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Medical Tourism in Spotlight as Experts Call for Tighter Regulation – Bioscience Technology

By Dr. Matthew Watson

Countries should unite to tackle unscrupulous advertising of unproven therapies involving stem cells, experts say.

An international group of leading experts has called for tighter regulation of so-called stem cell tourism. This involves patients travelling to other countries, where medical regulations are less strict, for treatment with potentially unsafe therapies.

Hundreds of medical centres around the world are offering therapies that involve transplantation of so-called stem cells -- which they claim have the ability to repair damaged tissues. Clinics are marketing the treatment for a range of conditions, including multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

Often these therapies are advertised directly to patients with the promise of a cure. But experts say there is often no evidence to show that the treatments will help anyone, or will not cause harm.

Researchers say the practice risks undermining the development of rigorously tested, validated therapies and puts lives at risk.

Writing in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group has called for coordinated global action to tackle the problem.

They say tighter regulations on advertising stem cell therapies are needed, so that unsupported claims about potential clinical benefits do not go unchallenged.

Global regulatory authorities should agree international standards for the manufacture and testing of cell and tissue-based therapies, they add.

The group -- which includes experts from the University of Edinburgh -- also calls for the World Health Organization to help guide responsible clinical use of cells and tissues, as it does for medicines and medicinal devices.

Their appeal follows the deaths of two children at a clinic in Germany in 2010, which exploited a legal loophole to offer untested treatments. The clinic has since been closed.

Dr. Sarah Chan, a Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, said: "Many patients feel that potential cures are being held back by red tape and lengthy approval processes. Although this can be frustrating, these procedures are there to protect patients from undergoing needless treatments that could put their lives at risk.

"Stem cell therapies hold a lot of promise but we need rigorous clinical trials and regulatory processes to determine whether a proposed treatment is safe, effective and better than existing treatments."

Some types of stem cell transplantation - mainly blood and skin stem cells -- have been approved to treat certain types of cancer and to grow skin grafts for patients with severe burns. These treatments have been rigorously tested in clinical trials.

SOURCE: University of Edinburgh

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Stem Cell Treatments in Use at Clinics Worldwide Need Regulation … – Multiple Sclerosis News Today

By LizaAVILA

Advertising forstem cell therapies not supported by clinical researchoftenmadedirectly to patients and sometimes promoted as a cure for diseases like multiple sclerosis or Parkinsons is a growing problem that needs to be addressed and regulated, a team of leading experts say, calling suchstem cell tourism potentially unsafe.

Stem cell tourism is the unflattering name given to the practice of encouragingpatients totravel outside their home country to undergo suchtreatment, typicaly at a private clinic.

The article, titledMarketing of unproven stem cellbased interventions: A call to actionandrecently published inthe journal Science Translational Medicine, was co-authored by scientistswith universities and hospitals in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Belgium, Italy, Japan, and Australia. It focuses on the global problem of thecommercial promotion of stem cell therapies and ongoing resistance to regulatory efforts.

Its authors suggest that a coordinated approach, at national and international levels, be focused on engagement, harmonization, and enforcement in order to reduce risks associated with direct-to-consumer marketing of unproven stem cell treatments.

Treatments involving stem cell transplants are now being offered by hundreds of medical institutions worldwide, claiming efficacy in repairing tissue damaged by degenerative disorders like MS, even thoughthose claim often lack or are supported bylittle evidence .

They alsonoted that the continued availability of these treatments undermines the development of rigorously tested therapies, and potentially canendanger a patients life.

The researchers emphasizethat tighter regulations on stem cell therapy advertising are needed, especiallyregarding potential clinical benefits. They support the establishment ofinternational regulatory standards for the manufacture and testing of human cell and tissue-based therapies.

Many patients feel that potential cures are being held back by red tape and lengthy approval processes. Although this can be frustrating, these procedures are there to protect patients from undergoing needless treatments that could put their lives at risk, Sarah Chan, a University of Edinburgh Chancellors Fellow and report co-author, saidin anews release.

Chan and her colleagues are also calling for the World Health Organization to offer guidance on responsible clinical use of cells and tissues, as it does for medicines and medical devices.

Stem cell therapies hold a lot of promise, Chan said, but we need rigorous clinical trials and regulatory processes to determine whether a proposed treatment is safe, effective and better than existing treatments.

According to the release, the report and its recommendationsfollowed the death of two children at a German clinic in 2010. The clinichas since been shut down.

Certainstem cell therapies mostly involving blood and skin stem cells have undergone rigorous testing in clinical trials, the researchers noted. A number of theseresulted in aprovedtreatments for certain blood cancers, and to grow skin grafts for patients with severe burns.

Information about the current status of stem cell research andpotential uses of stem cell therapiesis availableon the websiteEuroStemCell.

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Stem cell-based therapy for targeting skin-to-brain cancer – Medical Xpress

By raymumme

July 10, 2017 Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute have a potential solution for how to kill tumor cells that have metastasized to the brain. The team has developed cancer-killing viruses that can deliver stem cells via the carotid artery, and applied them to metastatic tumors in the brain of clinically relevant mouse models. The investigators report the elimination of metastatic skin cancer cells from the brain of these preclinical models, resulting in prolonged survival. The study, published online this week in the journal PNAS, also describes a strategy of combining this therapy with immune check point inhibitors.

"Metastatic brain tumors - often from lung, breast or skin cancers - are the most commonly observed tumors within the brain and account for about 40 percent of advanced melanoma metastases. Current therapeutic options for such patients are limited, particularly when there are many metastases," says Khalid Shah, MS, PhD, director of the Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging (CSTI) in the BWH Department of Neurosurgery, who led the study. "Our results are the first to provide insight into ways of targeting multiple brain metastatic deposits with stem-cell-loaded oncolytic viruses that specifically kill dividing tumor cells."

In their search for novel, tumor-specific therapies that could target multiple brain metastases without damaging adjacent tissues, the research team first developed different BRAF wild type and mutant mouse models that more closely mimic what is seen in patients. They found that injecting patient-derived, brain-seeking melanoma cells into the carotid artery of these preclinical models resulted in the formation of many metastatic tumors throughout the brain, mimicking what is seen in advanced melanoma cancer patients. The injected cells express markers that allow them to enter the brain and are labelled with bioluminescent and fluorescent markers to enable tracking by imaging technologies.

To devise a potential new therapy, the investigators engineered a population of bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells loaded with oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV), which specifically kills dividing cancer cells while sparing normal cells. Previous research by Shah and his colleagues shows that different stem cell types are naturally attracted toward tumors in the brain. After first verifying that stem cells injected to the brain would travel to multiple metastatic sites and not to tumor-free areas in their model, the team injected stem cells loaded with oHSV into the carotid artery of metastasis-bearing mice.. Injecting the stem cells loaded with oHSV into the carotid artery, a likely strategy for clinical application, led to significantly slower tumor growth and increased survival, compared with the models that received unaltered stem cells or control injections. The oHSV loaded stem cells are ultimately killed by oHSV mediated oncolysis, preventing the engineered cells from persisting within the brain, which is an important safety component in the therapeutic use of these stem cells.

Due to an increasing body of evidence which suggests that the host immune response may be critical to the efficacy of oncolytic virotherapy, Shah and his colleagues also developed an immunocompetent melanoma mouse model and explored treating with both stem cell loaded oHSV and immune checkpoint blockers such as the ones that target the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway. They found that PD-L1 immune checkpoint blockade significantly improved the therapeutic efficacy of stem cell based oncolytic virotherapy in melanoma brain metastasis.

"We are currently developing similar animal models of brain metastasis from other cancer types as well as new oncolytic viruses that have the ability to specifically kill a wide variety of resistant tumor cells," said Shah, who is also a professor at Harvard Medical School and a principal faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. "We are hopeful that our findings will overcome problems associated with current clinical procedures. This work will have direct implications for designing clinical trials using oncolytic viruses for metastatic tumors in the brain."

Explore further: Stem-cell-based therapy promising for treatment of breast cancer metastases in the brain

More information: Wanlu Du el al., "In vivo imaging of the fate and therapeutic efficacy of stem cell-loaded oncolytic herpes simplex virus in advanced melanoma," PNAS (2017). http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1700363114

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Treatment of Scars with Stem Cells :: Stem Cell Skin …

By raymumme

At a Glance

Schedule appointment or Skype information

We know from experience that patients having scars find them particularly unattractive and mentally stressful. Scars form after wounds have finished healing, when deeper skin layers have been injured. Skin injuries can be caused by an accident, a skin disease or burns. So-called pregnancy stretch marks are also scars.

At first, scars will be red due to the large number of blood vessels. The scar tissue then gradually lightens in color, because the amount of collagenous fibers increases over time. From a medical point of view, scar tissue is an inferior kind of tissue and if put under a certain amount of pressure, so-called scar hernias can be a result thereof.

The formation of scars cannot be prevented after the deeper skin layers have been injured. The chances of the scar healing without too many traces increase, if the wound is treated well during the healing process.

If your wound healing process is already completed and scar tissue has formed, further treatment depends on the cause of the injury and type of scarring. In any case, we require your autologous stem cells obtained from your body fat. It is necessary to extract a small amount of your bodys own fat in order to obtain the stem cells. In accordance with your wishes, liposuction is carried out with microcannulas or regular cannulas.

The question as to whether the scars will be treated with stem cells only or if scar tissue has to be removed depends on the scar itself:

Post-surgery care is minimal: Treatment is on an outpatient basis; afterwards, you are fully mobile and normally can go back to work without any restrictions. We will provide you with individual recommendations for your post-treatment care according to the extent and type of area treated and will give you support during the healing process.

Schedule consultation appointment

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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‘Stem-cell tourism’ needs tighter controls, say medical experts – The … – Washington Post

By raymumme

By Reuters By Reuters July 8 at 8:47 AM

Stem cell tourism in which patients travel to developing countries for unproven and potentially risky therapies should be more tightly regulated, according to a group of international health experts.

With hundreds of medical centers around the world claiming to be able to repair tissue damaged by conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinsons disease, tackling unscrupulous advertising of such procedures is crucial.

These therapies are advertised directly to patients with the promise of a cure, but there is often little or no evidence to show they will help or that they will not cause harm, the 15 experts wrote in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Some types of stem cell transplant mainly using blood and skin stem cells have been approved by regulators after full clinical trials found they could treat certain types of cancer and grow skin grafts for burn patients.

But many other potential therapies are only in the earliest stages of development and have not been approved by regulators.

Stem cell therapies hold a lot of promise, but we need rigorous clinical trials and regulatory processes to determine whether a proposed treatment is safe, effective and better than existing treatments, said one of the 15, Sarah Chan of Britains University of Edinburgh.

The experts called for global action, led by the World Health Organization, to introduce controls on advertising and to agree on international standards for the manufacture and testing of cell- and tissue-based therapies.

The globalization of health markets and the specific tensions surrounding stem cell research and its applications have made this a difficult challenge, they wrote. However, the stakes are too high not to take a united stance.

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Sex for procreation will be obsolete in 30 years, researcher says – CTV News

By JoanneRUSSELL25

A U.S. biomedical researcher believes most babies will be made in the lab instead of the bedroom within the next two to three decades -- a bold prediction that could halt genetic predisposition to certain diseases and introduce a new plane of biological inequality.

Hank Greely, the director of Stanford Law Schools Center for Law and the Biosciences, told attendees at the Aspen Ideas Festival earlier this week that replacing sex as the primary means of baby-making will save women from undergoing fertility treatments, reduce health care costs, and give non-traditional families more avenues to have children.

Greely predicts most prospective parents will soon opt to choose from a range of embryos created by taking female skin samples and using stem cells to create eggs, which are then fertilized with sperm.

The range of embryos would be audited for genetically transmitted diseases such as Huntingtons, and perhaps even DNA indicators for breast cancer and Alzheimers. The process could also allow for the selection of cosmetic features, like hair and eye colour, and even complex traits such as intelligence.

Some of this can already take place through costly pre-implantation genetic diagnostics and in vitro fertilization. But Greely imagines, in the future, such selection will become commonplace as the technology becomes cheaper and perhaps even subsidized due to the offset in other medical costs.

University of Toronto bioethicist Kerry Bowman warns that widespread adoption of multiple embryo selection would be quite a deviation from the status-quo, and would mark a shift that makes longstanding fears about genetic predetermination a reality.

It could lead to inequality. Who could afford such a technique? he asked CTV News Channel on Thursday. When we have some people that are selected to the point of almost being enhanced, weve got more inequality added on top of that.

Beyond the issue of cost and the ethical taboo of so-called designer babies, Bowman points to the moral implications of creating additional embryos with the knowledge that some will be discarded.

What are you going to do with them? He (Greely) seems to be talking about a very large amount of embryos. That is one concern, Bowman said.

With that in mind, however, he expects many people will embrace the rise of scientific intervention in human reproduction for the mere possibility of diminishing the risk of disease.

If you could prevent a child being born into a life of suffering, most people would be very supportive of that, Bowman said. Historically, weve thrown the dice.

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Adore Cosmetics is Using Apples to Take Us One Step Closer to Agelessness – WireUpdate

By Sykes24Tracey

Jul 7, 2017 - (Newswire)

Remember the story of the golden apples that could grant immortality to the person who ate them? It seemed too good to be true; plants couldn't make you live forever. However, it seems that they can make youage less quickly, and Adore Cosmetics has discovered how to harness their power for more youthful skin.

Plant stem cells are becoming increasingly popular in cosmetic and skin care brands for their apparent anti-aging properties. But what is the hype really about? Are all of the companies claiming this new technology will benefit a persons skin or is this an elaborate scam? Spoiler alert: its not a scam!

Plant stem cell culture technology is a very complicated process that ensures the growth of plant cells in sterile environments. The lab-cultivated culture allows for substances present in plants to be grown where it would otherwise be very difficult to obtain naturally. It results in ingredients that are free from environmental pollutants, available all the time, and with an identical amount of nutrients in every batch.

To test the viability of plant stem cells as an anti-aging product, a Swiss Company called Mibelle Chemistry tested the anti-aging capabilities of a variety of Swiss Apples. The study took place over a 4-week period and measured the depth of crow's feet periodically (every 2 weeks). The moisturizing cream -- which contained the plant stem cells -- was applied twice daily. The results of the study saw a 15% total decrease in depth of the wrinkles after 4 weeks.

Adore Cosmetics, one of the leaders in regards to skincare technologies, is a brand whose entire line of products is formulated with plant stem cells from rare organic Swiss Apples to encourage the renewal of your skins own stem cells.

Adore Cosmeticsproducts protect the skins current stem cells, prevents damage than can occur due to UV stress and environmental factors, and promotes the vitality of skin stem cells. As a result, the skin of people who use Adore Cosmetics isrestored, renewed, and replenished as our organic ingredients encourage it to slow down -- and, according to this study, potentially reverse -- the aging process!

To try out our products, find discounts at http://adorecosmeticsoffers.com/

And to read our beauty blog, Adore Cosmetics Insights, head to https://adorecosmeticsinsights.com/

Follow Adore Cosmetics on Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

About Adore Cosmetics:Adore Cosmeticsoffers innovations in organic skin care productspowered by plant stem cellsand other beauty-boosting ingredients. Adoreskincareproducts are designed to promote beauty, help reverse the signs of aging, and restore a youthful glow to the skinnaturallyby harnessing the power of nature.

Contact: ArielleFried Adore Cosmetics 305-627-9370 Arielle@AdoreCosmetics.com

Original Source: https://www.newswire.com/news/adore-cosmetics-is-using-apples-to-take-us-one-step-closer-to-19638166

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‘Stem-cell tourism’ needs tighter controls, say medical experts … – Reuters

By Dr. Matthew Watson

LONDON Stem-cell tourism involving patients who travel to developing countries for treatment with unproven and potentially risky therapies should be more tightly regulated, international health experts said on Wednesday.

With hundreds of medical centers around the world claiming to be able to repair damaged tissue in conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, tackling unscrupulous advertising of such procedures is crucial.

These therapies are advertised directly to patients with the promise of a cure, but there is often little or no evidence to show they will help, or that they will not cause harm, the 15 experts wrote in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Some types of stem cell transplant mainly using blood and skin stem cells have been approved by regulators after full clinical trials found they could treat certain types of cancer and grow skin grafts for burns patients.

But many other potential therapies are only in the earliest stages of development and have not been approved by international regulators.

"Stem cell therapies hold a lot of promise, but we need rigorous clinical trials and regulatory processes to determine whether a proposed treatment is safe, effective and better than existing treatments," said one of the 15, Sarah Chan of Britain's University of Edinburgh.

The experts called for global action, led by the World Health Organization, to introduce controls on advertising and agree international standards for the manufacture and testing of cell and tissue-based therapies.

"The globalization of health markets and the specific tensions surrounding stem cell research and its applications

have made this a difficult challenge," they wrote. "However, the stakes are too high not to take a united stance."

(Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by John Stonestreet)

ZURICH Novartis said that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has approved a label update for Cosentyx (secukinumab), the first interleukin-17A (IL-17A) approved to treat psoriasis.

(Reuters Health) - After weight-loss surgery, people who get cosmetic procedures to remove excess tissue may have a better quality of life than those who don't get this additional work done, a recent study suggests.

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Sex For Reproduction May Be Obsolete Within 30 Years Thanks To New Technology, Professor Predicts – Medical Daily

By raymumme

Sure, the main purpose of sex isprocreation, but according to one researcher, in as little as 30 years, we may have more efficient and cheaper ways of making babiesthangood ole fashioned intercourse. According to Hank Greely, the director of StanfordLaw Schools Center for Law and Biosciences, human reproductionmay become automated faster than you realize.

Greely believes that within three decades, people will no longer have sex as a way to reproduce, and instead relyongenetically edited embryos grown from skin-derived stem cells, not the combination of an egg or sperm, The Independent reported. According to Greely, this processensures that the embryo is free from any devastating genetic diseases, and wouldalso be cheaper in the long run because of the money it would save in healthcare over the years. Whats more, Greely predicts that couples would be able to choose other genetic traits in their children, such as physical features and intelligence.

Read: What Is A Three Parent IVF Technique? Worlds First Baby Born Using DNA From Three Parents, But How?

I dont think were going to be able to say this embryo will get a 1550 on its two-part SAT, Greely said this week at Aspen Ideas Festival, Quartz reported, But, this embryo has a 60% chance of being in the top half, this embryo has a 13% chance of being in the top 10%I think thats really possible.

The idea may soundfar-out, but according to Quartz, it already happens on a much smaller and limited scale as a way to prevent certain diseases. Although extremely expensive at the moment, advances in stem cell technology willhelp to drive down the cost. In addition, the amount that the government would save on not having to take care of sick babies would also make this more cost-efficient.

Making babies from skin cellsrather than a traditional egg fertilized with spermmaysound like its straight out of Hollywood, butthetechnology is quickly advancing. The skin cells, one from the mother and the other from the father, are coaxed into becoming an egg or sperm cell, The New York Times reported. This also means that one day same-sex couples may be able to have biologically related children. So far, vitro gametogenesis (IVG), or making sex cells from stem cells, has only worked on mice.

Theres also the worry that being able to genetically manipulate your offspring may lead to a eugenicssituation where less favorable traits get written out of the human genome forever. However, Greely also believes this is not the case.

This is not designer babies or super babies, said Greely, Quartz reported. This is selecting embryos. You take two people, all you can get out of a baby is what those two people have.

Just because well no longer need sex for procreation doesnt mean the activity is going out of fashion anytime soon. It's agreat way to createfuture generations, and sexis also good for your physical and mental health, as well as keeping couples together.

See Also:

Designer Babies: The Truth Behind Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

Scientists Edit Human Embryo Genes For First Time Ever: A Step Toward Disease-Free Future?

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‘Custom-made’ babies to be in demand in 30 years, says expert – Times Now

By raymumme


Times Now
'Custom-made' babies to be in demand in 30 years, says expert
Times Now
The process will involve taking a female skin sample to create stem cells, which is then used to create eggs. These eggs are then fertilised with sperm cells, resulting in a selection of embryos. While Greely does acknowledge that ethical issues could ...
People will 'stop having sex to procreate within 30 years', says scientistMetro
Sex Not Necessary for Reproduction: Stanford Professor's Prediction Suggests a Bizarre FutureIndia.com
PLAYING GOD: 'End to sex' in 30 years as parents will DESIGN their babies in the labExpress.co.uk
Christian Post -Deccan Chronicle
all 11 news articles »

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Mesenchymal stromal cells from horses show potential for healing skin wounds – Horsetalk

By raymumme

Equine mesenchymal stromal cells have been shown to have antibacterial properties, raising the possibility they could aid in healing troublesome skin wounds in humans and horses.

Mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs, are multipotent connective-tissue cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types, including bone cartilage, muscle and fat.

Chronic skin wounds in humans are common and their treatment is often complicated by pathogenic bacteria. Therefore, safe and innovative treatments to reduce the bacterial load in such wounds are needed.

MSCs have been reported to provide local hormonal signals that promote healing in skin wounds. However, the effects of equine MSCs on the growth of bacteria commonly found in skin wounds has not, until now, been explored.

Researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine at New Yorks Cornell University have been the first to show that equine MSCs possess antimicrobial properties which stymied the growth of Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus).

The MSCs did so in part by secreting antimicrobial peptides and depolarizing the bacterial cell membranes.

Rebecca Harman, Gerlinde Van de Walle, Steven Yang, and Megan He, writing in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy, said they focused on the antibacterial properties of MSCs from horses, as this animal model offered a readily translatable model for therapies in humans.

The study team described the laboratory experiment they set up, in which MSCs were isolated from the blood of healthy horses. The bacteria were cultured in the presence of MSCs and an MSC conditioned medium a processed fluid containing all factors secreted by the cells.

They found that both the MSCs and the MSC conditioning medium inhibited the growth of both bacteria, and that the conditioning medium depolarized the cell membranes of these bacteria.

The conditioning medium was found to contain four antimicrobial peptides, cystatin C, elafin, lipocalin 2, and cathelicidin. These appeared to be at least partially responsible for the antibacterial action.

They also looked for the presence of beta defensin 2 in equine MSCs since it has been found to be secreted by human umbilical cord-derived MSCs. It belongs to a widespread family of antimicrobial peptides found in most mammals, including horses. To the surprise of the research team, they could not detect beta defensin 2 in equine MSCs.

Our results, they concluded, demonstrate that equine MSCs inhibit bacterial growth and secrete factors that compromise the membrane integrity of bacteria commonly found in skin wounds.

There appeared to be a difference in the underlying mechanisms targeting each species, withdifferent secreted factors appearing to target different bacteria.

It will be interesting, they said, to study the effects of the MSC conditioning medium on additional bacterial species commonly found in equine skin wounds. The findings will likely be relevant to human as well as veterinary medicine, they said.

Since we found that equine MSCs secrete a variety of antimicrobial peptides that appear effective against both gram-positive [S. Aureus]and gram-negative [E.Coli] bacteria, these cells may serve as a broad-spectrum treatment to control bacterial growth and kill bacteria, without leading to resistance.

The study team said they now intended to evaluate the effectiveness of equine MSCs in healing both acute and chronic wounds.

Antimicrobial peptides secreted by equine mesenchymal stromal cells inhibit the growth of bacteria commonly found in skin wounds Rebecca M. Harman, Steven Yang, Megan K. He and Gerlinde R. Van de Walle Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2017 8:157 DOI: 10.1186/s13287-017-0610-6

The study, published under a Creative Commons License, can be read here.

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People will ‘stop having sex to procreate within 30 years’, says scientist – Metro

By LizaAVILA

Embryo selection could become a lot cheaper and allow parents to ensure against diseases (Picture: Shutterstock)

People will stop having sex to procreate within three decades, a US professor claims.

Hank Greely, director of Stanford Law Schools Centre for Law and the Biosciences, believes more parents will end up choosing from a range of embryos created in a lab with their DNA.

Mr Greely believes the process will become a lot cheaper and couples will opt for the method to prevent diseases.

The process involves taking a female skin sample to create stem cells, which are then used to create eggs.

These are fertilised with sperm cells, resulting in a selection of embryos.

MORE: Boy, 16, wins human rights court battle after being kept in solitary confinement for over four months

Screening would pinpoint any potential diseases and eventually allow parents to determine their childs eye or hair colour.

Mr Greely said: I think one of the hardest things about this will be all the divorces that come about when she wants embryo number 15 and he wants embryo number 64.

I think the decision making will be a real challenge for people.

How do you weigh a slightly higher change of diabetes with slightly lower risk of schizophrenia against better musical ability and a much lower risk of colon cancer? Good luck.

The professor believes the method could cut healthcare costs and reduce diseases.

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Mr Greely defended embryo selection despite the murky ethical grounds.

He said: This is not designer babies or super babies. This is selecting embryos.

You take two people, all you can get out of a baby is what those two people have.

There are already concerns that CRISPR, a tool that scientists use to edit DNA, will be used to create perfect embryos.

However, Mr Greely dismissed this as unlikely and said embryo selection will begin as an infertility treatment before expanding.

MORE: Prince Charles and Camilla laugh in the faces of highly-skilled traditional Inuit throat singers

MORE: Ejaculating 21 times a month could reduce the risk of prostate cancer, suggests research

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Stem Cell Injections: Emerging Option for Joint Pain Relief – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic (blog)

By NEVAGiles23

Are you suffering from chronicjoint pain? If so, you may want to ask your doctor whetherstem cellinjections are right for you. If you want to avoid the surgical route of repairing a damaged knee or treating an arthritic shoulder, a stem cell injection may give you the relief you need.

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Stem cells are specialtypes of cells with the ability to self-renew or multiply. They have the potential to replicate any cell in your body. In other words, they canbecome a cartilage cell, a muscle cell or a nerve cell, says orthopedic surgeonAnthony Miniaci, MD.

They have a tremendous capacity to differentiate and form different tissues, so thats the thought behind regenerating cartilage, regenerating nerve cells and healing any injured tissues, he says.

The source of stem cells isfound in your own bone marrow orfat or you can also receive stem cells from donor sources, particularlyamniotic sourcessuch as the placenta or the amniotic fluid and lining surrounding a fetus. These cells are not part of the embryo, Dr. Miniaci says.

The number of stem cells that you have and theirquality and activity diminish as you get older, he says. Amniotic stem cells, on the other hand, are from young tissue, so theoretically these are younger, more active cells.

Thetreatment team harvests stem cells from your bone marrow or fat or uses donor cells . Later on, your treatment team injects the cells preciselyinto your joint, ligament or tendon.

Theoretically, the cells will then divide and duplicate themselves and develop into different types of cells depending on the location into which they have been injected. For example, if you have damagedknee cartilage, stem cells placed near the damaged cartilage can develop into new cartilage tissue.

However, for patients with asevere loss of cartilageor no cartilage at all, a stem cell injection is unlikely to createa new joint, Dr. Miniaci says.

Severe loss of cartilage typically leads to bone erosion or bone deformity, so a stem cell injection is highly unlikely to work in terms of reversing those changes, he says.

It can, however, improve your symptoms of pain and swelling.

The earlier you can treat someones joint pain, the better chance this has of working, making it less painful for thepatient, less inflamed, and improve their function, he says.

The main risk from a stem cell injection is in harvesting the stem cells. When taking the cells from your bone marrow, the treatment team inserts a large needle into your pelvis and removes some blood and the cells.

Any time you make incisions or insert sharp instrument into somebodys pelvis, they can have problems such as acquiring an infection, Dr. Miniaci says.

If youre taking the stem cells from fat, you you can remove some out from under the skin, he says. Again, you have a risk for an infection because were making little nicks into the skin to get to the fat.

While the use of stem cell injections to treatjoint painholds much promise, Dr. Miniaci cautions that this treatment option is still very new. Researchers needto study its effectiveness further.

We dont have a lot of data or proof indicating that stem cell injections actually repair the joint, he says.

He explains that if you have cartilage orbone damage, stem cells candifferentiate and produce bone and cartilage and tissues. So, theoretically, they could heal damaged tissue within a muscle, tendon, bone or cartilage.

Thats the theory behind it, but this type of treatment and research is just in its infancy, he says.

We really dont know whats effective, whats not effective, how many cells are necessary, how many actual injections you need and how often, he says. Nobody knows how well it works yet. But we will eventually.

Anecdotally, Dr. Miniaci finds that some patients can have significant improvement in their symptoms with stem cellinjections. But he has not seen any proof yet that they are regrowing or regenerating a joint.

Many people think that theyre going to come in with their arthritic joint and leave with a newer version of their knee joint. That doesnt happen, he says.

What does occur is a biological reaction which makes the environment in their joints a little healthier, which probably makes it less inflamed, and as result, gives them less pain.

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Skin Stem Cells Used to Generate New Brain Cells – AANS …

By daniellenierenberg

| Newsline

UCI-led study to advance understanding of the role of micoglia in Alzheimers disease

Using human skin cells, University of California, Irvine neurobiologists and their colleagues have created a method to generate one of the principle cell types of the brain called microglia, which play a key role in preserving the function of neural networks and responding to injury and disease. The finding marks an important step in the use of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells for targeted approaches to better understand and potentially treat neurological diseases such as Alzheimers. These iPS cells are derived from existing adult skin cells and show increasing utility as a promising approach for studying human disease and developing new therapies. Skin cells were donated from patients at the UCI Alzheimers Disease Research Center. The study, led by Edsel Abud, Wayne Poon and Mathew Blurton Jones of UCI, used a genetic process to reprogram these cells into a pluripotent state capable of developing into any type of cell or tissue of the body.

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Stanford professor believes in the future we won’t have sex to procreate – The Express Tribune

By Dr. Matthew Watson

Says most American procreation will begin by selecting from a range of embryos created with the parents DNA in a lab

This computer reconstruction of an embryo developing in the womb shows the foetus at eight weeks. PHOTO: File

It doesnt take long for seemingly outlandish ideas to become normalized. Today, Stanford University professor Hank Greelys assertion that Americans will stop having sex to procreate sounds absurd. But in a couple of decades, he predicts, that will be the accepted reality.

Greely, director of Stanford Law Schools Center for Law and the Biosciences, believes that were 20 to 30 years away from a time when most American procreation will begin by selecting from a range of embryos created with the parents DNA in a lab.

This already happens on a limited basis for disease prevention and occasionally sex selection, but he argues it will become far cheaper and widely available thanks to stem cell technology that will allow couples to make eggs and sperm out of stem cells from their skin.

Scientists create first artificial mouse embryo from stem cells

Prospective parents will start by screening those embryos for genetic diseases such as Huntingtons, but quickly expand to other traits, he predicts. Perhaps theyll weed out the BRAC1 gene for breast cancer, predispositions for Alzheimers, or theyll be able to select cosmetic features such as hair and eye color, and even more complex traits such as intelligence.

I dont think were going to be able to say this embryo will get a 1550 on its two-part SAT, Greely said this week at Aspen Ideas Festival. But, this embryo has a 60 per cent chance of being in the top half, this embryo has a 13 per centchance of being in the top 10 per cent I think thats really possible.

And, though he recognises that there are ethical issues, Greely views this scenario as far from dystopian. People say, How can we let this happen? I think we will, he said.

At times, he sounded flippant about the prospect. I think one of the hardest things about this will be all the divorces that come about when she wants embryo number 15 and he wants embryo number 64, he said. I think the decision making will be a real challenge for people. How do you weigh a slightly higher chance of diabetes with slightly lower risk of schizophrenia against better musical ability and a much lower risk of colon cancer? Good luck.

Indias RSS promises couples customised, fair super babies

Greely brushed aside the concern that what hes describing meddles too much with nature. This is not designer babies or super babies, he said. This is selecting embryos. You take two people, all you can get out of a baby is what those two people have.

There are already concerns that CRISPR, the tool that scientists use to edit DNA, will be put to use to create perfect embryos. But Greely dismisses this as unlikely. He argues that the embryo selection process will simply begin as an infertility treatment before expanding. People, particularly where I live in Silicon Valley, will want to do it to get their perfect egg, he added.

Greely acknowledges that ethical issues will likely arise around safety, coercion, fairness, and family structure, but does not see any of these as obstacles that will halt the development of this practice.

And what of a world where the elites have perfectly selected children while those less well off are left to deal with the diseases and imperfections that no longer affect the wealthy? Greely has the answer: The whole thing will be free. The parents wont be charged.

The key is the health care cost savings, he said, pointing out that, should it cost $10,000 to make a baby this way, then 100 babies would cost $1 million dollars. Meanwhile, the cost of caring for a truly sick baby is so great, Greely said the births of just 0.3 sick babies would need to be avoided to save $1 million.

Scientists achieve milestone in quest to produce blood cells

Greelys scenario could well prove overly optimistic in the US, and it certainly doesnt apply internationally. I think different cultures will pick it up at different rates. I think the US will be relatively accepting, Germany with its history is very anti any genetic interventions and I think theyre going to be slow, said Greely.

Should his vision come to pass, wealthy nations such as the US and China could begin this practice long before Somalia, for example. And so it seems almost inevitable that the world would become genetically divided between those who can breed out the flaws, and those who cannot.

Greely foresees a scenario where future generations will be much healthier, and possibly a little taller and smarter. From his telling, this unnerving prophesy sounds almost normal which is the most terrifying prospect of all.

This article originally appeared on Quartz.

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The ethics of experimentation: Brown U. prof analyzes controversial science – WPRI 12 Eyewitness News

By Dr. Matthew Watson

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) Theres a new science on the horizon thats so controversial three experts including one from Brown University have been tasked with studying the ethics of that technology.

The technology has a cumbersome name: in vitro gametogenesis (IVG). But,Brown University professor Dr. Eli Adashi, the schools former dean of medicine and one of the three experts, said itsunlike anything hes seen.

Its mind-boggling, Adashi said. I still feel that way whenever I talk about it.

Right now, IVG is being studied on rodents in Japan and the United Kingdom. The technology reprograms one kind of cell into a different kind of cell.

Of course, everybody who is interested in stem cells is hoping that we will create lungs so that we can replace lung tissue, create hearts so that we can replace heart tissue, said Adashi.

So far, scientists have reported successes in creating egg and sperm cells from non-reproductive cells, like skin.If researchers are successful, this technology could one day eliminate the need for male and female reproductive organs for the creation of life.

Dr. Adashi told Eyewitness News that theres a real possibility this discovery could be adapted for humans, but that a legal, ethical, and political conversation should happen now, before the technology advances any further.

Now is the time to have a conversation, Adashi said. Not against a backdrop of a technology that is already here.

He said a possible advantage of the research would be for people unable to have children, to have an option to do so.

If you could take a skin cell from the individuals and create eggs and sperm that they no longer have intrinsically, you could potentially allow victims of cancer build a family, he said.

He added that the technology could be used for a variety of other benefits such as creating nerve cells to bypass paralysis of the spinal cord.

The ethical evaluation of such a scientific development includes concerns over egg harvesting.

You move from the normal situation where women ovulate a single egg every cycle or [with] in vitro [fertilization] where at the most you would secure 15- 20 eggs, Adashi said. Here you end up with potentially thousands of eggs and you have to ask yourself if this is something we want to get into as a people.

There is no time table for when the research could move from mice to humans. The findings, however, are being increasingly noticed around the world.

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What makes stem cells into perfect allrounders – Phys.org – Phys.Org

By raymumme

June 27, 2017 Just a few days old embryonic cell clusters: with functional Pramel7 (left), without the protein (right) the development of the stem cells remains stuck and the embyos die. Credit: Paolo Cinelli, USZ

Researchers from the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich have discovered the protein that enables natural embryonic stem cells to form all body cells. In the case of embryonic stem cells maintained in cell cultures, this allrounder potential is limited. Scientists want to use this knowledge to treat large bone fractures with stem cells.

Stem cells are considered biological allrounders because they have the potential to develop into the various body cell types. For the majority of stem cells, however, this designation is too far-reaching. Adult stem cells, for example, can replace cells in their own tissue in case of injury, but a fat stem cell will never generate a nerve or liver cell. Scientists therefore distinguish between multipotent adult stem cells and the actual allrounders - the pluripotent embryonic stem cells.

Epigenetic marks determine potential for development

Differences exist even among the true allrounders, however. Embryonic stem cells that grow in laboratory cell cultures are in a different state than the pluripotent cells found inside the embryos in the first days of development. In a study in the journal Nature Cell Biology, researchers led by Paolo Cinelli of the University Hospital Zurich and Raffaella Santoro of the University of Zurich have now demonstrated the mechanism by which natural allrounders differ from embryonic stem cells in cultures.

At the center of their discovery is a protein called Pramel7 (for "preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma"-like 7) found in the cells of embryonic cell clusters that are just a few days old. This protein guarantees that the genetic material is freed from epigenetic marks consisting of chemical DNA tags in the form of methyl groups. "The more methyl groups are removed, the more open the Book of Life becomes," Cinelli says. Since any cell of the human body can develop from an embryonic stem cell, all genes have to be freely accessible at the beginning. The more a cell develops or differentiates, the stronger its genetic material is methylated and "sealed closed" again. In a bone cell, for example, only those genes are active that the cell requires for its function, the biochemist explains.

Protein is responsible for perfect pluripotency

Despite its short action period of just a few days, Pramel7 seems to play a vital role: When the researchers headed up by Cinelli and Santoro switched off the gene for this protein using genetic tricks, development remained stuck in the embryonic cell cluster stage. In the cultivated stem cells, on the other hand, Pramel7 is rarely found. This circumstance could also explain why the genetic material of these cells contains more methyl groups than that of natural embryonic cells - the perfect allrounders, as Cinelli calls them.

Using the stem cell function to regenerate bone tissue

His interest in stem cells lies in the hope of one day being able to help people with complex bone fractures. "Bones are great at regenerating and they are the only tissue that does not build scars," Paolo Cinelli says. The bone stumps must be touching, however, in order to grow together. When a bone breaks in multiple places and even through the skin, for example, in a motorcycle accident, the sections of bone in between are often no longer usable. For such cases, a bone replacement is required. His team is studying carrier materials that they want to populate with the body's own stem cells in the future. "For this reason, we have to know how stem cells work," Cinelli adds.

Explore further: New tools to study the origin of embryonic stem cells

More information: Urs Graf et al, Pramel7 mediates ground-state pluripotency through proteasomalepigenetic combined pathways, Nature Cell Biology (2017). DOI: 10.1038/ncb3554

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Is doubling our life span desirable? – Price Sun Advocate

By JoanneRUSSELL25

The times, they are a-changing.

Since Gregor Mendel unwittingly became the father of genetics by writing down his botanical observations, we have been progressing along swimmingly in our understanding and application of biology.

In the past few years, we ourselves have made some measured leaps forward in the field of biotechnology, some small someless so. Yet with the monumental achievements we have made thus-far from the advent of vaccines to our understanding of how our bodies age and degenerate, we have yet to make that quantum leap forward. That quantum leap may itself not be that far off and if anything is a good indicator of that its observable in the nature of the biotech we are currently developing.

With any huge leap forward, however, come new challenges and a slew of new questions that desperately need to be answered.

This next step in our journey isnt quite like when we eradicated major diseases or began transplanting organs because it isnt about extending human life a mere few additional years. We are taking about a doubling in the years a human may live. Thats right, double.

Now, before you write this off as sci-fi or wishful thinking, let me walk you through exactly what breakthroughs are currently occurring. It all has to do with CRISPR gene-line editing and 3-dimensional printing.

We are at the point where we can take normal somatic cells like the ones from your skin, coax them back into stem cells then re-engineer them into just about any type of cells we want. This means shortly we will be able to take skin cells and make them into heart tissue, or liver, or pancreatic or any number of different ones.

Next, the advances in 3-dimensional printing may shortly be able to take your newly minted cells and print them onto a blank scaffolding in the shape of just about any organ you may need.

Think of that: if you need a new heart it could be as simple as scratching some skin from your arm, reprogramming the cells and then printing you a whole new organ. Not a transplant from a donor, your own cells. This means no rejection and no waitlists. When an organ fails we replace it, again and again and again.

What is to become of a human race that is capable of living seemingly without end? This brings up some serious questions that would have to be answered quickly.

For starters, we see that the current population growth of our species is unsupportable as we resist green energies and advanced farming methods. If humans were to begin to live twice as long or longer we must figure out what we are going to do.

Now the radicals would suggest we simply control the populations but I dont believe that is necessary or even morally right. All we must do is increase our carrying capacity. I must admit that was not my own musing but one my father suggested to me.

If we are able to increase how much food and energy we produce without damaging the planet there is virtually no limit to how many humans can live at once. But the question is, will we resist it as we are now? Will the prospect of living healthily well over a century spur us to begin to accept scientific consensus? Or will we continue down our current path of selfishness and greed? Only time will tell.

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Large-scale Production of Living Brain Cells Enables Entirely New Research – Laboratory Equipment

By LizaAVILA

Important pieces of the puzzle to understand what drives diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are still missing today. One crucial obstacle for researchers is that it is impossible to examine a living brain cell in someone who is affected by the disease. With the help of a new method for cell conversion, researchers at Lund University in Sweden have found a way to produce diseased, aging brain cells on a large scale in a cell culture dish.

After performing a biopsy on the patient, the skin cells are transformed into brain cells that effectively imitate the disease and the age of the patient. The fact that the cells can now be produced in large quantities enables researchers to carry out a series of experiments that were previously not possible.

A few years ago, Malin Parmar's research team was one of the first in the world to convert human skin cells directly into brain cells without passing the stem cell state. The discovery shocked the researchers and was perceived as almost impossible. The team is now approaching a point where the discovery is about to bear fruit on a wide scale. By following a new method that involves slightly changing the genetic code that triggers cell conversion, the researchers were able to multiply the production of disease-specific brain cells.

"Primarily, we inhibited a protein, REST, involved in establishing identity in cells that are not nerve cells. After limiting this protein's impact in the cells during the conversion process, we've seen completely different results. Since then, we've been playing around with changing the dosage of the other components in the previous method, which also proved effective. Overall, the efficiency is remarkable. We can now generate almost unlimited amounts of neurons from one skin biopsy", says Malin Parmar, professor of developmental and regenerative neurobiology at Lund University.

The increase in production will have far-reaching effects. The new volumes enable research projects that were simply not viable before. Among other things, it opens up research areas linked to new drug testing, the establishment of more accurate disease models and the development of diagnostics to detect the diseases at an earlier stage.

The new cells are not only able to imitate the disease but also the patient's age. By studying the cell in the culture dish, the researchers can now monitor the mechanisms of the disease in an "old" brain cell over time. Neurodegenerative diseases are commonly referred to as "aging brain diseases" and in order to understand them, we must better appreciate how the age specifically affects the course of the disease. The Lund researchers' discovery can hopefully contribute a crucial piece to the puzzle with regard to the connection between the onset of disease and cell aging, something which previous research based on animal experiments and stem cells has failed to provide.

"This takes us one step closer to reality, as we can now look inside the human neurons and see what goes on inside the cell in these diseases. If all goes well, this could fundamentally change the field of research, as it helps us better understand the real mechanisms of the disease. We believe that many laboratories around the world would like to start testing on these cells to get closer to the diseases", says Johan Jakobsson, leader of the molecular neurogenetics research group at Lund University.

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Making Babies, No Sex Necessary – The Atlantic

By raymumme

In the future, when a couple wants to reproduce, they will not make a baby in a bed or in the backseat or a car, or under a Keep Off the Grass sign, says Henry Greely, the director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford Law School.

Instead, they will go to a clinic. Using stem cells from the couples skin or other non-reproductive organs, scientists will be able to make eggs and sperm, which will be combined into embryos. Each of those embryos will have its own gene sequence, Greely says. The parents will be asked: What do you want to know about these embryos? And theyll be told.

Twenty or 30 years from now, parents will be able to screen their potential kids for genetic abnormalities, pre-disposal to disease, sex, and even cosmetic features like hair, eye, and skin color, Greely claims. The new way of baby-making will save women the pain of going through fertility treatments, he says, and it will prevent disease, save health-care costs, and give non-traditional families more chances to have children. If this reproductive future comes to pass, it will also come with a tangle of moral, legal, and medical questionsones that wont be easy to resolve, despite what Greely may think.

When Greely tells people about his theorywhich is the subject of his 2016 book, The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproductionthey tend to say, This is Gattica, or this is Brave New World, he said during an interview with the New York Times reporter Carl Zimmer on Monday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. Greely is skeptical of this argument. This is not designer babies. This is not super babies. This is selecting embryos, he said.

Greely gets some of his confidence from the limits of science. Geneticists likely wont be able to predict kids behavioral traits, he said, like their aptitude for math or agility on a sports field. But they may be able to anticipate some traits, like intelligence, in broad strokes. Being able to tell parents that this embryo has a 60 percent chance of being in the top half [of their school class], this embryo has a 13 percent chance of being in the top 10 percentI think thats really possible, he said.

Scientists have been screening embryos using a process called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, for two and half decades, Greely said. This allows for the detection of some genetic diseases, as well as determining the sex of the embryo. Up until now, it has been expensive and arduous, but with new technologyincluding the expanded use of stem cellsit will become easy, he said. The people most likely to lead the way on easy PGD are those with fertility trouble, he argues, or those who cant have their own biological kids, including same-sex couples. For these people, the process seems to be a clear potential win: Once hopeless, they may soon be able to have biological children of their own.

But if the process does indeed advance in the way Greely predicts, it will come with big ethical challenges. Safety is a big issue, he said. Coercion is a big issue: Will you be forced to do this? No matter how easy PGD becomes, it will always be expensive, meaning that babies from rich families would gain even more advantages over other people before they leave the womb. The procedure also challenges the disability-rights movement, Greely pointed out: It implicitly suggests that some traits, and thus some people, are preferable to others.

Theres very little about our modern lives that a God from 3000 years ago would have expected.

Some critics may also claim this process is against Gods will, Greely added. I dont have a lot of confidence in the intellectual strength of that argument, but I think it has a lot of visceral support.

Despite Greelys skepticism, this seems to be the greatest potential objection to a world of skin-cell babies and intensive genetic screening: It assumes that the creation of life is a matter of pipettes and petri dishes, not something greater. While the widespread use of contraceptives has largely divorced sex from procreation, this process would represent the final severing. As Greely pointed out, the very meaning of sex would change. Most people have sex and it doesnt result in a baby, he said. They do it because they like it. They do it as a token of love. They do it because theyre forced to. They do it to make money. Pleasure, ultimately, will be a main driver of sex, he added.

For the many peoplereligious or notwho believe that life is not ultimately a matter of science, the world of easy PGD may seem disorienting, even morally disturbing. But Greely didnt think religious or moral arguments could persuade someone like him, or society more broadly, that easy PGD isnt a good idea.

If you, coming from a Catholic background, try to convince me, coming from a non-Catholic background ... that wouldnt work for me, he said. I need a more intellectual argument than one based on my faith or the tablets brought down from the mountain for me say this. Theres very little about our modern lives thats natural or what a God from 3000 years ago would have expected or wanted, including all of modern medicine.

As head-spinning as these theoretical ethical challenges are, perhaps easy PGD wont be as common as Greely thinks. After all, he joked, were never going to get rid of teenagers in the back seat of a car.

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