“Now, for the first time, scientists at Monash University’s Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories (MISCL) have shown that they can make human stem cells from healthy adult kidneys without working on human embryos, circumventing ethical concerns around this research.”

“This achievement will allow group leader Associate Professor Sharon Ricardo and her team to model genetic kidney diseases in the laboratory and tease out the mechanisms that control these difficult-to-treat disorders. “We’re taking human kidney cells and winding back the clock to make their early precursors,” Associate Professor Ricardo said.”

In another article from the same source, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research are using stem cells from bone marrow can be genetically altered which enables it to resist damage from chemotherapy, helping cancer patients endure the treatment without harmful effects! Things like brain cancer take its toll on human bone marrow when patients are being treated with chemotherapy.

Great news for those with Parkinson’s disease. Researchers from South Korea and Harvard have identified a “protein-based” human iPS cell” that appears promising for reversing nerve cell loss in patients with Parkinson’s Disease.  Their experiments “reversed disease when transplanted into the brain of rats modeling Parkinson disease.” However, embryonic stem cells was mentioned as one of the two sources of the stem cells but no evidence that it worked too, only the iPS cells were effective.

What about adult stem cells? This month we see another amazing discovery that took place. researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found a “human lung stem cell that is self-renewing and capable of forming and integrating multiple biological structures of the lung including bronchioles, alveoli and pulmonary vessels.”

Cell News reports…

“This research describes, for the first time, a true human lung stem cell. The discovery of this stem cell has the potential to offer those who suffer from chronic lung diseases a totally novel treatment option by regenerating or repairing damaged areas of the lung,” said Piero Anversa, MD, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and corresponding author.”

This has been remarkable and very encouraging for Christians and others who value ethics to see adult stem cell research take off, leaving embryonic stem cell research in the dust while the discoveries show promising treatments.  But what if it had turned out the other way?  What if embryonic stem cells were actively producing cures for these same diseases?  Experimenting on human embryos would still be unethical! Also, in the past decade of stem-cell research has shown that some scientists’ greed for fame and money outruns their interest in ethics. But those who value ethics and solid research to improve mankind this is great news for non-embryonic stem cell research!

Adult Stem Cells Treatments

Researchers using induced pluripotent stem cells, inject the stem cells into animal hearts which then promotes a level of restoration in functionality on their subjects…

Science Daily

“University of Cincinnati researchers have found that applying a stem cell-infused patch together with overexpression of a specific cell instruction molecule promoted cell migration to damaged cardiac tissue following heart attack and resulted in improved function in animal models.”

“Three days following the heart attack, researchers placed a cell patch on the damaged region and measured the expression of cardiac-related transcription factor A (a protein that binds to specific DNA sequences, controlling the movement of genetic information from DNA to mRNA), collagen levels in the damaged tissue andscar formation-related signaling pathways.”

Research starting to focus more on the bilical cord which according to the article is not very well understood because of the lack of research in this area of stem cells. A team of researchers from Peking University People’s Hospital, China, decided to conduct a study.

Physorg and their researchers paper is found here

“The researchers took immune cells from RA patients and showed that the umbilical MSCs were able to suppress the cells’ proliferation, invasive behavior and inflammatory responses. Systemic infusion of the umbilical MSCs into mice was shown to significantly reduce the severity of collagen-induced arthritis. Speaking about the results, Professor Li said, “RA imparts a massive burden on health services worldwide and none of the currently used agents reaches long term drug-free remission. Therefore, a new and more effective therapy for RA will be very welcome”.

Great news concerning stem cells obtained from umbilical cords which may be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis! And that’s not all, those of us who like to workout notice a breakdown in function and mass as we get older. However, research in adult stem cells of transplanted into the leg muscles of mice restored function and mass in their muscles. Now wouldn’t it be great to maintain muscle function and mass as you get older? The finding may lead to treatments for patients with chronic, degenerative muscle diseases…

“The experiments showed that when young host mice with limb muscle injuries were injected with muscle stem cells from young donor mice, the cells not only repaired the injury within days, they caused the treated muscle to double in mass and sustain itself through the lifetime of the transplanted mice. “This was a very exciting and unexpected result,” said Professor Bradley Olwin of CU-Boulder’s molecular, cellular and developmental biology department, the study’s corresponding author.”

When a cardiovascular disease gets so serious, the only option left is amputation of a limb. This has happened to one of my grandparents. But today, a treatment was announced that may save many thousands of limbs from amputation!

Science daily reports…

“Northwestern Medicine physician researchers are revolutionizing treatment of cardiovascular disease by utilizing patients’ own stem cells to regenerate heart and vascular tissue. Northwestern Medicine is the lead site for a study examining stem cell transplantation as treatment for critical limb ischemia.”

“Stem cell treatment was associated with a significant reduction in amputation rate,” said Losordo. “Treatment was associated with a 50 percent reduction in the total amputation rate compared to control. Although further study is needed, these results provide evidence that CD34 cell therapy is an effective treatment for critical limb ischemia.”

What about Embryonic Stem Cell research? After all, nature lobbied congress to hurry and pass laws to fund this research in fear of Republicans getting elected. All the hype since 2000 on this research has produced this recently…

In science daily, “Growing human embryonic stem cells in the lab is no small feat.”

In Nature, the news was nothing more than some research in Singapore trying to identify all the transcription factors that regulate embryonic stem cells.

Nothing about treatments of animals nor humans which is not surprising. The explosion of new treatments is coming from adult stem cells which is where the funding should be provided. Something that ES proponents never dreamed could happen because they thought it would mostly come form ES. Speaking of which why aren’t they rejoicing in all these advances in adult stem cell research?   


Major Breakthrough With Cell Transformation

This could be the most amazing feat conducted this year in the lab. It’s been referred to as a miracle in cell biology and could be the discovery of the decade. Canadian scientists have discovered a way to transform human skin cells into blood cells without the need for embryonic stem cells or adult stem cells. Reprogrammed adult stem cells (iPS) have failed in its ability to be transplanted and very difficult to produce blood cells from.

Bypassing the stem cell stage entirely, these scientists were able to produce large quantities of blood cells with young or older patients.  Does this new discovery open the door for other types of cells? Science Daily reports…

“We have shown this works using human skin. We know how it works and believe we can even improve on the process,” said Bhatia. “We’ll now go on to work on developing other types of human cell types from skin, as we already have encouraging evidence. The discovery was replicated several times over two years using human skin from both young and old people to prove it works for any age of person.”

This new discovery offers hope for cancer patients who may no longer need a bone marrow transplant that needs to be perfectly matched. Also, for patients who need transfusions for surgery! Not only that but by bypassing the pluripotent stem cell stage would avoid any safety concerns that might come up. This is welcoming news for those of us who value human life by not requiring a terrible way to harvest embryonic stem cells and the inefficiency conversion results trying to produce blood cells with possible system complications such as rejection of  foreign biological material.

Hopefully we will see even more innovations in this line of research later this year or next.  While there has been much debate over stem cell research through the years even some in the United States have voted in their candidate because of this particular issue, and science journals like Nature before the election which was the result of fear concerning Republicans obtaining more power in Congress. But the fact remains, major breakthroughs are coming from this area of science not embryonic stem cells nor Darwianism for that matter!