Entries in Stem Cell Research (5)


Cloning Technique Allows Scientists to Produce Human Stem Cells

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Scientists at the Oregon National Primate Research Center say that they have used a cloning technique to turn an ordinary human skin cell into an embryonic stem cell.

The breakthrough in stem cell research could potentially cure a wide array of diseases, according to HealthDay News. The stem cells produced in the research are genetically identical to the person from whom the original cell was taken. Once the cell is "reprogrammed" into a stem cell, it can differentiate into a number of different types of tissue.

While HealthDay News points out that the research has some concerned, researchers do not consider the ability to reprogram cells a major breakthrough in terms of actual human cloning.

The researchers managed to take the original cell's nucleus, which contains genetic information, and implant it into an egg cell that had had its DNA removed. After the transfer, the egg develops and produces usable stem cells. Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a senior scientist at the ONPRC, told HealthDay News that "stem cells derived through this technique demonstrated their ability to convert just like normal embryonic stem cells, into several different cell types."

Most notably, this research marks a breakthrough for reproductive cloning in that it did not involve the use of fertilized embryos.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Experimental Stem Cell Therapy May Help Treat Burn Victims

Cytori Therapeutics, Inc(GLASGOW, Scotland) -- For more than 40 years, Lesley Kelly of Glasgow, Scotland, lived with third-degree burns that stretched over 60 percent of her body.

Kelly was 2 years old when she fell into a bathtub filled with hot water that scorched most of the right side of her body. She lost full range of motion around many of her joints.

"When you have bad scarring, the buildup is very thick and has no elasticity," said Kelly, 45, whose right elbow was most affected by the buildup of scar tissue. "The problem with thermal burn scarring [is that] it's hard to get the range of motion."

Kelly underwent numerous reparative surgeries through the years, but the scar tissue continued to grow back. The procedures did not lessen the look of her scars.

In 2011, Kelly underwent a new, experimental procedure that used stem cells from her own fat tissue to repair the buildup around her right elbow.

Surgeons cleaned the scar buildup around the elbow and used liposuction to pull fat from off Kelly's waist. They separated the fat cells from the stem and regenerative cells, which were then injected into the wound on Kelly's arm. The procedure took less than two hours.

Within months, Kelly was able to regain 40 degrees of motion that she had lost more than 40 years ago.

"If this technology was available earlier in my life, my scars would not have been as bad," said Kelly.

There are an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 burn cases each year in the U.S., according to the American Burn Association.

The stem cell therapy, approved in the U.K. to treat soft tissue wounds, is now gaining traction in the U.S.

Cytori Therapeutics, Inc., the biotechnology company that created the therapy, has been awarded a $4.7 million U.S. government contract to further develop the stem-cell treatment for thermal or radioactive burns.

The two-year contract with the Department of Health and Human Service's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority supports preclinical and clinical research of the therapy. If certain endpoints are met, the contract could get extended and be worth $106 million, according to Cytori.

While still in its early development phases, one goal of the therapy is to be able to treat many burn victims following a "mass casualty event," according to a public statement by Cytori.

The new therapy may have the potential to treat thousands of U.S. service members who have been injured by bombs.

For the first two years, the research will evaluate the therapy in animals before it can be tested clinically in humans.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Geron Announcement Throws Stem Cell Research into Question

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MENLO PARK, Calif.) -- In the wake of a California-based research company's decision to drop the world's first clinical trial using human embryonic stem cells, many investigators who once held to the promise of stem cell research now wonder whether the field of embryonic stem cell research has been abandoned in the U.S. completely.

The company, Geron, which pioneered the field of embryonic stem cell research, announced its decision on Monday to drop its study on stem cells for spinal cord injury.

Geron cited costs as the primary reason, saying the payoff of stem cell research wouldn't come close to other more lucrative projects.  The company would be better off allocating financial resources to research for cancer therapies that are near completion in development, company representatives said.

While Geron says it hasn't given up on the promise of stem cell research, many experts say the announcement signals a symbolic end to the era of embryonic stem cell research that many researchers worked so hard to launch.

Many experts say they're not convinced that financial limits are only to blame.

"This company would not walk away from this trial in the absence of an unexpected complication or safety concern, if there was any evidence that it was working," said Dr. Daniel Salomon, associate professor in the department of molecular and experimental medicine at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. "The assumption has to be that they designed a study with a purposeful plan to complete it to a certain benchmark of efficacy and that they had the funds for that effort in hand."

In 2009, the Obama administration lifted former president George W. Bush's restrictions on funding for stem cell research, which expanded the financial limits of the field.

Geron's trial on therapies for spinal cord injury became the first embryonic stem cell-based research approved in the U.S.

"Without seeing the data, one cannot be certain that there was not a clinical reason for stopping the trial," said Dr. Robertson Parkman, professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Repaired Neuron Cells in Animals Used to Treat Parkinson's disease

PRNewsFoto/Shrink Nanotechnologies, Inc.(NEW YORK) -- A new study shows that human stem cells affected by Parkinson's disease transplanted into mice, rats and monkeys showed an improvement in symptoms.

The study, published by journal Nature on Sunday, describes converting the stem cells to neuron cells. The degenerative disease attacks these cells in humans but the study conducted several tests which showed that the transformation of the stem cells into neuron cells which produced the chemical dopamine, not only survived but helped to slow the symptoms of Parkinson's in monkeys.

The research was conducted by a group of scientists led by Dr. Lorenz Studer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Peyton Manning’s Stem-Cell Hail Mary

Peyton Manning stands on the sidelines during a pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers, August 26, 2011. Joe Robbins/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) -- Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has become the newest face of stem-cell therapy in a treatment decision that has elicited mixed opinions from top doctors in the field.

Buzz about Manning’s decision to fly to Europe to take advantage of an FDA-unapproved stem-cell treatment for his neck exploded this weekend with a report on Fox’s NFL pregame show.

The bulging disk in Manning’s neck has thus far defied three surgical repair attempts and months of physical therapy, and the 35-year-old QB is expected to be out of the game for two to three months, and possibly more.

Manning has already missed his team’s first two games.

He has not kept his disappointment at his slow recovery a secret.

“To say I am disappointed in not being able to play is an understatement,” Manning said in a statement released by his team earlier this month. “I simply am not healthy enough to play, and I am doing everything I can to get my health back.”

According to a report in the New York Daily News, the stem-cell treatment did not work, resulting in the team subsequently deeming the surgery “uneventful.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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