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!

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Adult Stem Cell Research Continues To Progress

The number one breakthrough in science of 2009, continues its amazing progress in 2011 with promising treatments with no ethical questions like embryonic stem cell research. A breakthrough in fighting lung disease, physorg reports on how Duke scientists discovered a signal used by airway stem cells that regulate which tissues are produced.

“Our work has identified the Notch signaling pathway as a central regulatory ‘switch’ that controls the differentiation of airway basal stem cells,” said Jason Rock, Ph.D., lead author and postdoctoral researcher in Brigid Hogan’s cell biology laboratory.”

“Studies like ours will enhance efforts to develop effective genetic, cellular, and molecular therapies for airway diseases – a leading cause of death worldwide. Interestingly, the press release likened the Notch signalling pathway to “executive software” governing the stem cells’ fate.”

Some more research consists of a new way to reprogram skin cells directly into brain cells! Science daily reports this particular breakthrough…

“The new technique avoids many of the ethical dilemmas that stem cell research has faced. For the first time, a research group at Lund University in Sweden has succeeded in creating specific types of nerve cells from human skin. By reprogramming connective tissue cells, called fibroblasts, directly into nerve cells, a new field has been opened up with the potential to take research on cell transplants to the next level.”

“The discovery represents a fundamental change in the view of the function and capacity of mature cells. By taking mature cells as their starting point instead of stem cells, the Lund researchers also avoid the ethical issues linked to research on embryonic stem cells.”

Collecting ES stem cells from the umbilical cord blood which hold no ethical dilemmas either, has been a focus of research which shows promise. Where maternity wards,  have previously discarded as medical waste, are becoming gold mines for stem cells!

Science daily reports…

“The prototype is still in the testing stage, but initial results are promising. The student inventors have obtained a provisional patent covering the technology and have formed a company, TheraCord, to further develop the technology, which may someday be used widely in hospital maternity units. The students say the need for this system is obvious.

“Cord blood, collected from the umbilical cord and placenta after live birth, is the most viable source of stem cells, yet over 90 percent is uncollected and discarded,” the team members wrote in a presentation of their project at the university’s recent Biomedical Engineering Design Day. “One of the main reasons valuable cord blood is so frequently discarded is because no adequate collection method exists.”

However, it’s not all good news there is some bad news too. Some scientists continue advocating more funding for ES research. Concerns that it might be banned all together which is highly unlikely because not all ES research collected is not ethical rather there is no controversy with collecting and using ES through the umbilical cord and placenta after live birth which are improving with new research. On April 29, a federal appeals court blocked Lamberth’s decision restoring federal financing of human embryonic stem cell research for now. Still some scientists in this field make a faulty argument for their position.

Phyorg reports…

“If federal funding stops for human embryonic stem cell research, it would have a serious negative impact on iPS cell research,” said Stanford University bioethicist Christopher Scott, one of the co-authors. “We may never be able to choose between iPS and ES cell research because we don’t know which type of cell will be best for eventual therapies.”

The research is clear, adult and ips stem cells are the future for treatments, let the evidence lead rather than trying to force taxpayers to fund something that many are not support of, for there is no compelling and logical need to do so!

Judge’s Decision On ESC Overturned

On August 23, 2010, a judge ruled based on the Dickey-Wicker Amendment of 1996 which prohibits funding for research that destroys human embryos! Liberals in support of this research were reeling and took up arms, as well as publications like Nature whose editors wrote…

“Congress is unlikely to have a huge appetite for a bruising, highly polarizing debate in the weeks immediately preceding November’s midterm elections.  Yet time is of the essence, and a great deal is at stake.  The House may revert to Republican control in November, in which case action to affirm the funding would be highly unlikely….

Congress should take up the issue speedily when it reconvenes mid-month.  And if ever there was a time for scientists to let members of Congress and the public know what they think, it is now.”

This political statement from a science magazine goes to show, its not about the research but about the money because the science breakthrough of the year in 2009 continues to have momentum which is ethically-untainted adult stem cell research. Furthermore, embryonic stem cell (ESC) researchers are free to seek private or corporate funding which lacks interest. One of the reason why it lacks interest is because adult stem cells are progressing well for treatments such as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) might be able to treat immune diseases says Medical Xpress while the other not so much but contains a lot of hype and promises for possible future treatments.

“Many countries have tried to research embryonic stem. Embryonic stem cells bring with them transplant rejection issues…”

Last Friday, the high court overturned the decision“The ruling was hailed by both the White House and the National Institutes of Health, which allocated about $40 million to human embryonic stem cell research in 2010 and has set aside $125 million this year — a tiny fraction of its $31 billion budget.”

This is a classic case of taxation without representation, if there was evidence of ESCs being so promising for health, private investors would flood research labs with big bucks to make profits.  The only way the ESC-greedy research community can proceed is by taking money from taxpayers, many of whom are appalled by killing embryos!

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 Progress For Adult Stem Cell’s Future Treatments

Research conducted by Derrick Rossi at Boston’s Children Hospital had a huge breakthrough.  By programming an RNA messenger (mRNA) a certain way, they can safely insert genetic switches into a cell without changing the DNA with virus vectors! PhysOrg said that these induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are “apparently identical to human embryonic stem cells, the initial building blocks of all the organs of the body.”

This solves not one major problem but all three problems since induced pluripotent stems were discovered back in 2007.  Shinya Yamanaka deserves a Noble Prize for his discovery and the progress made by Rossi is simply, “awesome” and perhaps he too in the future deserves a Nobel Prize!

“Because the mRNA carries genetic instructions, but does not enter the DNA of the target cells, the resulting tailored cells should be safe to use in treating patients, Rossi said, unlike the iPS cells now being created around the world.

“Our findings address three major impediments to clinical translational use of iPS cells,” Rossi said in an interview. “The method: does not in any way breach genomic integrity as it does not necessitate integrating genes or viruses into the target cells’ DNA; it is orders of magnitude more efficient at producing iPS cells than conventional iPS methods, which were notoriously inefficient; and it gives us a way to directly program and direct the fate (development) of the iPS cells towards clinically useful cell types.”

This is not the only breakthrough happening in adult stem cell research, recently there were some researchers at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of Sydney that “found a way to increase the number of blood-forming stem cells when growing them outside of the body.”

Physorg reports…

“By using a unique stretchy surface that allows the cells to pull on it, the researchers found they could generate up to three times more stem cells than using current methods alone. Published today in the leading biotechnology journal Nature Biotechnology, lead author Professor John Rasko from the Centenary Institute and RPA Hospital announced these findings could significantly improve the outcomes of stem cell transplants.”

Huge breakthrough here because the more that can be grown in the lab, the less they have to harvest from the body like umbilical cords, bone marrow, and other areas and thus, the more patients can benefit!  On another breakthrough this time coming from the University of Buffalo, researchers have found a way to keep adult stem cells from aging!

In science daily

“UB scientists created the new cell lines — named “MSC Universal” — by genetically altering mesenchymal stem cells, which are found in bone marrow and can differentiate into cell types including bone, cartilage, muscle, fat, and beta-pancreatic islet cells. The researchers say the breakthrough overcomes a frustrating barrier to progress in the field of regenerative medicine: The difficulty of growing adult stem cells for clinical applications.”

This discovery could help speed up the development of cost-effective treatments for diseases including heart disease, diabetes, immune disorders and neurodegenerative diseases! Also, lowering costs of stem cell therapies and being able to produce individually-tailored cell lines. And finally this latest breakthrough adult stem cell research “electrified the field,” because of the new ability to reprogram adult stem cells to behave just like embryonic stem cells!

This is great science! A science who’s research is not getting more complex with fifty different explanations due to falsifications in the data that in itself is mere speculation while many of them cannot be tested nor verified. But in instead this research is producing a better understanding for the improvement of mankind!

Because the mRNA carries , but does not enter the DNA of the target cells, the resulting tailored cells should be safe to use in treating patients, Rossi said, unlike the iPS cells now being created around the world.“Our findings address three major impediments to clinical translational use of iPS cells,” Rossi said in an interview. “The method: does not in any way breach genomic integrity as it does not necessitate integrating genes or viruses into the target cells’ DNA; it is orders of magnitude more efficient at producing iPS cells than conventional iPS methods, which were notoriously inefficient; and it gives us a way to directly program and direct the fate (development) of the iPS cells towards clinically useful cell types.”

Why Are Some Scientists Obsessed with ESC Research?

While adult stem cell research continues to show promise in various treatments, we find some scientists who are obsessed with keeping embryonic stem cell research on the public dole. The same tactics are used in their argument which are also used in the creationism vs. evolution debate. For example, some have claimed, restricting funding on ESC research is an attack on “science” despite the fact that $500 million already has been spent on ESC research.

Jack Mosher at the University of Michigan said, “It’s worrying that I could come into work one day and I might not be allowed to do my research because of someone’s ideological beliefs rather than the quality of the science.” Many specular promises are made for what might come out of the research. Last month Nature published a article critical of adult stem cells suggesting that some may have memory problems making  true pluripotent stem cells and ESC more appealing.

Nature news in a court ruling against funding ESC research are lobbying congress to make a law to keep taxpayer money coming in while awaiting another decision by the court. Physorg has been the only secular outlet that has a balanced story on the advancements of adult stem cell research and ESC research. The article notes the ethical concerns with embryonic stem cell research unlike previous articles in other publications.

Dr. Paul Sanberg, admitted that “Two decades of cell-based research has been accompanied by poor management of public discussion regarding ethics.” That is because for many of them who are pro-ESC research, it’s not about ethics or the fact that adult stem cells have been showing greater promise in treatments but it’s about the money!

It has been reported that a spinal cord treatment using embryonic stem cells is going to be conducted for the first time on humans but no amount of scientific research on embryos can address the ethics of doing what they can do. The destruction of a human embryo! However, not all of this research is bad, there are other ways of obtaining ESC that can be used for treatments without ethical concerns but one thing is for sure, ESC research is not going to live up to the hype that some scientists are suggesting  with their obsession using emotional ranting, hopefully this is not going to take away from adult stem research and it’s progress!  The United States is for the people and by the people and the public should not bow down to scientists and always give them what they want, they are only human!

Dental Pulp Stem Cells Could Be Good For the Brain

Adult stems cells have been found to regenerate many different types of cells. In this new discovery, scientists have found a unique feature in dental stem cells which can stimulate growth of new neural cells, and many of these formed neurons.

Since Obama started running for office up until now where he promised to unban embryonic stem cells research, the focus has been on one aspect of this type of cell research. While very little attention has been paid to the major progress of adult stem cells. You can talk to a person on the street about stem cells and generally what the first thing comes to mind are embryonic stem cells. I believe the general public is not aware enough about this vital research concerning adult stem cells.

The conflict with embryonic stem cells, has created a political circus. Generally, collecting human embryonic stem cells for the most part come from embryos. Once the cells are collected, it then destroys the remaining embryo. There is an alternative in collecting these type of cells, but not enough to satisfy the demand. There is currently a shortage of human embryonic stem cells which can result in paying people to obtain them.

As far as Christians are concern, the embryos are human life no question about it, no science to refute otherwise on when life begins, but to liberals embryos are just a “thing” to work with while promising to find cures for diseases.

Back to the latest discovery of the promising possible impact of dental pulp stem cells which are adult stems cells…

By showing dental pulp stem cells are capable of stimulating growth of neurons, our study demonstrates the specific therapeutic potential of dental pulp stem cells and the broader potential for adult stem cells,” says Chan, who also is assistant professor of human genetics in Emory School of Medicine.

“Because dental pulp stem cells can be isolated from anyone at any age during a visit to the dentist, Chan is interested in the possibility of dental pulp stem cell banking. “Being able to use your own stem cells for therapy would greatly decrease the risk of cell rejection that we now experience in transplant medicine,” says Chan” -Science Daily

Adult stem cells show way more promise and it’s way more versatile. It’s also humane, and helps decreasing cell rejection. You can make a cell regenerate but if it’s rejected, it’s no use to the person who needs treatment. Very exciting to learn about the progress in dental pulp stem cell research, thanks to the Lord!