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'Fabricated' stem cell paper may have just been proven valid

By LizaAVILA

Just weeks after invalidating a groundbreaking paper describing a simple technique for generating pluripotent stem cells, professor Kenneth Ka Ho Lee now believes he has identified the correct approach.

Lee, chief of stem cell research at the Chinese University of Hong, spoke to Wired.co.uk in March about his tentative excitement when he read the Nature study in question, published at the start of the year. The proposed Stap cells (stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency) in it were a revelation, because they suggested there was a simple way to generate embryonic-like stem cells that could potentially be used in the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson's. The method involved reprogramming a donor's own adult blood and skin cells (in this case, mice) by exposing them to extreme trauma, such as an acid bath.

Lee could see its potential, but like the rest of the community he had his doubts. While reports circulated that the images published in the Nature study also featured in older papers penned by lead researcher Haruko Obokata of Japan's Riken Centre, Lee set about trying to replicate the experiment himself.

It didn't work.

Since then the Riken Centre has launched an investigation into the legitimacy of the trial, and that investigation today revealed Obokata had indeed falsified information, including results and images of DNA fragments used.

"Actions like this completely destroy data credibility," commented Shunsuke Ishii, head of the investigative committee and a Riken molecular geneticist, at a press conference. "There is no doubt that she was fully aware of this danger. We've therefore concluded this was an act of research misconduct involving fabrication." Obokata has denied the allegations, but Riken says its own research team will be the one to verify the results and carry out the experiment again.

In the interim however, a coauthor on the paper at the centre of the debacle,Charles Vacanti published yet another protocol for the Stap technique. Vacanti, of ear-on-a-mouse fame, is a professor at Harvard Medical School and published online what he said was found to be "an effective protocol for generating Stap cells in our lab, regardless of the cell type being studied". It was a combination of the two approaches mentioned in the Naturepaper -- the acid bath, and the trituration process (the application of pressure on the cells using pipettes to induce stress). He describes the latter process as being exerted with force, more so than in the original paper, and over a lengthy period -- twice a day for the first week.

Nature had already rejected Lee's version of experiments for publication last month. Undeterred, he set about applying Vacanti's technique. Liveblogging the experiments on ResearchGate, the open source platform where Lee had published his first set of experiments, the Hong Kong researcher immediately saw the excess stress was leading to rapid cell death among the lung fibroblast cells used.

"We estimated that there was a 50 percent decrease in cell number," Lee wrote four days ago on the blog. "In the original paper reported in Nature, such decrease in cell count was reported for day two, which is inline with our current experiment. Day three will be critical as this was the time Oct4-GFP expression [an indication that stem cells are generating] was reported for Stap cells. If we find that the cell number decreased even more drastically in our cultures, we will harvest some of the cultures and use them directly for qPCR analysis [quantitative polymerase chain reaction,a screening technique for stem cells]."

Nevertheless, things appeared to turn around. In his preliminary studies Lee has concluded that it could be the extreme stress through trituration, and not the acid bath, that was responsible for creating the Stap cells. "I am shocked and amazed by the qPCR results for the three-day-old control and Stap cultures," he wrote on ResearchGate, alongside a graph of the results. "Totally speechless!"

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The New Scientific Serum That Helps Skin Become Younger and Healthier on Sale at Sublime Beauty Now

By Sykes24Tracey

St. Petersburg, FL (PRWEB) April 01, 2014

Sublime Beauty has recently introduced its newest serum which makes a positive impact on aging skin within 30 days.

Cell Renewal | Fibroblast Serum is discounted 35% for 2 days only at the company webstore, SublimeBeautyShop with coupon code CELLRENEW35.

"A key ingredient is Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, rich in proteins and growth factors, that instruct the skin's fibroblasts to product collagen," says Kathy Heshelow, founder of Sublime Beauty. "The non-embryonic stem cells are powerful indeed - no fillers are used."

The company offers a free brochure about the ingredients on the product page. "We find that our customers want to know about ingredients in the product, what they do and what to expect." says Heshelow. "We offer lots of education on our products."

Sublime Beauty focuses on anti-aging and healthy-skin oriented products, from Skin Brushing and collagen boosters to organic products for the skin. It specializes in serums.

The company offers free standard shipping within the continental U.S and a Sublime Beauty VIP Club. Interested clients can sign up for secret deals and deep discounts as well.

The 35% off sale ends Wednesday at midnight.

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Primate Stem Cell Creation Appears Driven by Genes From Ancient Virus

By daniellenierenberg

Viruses were traditionally thought to be malicious nanoscopic bearers of death and destruction. But modern science has suggested that while that is sometimes the case, the relationship between viruses and living organisms is a complicated one, as is the question of whether viruses can be truly considered "living" organisms. I. Viruses Can Actually be Useful, Sometimes In case newly discovered mega-viruses -- which rival small bacteria in size, function, and genetic complexity (and are sometimes "infected" by other viruses) -- aren't mind-warping enough, recent evidence suggests that as much of 8 percent of the genetic material found in higher organisms such as humans may be "borrowed" from viral genomes. These pieces of DNA are identifiable, if you know what you're looking for, but long ago lost their ability to depart and jump to new hosts. In that regard, mankind can be viewed as similar in some ways to lichen -- as a collection of multiple fused "organisms" living as one -- as modern man's genetic code consists of virus and traditional eukaryotic genes functioning side by side. The latest wild discovery comes courtesy of Montreal, Quebec, Canada's McGill University.

Professor Bourque states in an interview with National Geographic:

[Acquiring useful genes from viruses] can be faster than just relying on random mutations to get something that might work.

[These genes should be examined] to see if they have also evolved new functional roles, like HERV-H did in stem cells. We suspect that these genes may play important roles in other cell types as well, such as liver, kidney, and brain.

Sources: NATURE STRUCTURAL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, National Geographic

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Stem Cells Shed Light on Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

By Dr. Matthew Watson

These neurons derived from stem cells made from the skin of people with bipolar disorder communicated with one another differently than neurons made from the skin of people without bipolar disorder.(Credit: University of Michigan)

Bipolar disorder is known to run in families, but scientists have yet to pinpoint the genes involved. Now they have a powerful new tool in the hunt: stem cells.

In a first-of-its-kind procedure, researchers from the University of Michigan have created stem cells from the skin of people with bipolar disorder, and then coaxed the cells into neurons. This has allowed scientists, for the first time, to directly measure cellular differences between people with bipolar disorder and people without.

In the future the cells could provide a greater understanding of what causes the disease, and allow for the development of personalized medications specific to each patients cells.

The team from Michigan took skin cell samples from 22 people with bipolar disorder and 10 people without the disorder. Under carefully controlled conditions, they coaxed adult skin cells into an embryonic stem cell-like state. These cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells, then had the potential to transform into any type of cell. With further coaxing, the cells became neurons.

This gives us a model that we can use to examine how cells behave as they develop into neurons. Already, we see that cells from people with bipolar disorder are different in how often they express certain genes, how they differentiate into neurons, how they communicate, and how they respond to lithium, study co-leader Sue OShea said in a news release.

Researchers published their findings Wednesday in the journalTranslational Psychiatry.

The research team discovered intriguing differences between stem cellsand neuronsfrom bipolar individuals and those from healthy people.

For one thing, bipolar stem cells expressed more genes associated with receiving calcium signals in the brain. Calcium signals play an important role in neuron development and function. Therefore, the new findings support the idea that genetic differences expressed early in life may contribute to the development of bipolar disorder later in life.

Once the stem cells turned into neurons, researchers tested how they reacted to lithium, a typical treatment for the disorder. The tests showed that lithium normalized the behavior of neurons from bipolar patients by altering their calcium signalingfurther confirmation that this cellular pathway should be of key interest in future studies of the disease.

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Stem Cell-Derived Beta Cells Under Skin Replace Insulin

By LizaAVILA

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Newswise Scientists at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have shown that by encapsulating immature pancreatic cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESC), and implanting them under the skin of diabetic mouse models, sufficient insulin is produced to maintain glucose levels without unwanted potential trade-offs of the technology.

The research, published online in Stem Cell Research, suggests that encapsulated hESC-derived insulin-producing cells may be an effective and safe cell replacement therapy for insulin dependent-diabetes.

Our study critically evaluates some of the potential pitfalls of using stem cells to treat insulin dependent-diabetes, said Pamela Itkin-Ansari, PhD, assistant project scientist in the UC San Diego Department of Pediatrics and adjunct assistant professor in Development, Aging and Regenerative program at Sanford-Burnham.

We have shown that encapsulated hESC-derived insulin-producing cells are able to produce insulin in response to elevated glucose without an increase in the mass or their escape from the capsule, said Itkin-Ansari. These results are important because it means that the encapsulated cells are both fully functional and retrievable.

Previous attempts to replace insulin producing cells, called beta cells, have met with significant challenges. For example, researchers have tried treating diabetics with mature beta cells, but because these cells are fragile and scarce, the method is fraught with problems. Moreover, since the cells come from organ donors, they may be recognized as foreign by the recipients immune system requiring patients to take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent their immune system from attacking the donors cells, ultimately leaving patients vulnerable to infections, tumors and other adverse events.

Encapsulation technology was developed to protect donor cells from exposure to the immune system and has proven extremely successful in preclinical studies.

Itkin-Ansari and her research team previously made an important contribution to the encapsulation approach by showing that pancreatic islet progenitor cells are an optimal cell type for encapsulation. They found that progenitor cells were more robust than mature beta cells to encapsulate, and while encapsulated, they matured into insulin-producing cells that secreted insulin only when needed.

In the study, Itkin-Ansari and her team used bioluminescent imaging to determine if encapsulated cells stay in the capsule after implantation.

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Scientists use stem cells to study bipolar disorder

By raymumme

TUESDAY, March 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Brain cells of patients with bipolar disorder act differently than those of people without the mental illness, according to scientists who conducted a stem cell study of the condition.

The investigators said their research might one day lead to a better understanding of bipolar disorder and new treatments for the disease, which causes extreme emotional highs and lows. About 200 million people worldwide have bipolar disorder.

"We're very excited about these findings. But we're only just beginning to understand what we can do with these cells to help answer the many unanswered questions in bipolar disorder's origins and treatment," said study co-leader Dr. Melvin McInnis, a professor of bipolar disorder and depression at the University of Michigan Medical School.

The study authors took skin stem cells from people with and without bipolar disorder and transformed them into neurons similar to brain cells. It's the first time that stem cell lines specific to bipolar disorder have been created, the researchers said.

They discovered distinct differences in how the two sets of neurons behave and communicate with each other. The cells also differed in their response to lithium, the most widely used treatment for bipolar disorder.

The study was published online March 25 in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

"This gives us a model that we can use to examine how cells behave as they develop into neurons," study co-leader Sue O'Shea, a professor in the department of cell and developmental biology and director of the University of Michigan Pluripotent Stem Cell Research Lab, said in a university news release.

"Already, we see that cells from people with bipolar disorder are different in how often they express certain genes, how they differentiate into neurons, how they communicate, and how they respond to lithium," O'Shea said.

McInnis said it's possible the research could lead to new types of drug trials. If it becomes possible to test new drug candidates in these cells, patients would be spared the current trial-and-error approach that leaves many with uncontrolled symptoms, he said.

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Stem Cells Shed Light on Bipolar Disorder

By JoanneRUSSELL25

Researchers have grown embryonic-like stem cells from patients with bipolar disorder and transformed them into brain cells that are already answering questions about the condition.

The cells, which carry the precisely tailored genetic instructions from the patients own cells, behave differently than cells taken from people without the disorder, the researchers report.

Already, we see that cells from people with bipolar disorder are different in how often they express certain genes, how they differentiate into neurons, how they communicate, and how they respond to lithium," Sue O'Shea, a stem cell specialist at the University of Michigan who led the study, said in a statement.

The work, described in the journal Translational Psychiatry, helps fulfill one of the big promises of stem cells research using a patients own cells to study his or her disease.

Mental illness is especially hard to study. Getting into a living persons brain is almost impossible, and scientists cant deliberately cause it in people in order to study it.

Creating animals such as mice with what looks like human mental illness is imprecise at best.

The University of Michigan team turned instead to what are called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells. These are ordinary skin cells taken from a patient and tricked into turning back into the state of a just-conceived embryo.

These cells, grown from skin cells taken from people with bipolar disorder, arose from stem cells and were coaxed to become neural progenitor cells -- the kind that can become any sort of nervous system cell. The research showed differences in cell behavior compared with cells grown from people without bipolar disorder.

They are pluripotent, meaning they can become any type of cell there is. In this case, the Michigan team redirected the cells to become neurons the cells that make up much of the brain. "This gives us a model that we can use to examine how cells behave as they develop into neurons, OShea said.

Bipolar disorder, once called manic-depression, is very common, affecting an estimated 3 percent of the population globally. It runs in families, suggesting a strong genetic cause, and is marked by mood swings from depression to feelings of euphoria and creativity thats considered the manic phase.

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Stem Cells Shed Light On Bipolar Disease

By daniellenierenberg

Researchers have grown embryonic-like stem cells from patients with bipolar disorder and transformed them into brain cells that are already answering questions about the condition.

The cells, which carry the precisely tailored genetic instructions from the patients own cells, behave differently than cells taken from people without the disorder, the researchers report.

Already, we see that cells from people with bipolar disorder are different in how often they express certain genes, how they differentiate into neurons, how they communicate, and how they respond to lithium," Sue O'Shea, a stem cell specialist at the University of Michigan who led the study, said in a statement.

The work, described in the journal Translational Psychiatry, helps fulfill one of the big promises of stem cells research using a patients own cells to study his or her disease.

Mental illness is especially hard to study. Getting into a living persons brain is almost impossible, and scientists cant deliberately cause it in people in order to study it.

Creating animals such as mice with what looks like human mental illness is imprecise at best.

The University of Michigan team turned instead to what are called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells. These are ordinary skin cells taken from a patient and tricked into turning back into the state of a just-conceived embryo.

These cells, grown from skin cells taken from people with bipolar disorder, arose from stem cells and were coaxed to become neural progenitor cells -- the kind that can become any sort of nervous system cell. The research showed differences in cell behavior compared with cells grown from people without bipolar disorder.

They are pluripotent, meaning they can become any type of cell there is. In this case, the Michigan team redirected the cells to become neurons the cells that make up much of the brain. "This gives us a model that we can use to examine how cells behave as they develop into neurons, OShea said.

Bipolar disorder, once called manic-depression, is very common, affecting an estimated 3 percent of the population globally. It runs in families, suggesting a strong genetic cause, and is marked by mood swings from depression to feelings of euphoria and creativity thats considered the manic phase.

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Bipolar Disorder Stem Cell Study Opens Doors To Potential New Treatments

By raymumme

Image Caption: These colorful neurons, seen forming connections to one another across synapses, were grown from induced pluripotent stem cells -- ones that were derived from skin cells taken from people with bipolar disorder. New research shows they act, and react to the bipolar drug lithium, differently from neurons derived from people without bipolar disorder. Credit: University of Michigan Pluripotent Stem Cell Research Lab

[ Watch the Video: First Stem Cell Study of Bipolar Disorder Yields Promising Results ]

April Flowers for redOrbit.com Your Universe Online

Bipolar disorder affects 200 million people globally, and yet there are so many questions surrounding the condition. Why are individuals with bipolar disorder prone to manic highs and deep, depressed lows? If there is no single gene to blame, why does bipolar disorder run so strongly in families? And why, with the enormous number of people suffering from bipolar disorder, is it so hard to find new treatments?

A new study from the University of Michigan Medical School, funded by the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund, reveals that the answers might actually be found within our stem cells.

To derive the first-ever stem cell lines specific to bipolar disorder, the research team used skin from individuals who suffer from the condition. They transformed these cells into neurons, similar to those found in the brain, then compared them to cells derived from people without the disorder.

Very specific differences in how these neurons behave and communicate with each other were revealed by the comparison, which also identified striking differences in how the neurons respond to lithium, the most common treatment for bipolar disorder.

This study represents the first time researchers have directly measured differences in brain cell formation and function between individuals with and without bipolar disorder.

The type of stem cells used for this study are called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The team coaxed the sample cells to turn into stem cells that held the potential to become any type of cell by exposing the small samples of skin cells to carefully controlled conditions. Further coaxing turned the iPSCs into neurons.

This gives us a model that we can use to examine how cells behave as they develop into neurons. Already, we see that cells from people with bipolar disorder are different in how often they express certain genes, how they differentiate into neurons, how they communicate, and how they respond to lithium, says Sue OShea, Ph.D., an experienced U-M stem cell specialist.

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Replacing insulin through stem cell-derived pancreatic cells under the skin

By NEVAGiles23

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

24-Mar-2014

Contact: Susan Gammon Ph.D. sgammon@sanfordburnham.org 858-795-5012 Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

LA JOLLA, Calif., March 25, 2014 Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) and UC San Diego School of Medicine scientists have shown that by encapsulating immature pancreatic cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESC), and implanting them under the skin in animal models of diabetes, sufficient insulin is produced to maintain glucose levels without unwanted potential trade-offs of the technology. The research suggests that encapsulated hESC-derived insulin-producing cells hold great promise as an effective and safe cell-replacement therapy for insulin-dependent diabetes.

"Our study critically evaluates some of the potential pitfalls of using stem cells to treat insulin-dependent diabetes," said Pamela Itkin-Ansari, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor in the Development, Aging, and Regenerative Program at Sanford-Burnham, with a joint appointment at UC San Diego.

"We have shown that encapsulated hESC-derived pancreatic cells are able to produce insulin in response to elevated glucose without an increase in the mass or their escape from the capsule. These results are important because it means that the encapsulated cells are both fully functional and retrievable," said Itkin-Ansari.

In the study, published online in Stem Cell Research, Itkin-Ansari and her team used bioluminescent imaging to see if encapsulated cells stay in the capsule after implantation.

Previous attempts to replace insulin-producing cells, called beta cells, have met with significant challenges. For example, researchers have tried treating diabetics with mature beta cells, but because mature cells are fragile and scarce, the method is fraught with problems. Moreover, since the cells come from organ donors, they may be recognized as foreign by the recipient's immune systemrequiring patients to take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent their immune system from attacking the donor's cells, ultimately leaving patients vulnerable to infections, tumors, and other adverse events.

Encapsulation technology was developed to protect donor cells from exposure to the immune systemand has proven extremely successful in preclinical studies.

Itkin-Ansari and her research team previously made an important contribution to the encapsulation approach by showing that pancreatic islet progenitor cells are an optimal cell type for encapsulation. They found that progenitor cells were more robust than mature beta cells to encapsulate, and while encapsulated, they matured into insulin-producing cells, which secreted insulin only when needed.

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Finger-prick technique opens door for DIY stem cell donors

By Dr. Matthew Watson

Harvesting samples for producing stem cells can be rather painful. Techniques can involve collecting large amounts of blood, bone marrow or skin scrapes. The reality is intrusive measures such as these can be very off-putting. But what if it was as simple as a finger-prick? Such a DIY approach, which is so easy it can be done at home or in the field without medical staff, has been developed by researchers at Singapore's A*STAR Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB).

Unlike previous techniques that require comparatively large cell samples, the ICMB team has managed to successfully reprogram mature human cells into hiPSCs with high efficiency using less than a single drop of blood. Pluripotent stem cells are important in many forms of medical research and treatment as they have the potential to become any other cell type in the body.

"It all began when we wondered if we could reduce the volume of blood used for reprogramming," says Dr Loh Yuin Han Jonathan, Principal Investigator at IMCB. "We then tested if donors could collect their own blood sample in a normal room environment and store it. Our finger-prick technique, in fact, utilized less than a drop of finger-pricked blood."

It is hoped that this much less invasive method of sample collection will help attract more donors to increase the samples available to researchers. Blood samples have been found to remain viable for 48 hours after collection and in culture this can be extended to 12 days, opening up remote areas for potential cell harvesting. This could benefit research and treatment with the recruitment of donors with varied ethnicities, genotypes and diseases now possible. It is hoped the technique will also lead to the establishment of large-scale hiPSC banks.

"We were able to differentiate the hiPSCs reprogrammed from Jonathans finger-prick technique, into functional heart cells," says Dr Stuart Alexander Cook, Senior Consultant at the National Heart Centre Singapore and co-author of the paper. "This is a well-designed, applicable technique that can unlock unrealized potential of biobanks around the world for hiPSC studies at a scale that was previously not possible."

The team has filed a patent for their innovation and their paper has been published online at Stem Cell Translational Medicine.

Source: A*STAR

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Stem cell findings may offer answers for some bladder defects, disease

By NEVAGiles23

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in coaxing laboratory cultures of human stem cells to develop into the specialized, unique cells needed to repair a patient's defective or diseased bladder.

The breakthrough, developed at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures and published today in the scientific journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, is significant because it provides a pathway to regenerate replacement bladder tissue for patients whose bladders are too small or do not function properly, such as children with spina bifida and adults with spinal cord injuries or bladder cancer.

"Our goal is to use human stem cells to regenerate tissue in the lab that can be transplanted into patients to augment or replace their malfunctioning bladders," said Eric Kurzrock, professor and chief of the division of pediatric urologic surgery at UC Davis Children's Hospital and lead scientist of the study, which is titled "Induction of Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells into Urothelium."

To develop the bladder cells, Kurzrock and his UC Davis colleagues investigated two categories of human stem cells. In their key experiments, they used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), which were derived from lab cultures of human skin cells and umbilical blood cells that had been genetically reprogrammed to convert to an embryonic stem cell-like state.

If additional research demonstrates that grafts of bladder tissue grown from human stem cells will be safe and effective for patient care, Kurzrock said that the source of the grafts would be iPS cells derived from a patient's own skin or umbilical cord blood cells. This type of tissue would be optimal, he said, because it lowers the risk of immunological rejection that typifies most transplants.

In their investigation, Kurzrock and his colleagues developed a protocol to prod the pluripotent cells into becoming bladder cells. Their procedure was efficient and, most importantly, the cells proliferated over a long period of time -- a critical element in any tissue engineering application.

"What's exciting about this discovery is that it also opens up an array of opportunities using pluripotent cells," said Jan Nolta, professor and director of the UC Davis Stem Cell program and a co-author on the new study. "When we can reliably direct and differentiate pluripotent stem cells, we have more options to develop new and effective regenerative medicine therapies. The protocols we used to create bladder tissue also provide insight into other types of tissue regeneration."

UC Davis researchers first used human embryonic stem cells obtained from the National Institutes of Health's repository of human stem cells. Embryonic stem cells can become any cell type in the body (i.e., they are pluripotent), and the team successfully coaxed these embryonic stem cells into bladder cells. They then used the same protocol to coax iPS cells made from skin and umbilical cord blood into bladder cells, called urothelium, that line the inside of the bladder. The cells expressed a very unique protein and marker of bladder cells called uroplakin, which makes the bladder impermeable to toxins in the urine.

The UC Davis researchers adjusted the culture system in which the stem cells were developing to encourage the cells to proliferate, differentiate and express the bladder protein without depending upon signals from other human cells, said Kurzrock. In future research, Kurzrock and his colleagues plan to modify the laboratory cultures so that they will not need animal and human products, which will allow use of the cells in patients.

Kurzrock's primary focus as a physician is with children suffering from spina bifida and other pediatric congenital disorders. Currently, when he surgically reconstructs a child's defective bladder, he must use a segment of their own intestine. Because the function of intestine, which absorbs food, is almost the opposite of bladder, bladder reconstruction with intestinal tissue may lead to serious complications, including urinary stone formation, electrolyte abnormalities and cancer. Developing a stem cell alternative not only will be less invasive, but should prove to be more effective, too, he said.

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Stem cell findings may offer answers for some bladder defects and disease

By JoanneRUSSELL25

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

21-Mar-2014

Contact: Charles Casey charles.casey@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu 916-734-9048 University of California - Davis Health System

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) For the first time, scientists have succeeded in coaxing laboratory cultures of human stem cells to develop into the specialized, unique cells needed to repair a patient's defective or diseased bladder.

The breakthrough, developed at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures and published today in the scientific journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, is significant because it provides a pathway to regenerate replacement bladder tissue for patients whose bladders are too small or do not function properly, such as children with spina bifida and adults with spinal cord injuries or bladder cancer.

"Our goal is to use human stem cells to regenerate tissue in the lab that can be transplanted into patients to augment or replace their malfunctioning bladders," said Eric Kurzrock, professor and chief of the division of pediatric urologic surgery at UC Davis Children's Hospital and lead scientist of the study, which is titled "Induction of Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells into Urothelium."

To develop the bladder cells, Kurzrock and his UC Davis colleagues investigated two categories of human stem cells. In their key experiments, they used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), which were derived from lab cultures of human skin cells and umbilical blood cells that had been genetically reprogrammed to convert to an embryonic stem cell-like state.

If additional research demonstrates that grafts of bladder tissue grown from human stem cells will be safe and effective for patient care, Kurzrock said that the source of the grafts would be iPS cells derived from a patient's own skin or umbilical cord blood cells. This type of tissue would be optimal, he said, because it lowers the risk of immunological rejection that typifies most transplants.

In their investigation, Kurzrock and his colleagues developed a protocol to prod the pluripotent cells into becoming bladder cells. Their procedure was efficient and, most importantly, the cells proliferated over a long period of time a critical element in any tissue engineering application.

"What's exciting about this discovery is that it also opens up an array of opportunities using pluripotent cells," said Jan Nolta, professor and director of the UC Davis Stem Cell program and a co-author on the new study. "When we can reliably direct and differentiate pluripotent stem cells, we have more options to develop new and effective regenerative medicine therapies. The protocols we used to create bladder tissue also provide insight into other types of tissue regeneration."

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Now, stem cells created from a drop of blood

By raymumme

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Washington, March 21 : Researchers have developed a method to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from a single drop of finger-pricked blood.

The method also enables donors to collect their own blood samples, which they can then send to a laboratory for further processing.

The easy access to blood samples using the new technique could potentially boost the recruitment of greater numbers and diversities of donors, and could lead to the establishment of large-scale hiPSC banks.

By genetic reprogramming, matured human cells, usually blood cells, can be transformed into hiPSCs.

Current sample collection for reprogramming into hiPSCs include invasive measures such as collecting cells from the bone marrow or skin, which may put off many potential donors.

Although hiPSCs may also be generated from blood cells, large quantities of blood are usually required. Scientists at Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) showed for the first time that single-drop volumes of blood are sufficient for reprogramming into hiPSCs.

The finger-prick technique is the world's first to use only a drop of finger-pricked blood to yield hiPSCs with high efficiency.

The accessibility of the new technique is further enhanced with a DIY sample collection approach. Donors may collect their own finger-pricked blood, which they can then store and send it to a laboratory for reprogramming. The blood sample remains stable for 48 hours and can be expanded for 12 days in culture, which therefore extends the finger-prick technique to a wide range of geographical regions for recruitment of donors with varied ethnicities, genotypes and diseases.

The paper has been published online in the Stem Cell Translational Medicine journal.

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UC Davis Stem-Cell Researchers Findings May Offer Answers for Some Bladder Defects and Disease

By LizaAVILA

Sacramento, CA (PRWEB) March 21, 2014

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in coaxing laboratory cultures of human stem cells to develop into the specialized, unique cells needed to repair a patients defective or diseased bladder.

The breakthrough, developed at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures and published today in the scientific journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, is significant because it provides a pathway to regenerate replacement bladder tissue for patients whose bladders are too small or do not function properly, such as children with spina bifida and adults with spinal cord injuries or bladder cancer.

Our goal is to use human stem cells to regenerate tissue in the lab that can be transplanted into patients to augment or replace their malfunctioning bladders, said Eric Kurzrock, professor and chief of the division of pediatric urologic surgery at UC Davis Children's Hospital and lead scientist of the study, which is titled Induction of Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells into Urothelium.

To develop the bladder cells, Kurzrock and his UC Davis colleagues investigated two categories of human stem cells. In their key experiments, they used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), which were derived from lab cultures of human skin cells and umbilical blood cells that had been genetically reprogrammed to convert to an embryonic stem cell-like state.

If additional research demonstrates that grafts of bladder tissue grown from human stem cells will be safe and effective for patient care, Kurzrock said that the source of the grafts would be iPS cells derived from a patients own skin or umbilical cord blood cells. This type of tissue would be optimal, he said, because it lowers the risk of immunological rejection that typifies most transplants.

In their investigation, Kurzrock and his colleagues developed a protocol to prod the pluripotent cells into becoming bladder cells. Their procedure was efficient and, most importantly, the cells proliferated over a long period of time a critical element in any tissue engineering application.

Whats exciting about this discovery is that it also opens up an array of opportunities using pluripotent cells, said Jan Nolta, professor and director of the UC Davis Stem Cell program and a co-author on the new study. When we can reliably direct and differentiate pluripotent stem cells, we have more options to develop new and effective regenerative medicine therapies. The protocols we used to create bladder tissue also provide insight into other types of tissue regeneration.

UC Davis researchers first used human embryonic stem cells obtained from the National Institutes of Healths repository of human stem cells. Embryonic stem cells can become any cell type in the body (i.e., they are pluripotent), and the team successfully coaxed these embryonic stem cells into bladder cells. They then used the same protocol to coax iPS cells made from skin and umbilical cord blood into bladder cells, called urothelium, that line the inside of the bladder. The cells expressed a very unique protein and marker of bladder cells called uroplakin, which makes the bladder impermeable to toxins in the urine.

The UC Davis researchers adjusted the culture system in which the stem cells were developing to encourage the cells to proliferate, differentiate and express the bladder protein without depending upon signals from other human cells, said Kurzrock. In future research, Kurzrock and his colleagues plan to modify the laboratory cultures so that they will not need animal and human products, which will allow use of the cells in patients.

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UC Davis Stem-Cell Researchers Findings May Offer Answers for Some Bladder Defects and Disease

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Stem cells created from a drop of blood: DIY finger-prick technique opens door for extensive stem cell banking

By daniellenierenberg

Scientists at A*STAR's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) have developed a method to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from a single drop of finger-pricked blood. The method also enables donors to collect their own blood samples, which they can then send to a laboratory for further processing. The easy access to blood samples using the new technique could potentially boost the recruitment of greater numbers and diversities of donors, and could lead to the establishment of large-scale hiPSC banks.

By genetic reprogramming, matured human cells, usually blood cells, can be transformed into hiPSCs. As hiPSCs exhibit properties remarkably similar to human embryonic stem cells, they are invaluable resources for basic research, drug discovery and cell therapy. In countries like Japan, USA and UK, a number of hiPSC bank initiatives have sprung up to make hiPSCs available for stem cell research and medical studies.

Current sample collection for reprogramming into hiPSCs include invasive measures such as collecting cells from the bone marrow or skin, which may put off many potential donors. Although hiPSCs may also be generated from blood cells, large quantities of blood are usually required. In the paper published online on the Stem Cell Translational Medicine journal, scientists at IMCB showed for the first time that single-drop volumes of blood are sufficient for reprogramming into hiPSCs. The finger-prick technique is the world's first to use only a drop of finger-pricked blood to yield hiPSCs with high efficiency. A patent has been filed for the innovation.

The accessibility of the new technique is further enhanced with a DIY sample collection approach. Donors may collect their own finger-pricked blood, which they can then store and send it to a laboratory for reprogramming. The blood sample remains stable for 48 hours and can be expanded for 12 days in culture, which therefore extends the finger-prick technique to a wide range of geographical regions for recruitment of donors with varied ethnicities, genotypes and diseases.

By integrating it with the hiPSC bank initiatives, the finger-prick technique paves the way for establishing diverse and fully characterised hiPSC banking for stem cell research. The potential access to a wide range of hiPSCs could also replace the use of embryonic stem cells, which are less accessible. It could also facilitate the set-up of a small hiPSC bank in Singapore to study targeted local diseases.

Dr Loh Yuin Han Jonathan, Principal Investigator at IMCB and lead scientist for the finger-prick hiPSC technique, said, "It all began when we wondered if we could reduce the volume of blood used for reprogramming. We then tested if donors could collect their own blood sample in a normal room environment and store it. Our finger-prick technique, in fact, utilised less than a drop of finger-pricked blood. The remaining blood could even be used for DNA sequencing and other blood tests."

Dr Stuart Alexander Cook, Senior Consultant at the National Heart Centre Singapore and co-author of the paper, said "We were able to differentiate the hiPSCs reprogrammed from Jonathan's finger-prick technique, into functional heart cells. This is a well-designed, applicable technique that can unlock unrealized potential of biobanks around the world for hiPSC studies at a scale that was previously not possible."

Prof Hong Wanjin, Executive Director at IMCB, said "Research on hiPSCs is now highly sought-after, given its potential to be used as a model for studying human diseases and for regenerative medicine. Translational research and technology innovations are constantly encouraged at IMCB and this new technique is very timely. We hope to eventually help the scientific community gain greater accessibility to hiPSCs for stem cell research through this innovation."

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by A*STAR. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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A*STAR scientists create stem cells from drop of blood

By LizaAVILA

SINGAPORE: Scientists at A*STAR's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) have developed a method to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from a single drop of finger-pricked blood.

The new technique could potentially boost the number and diversity of donors, and facilitate the setting up of large-scale hiPSC banks, said the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in a news release on Thursday.

Current sample collection for reprogramming into human induced pluripotent stem cells include invasive methods, such as collecting cells from the bone marrow or skin, which may put off potential donors.

Although the stem cells may also be generated from blood cells, a large amount of blood is usually required.

But scientists at IMCB showed for the first time that single-drop volumes of blood are sufficient for reprogramming into human induced pluripotent stem cells.

As those cells show properties remarkably similar to human embryonic stem cells, they are invaluable for basic research, drug discovery and cell therapy.

The finger-prick technique is the world's first to use only a drop of finger-pricked blood to yield hiPSCs with high efficiency.

The work is published online in the Stem Cell Translational Medicine journal.

Lead scientist for the finger-prick hiPSC technique Dr Jonathan Loh Yuin Han said, "Our finger-prick technique, in fact, utilised less than a drop of finger-pricked blood. The remaining blood could even be used for DNA sequencing and other blood tests."

Senior consultant at the National Heart Centre Singapore and co-author of the paper, Dr Stuart Alexander Cook, said, "We were able to differentiate the hiPSCs reprogrammed from Jonathan's finger-prick technique, into functional heart cells."

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:: 20, Mar 2014 :: A*STAR SCIENTISTS CREATE STEM CELLS FROM A DROP OF BLOOD

By Sykes24Tracey

The DIY finger-prick technique opens door for extensive stem cell banking

1. Scientists at A*STARs Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) have developed a method to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from a single drop of finger-pricked blood. The method also enables donors to collect their own blood samples, which they can then send to a laboratory for further processing. The easy access to blood samples using the new technique could potentially boost the recruitment of greater numbers and diversities of donors, and could lead to the establishment of large-scale hiPSC banks.

3. Current sample collection for reprogramming into hiPSCs include invasive measures such as collecting cells from the bone marrow or skin, which may put off many potential donors. Although hiPSCs may also be generated from blood cells, large quantities of blood are usually required. In the paper published online on the Stem Cell Translational Medicine journal, scientists at IMCB showed for the first time that single-drop volumes of blood are sufficient for reprogramming into hiPSCs. The finger-prick technique is the worlds first to use only a drop of finger-pricked blood to yield hiPSCs with high efficiency. A patent has been filed for the innovation.

4. The accessibility of the new technique is further enhanced with a DIY sample collection approach. Donors may collect their own finger-pricked blood, which they can then store and send it to a laboratory for reprogramming. The blood sample remains stable for 48 hours and can be expanded for 12 days in culture, which therefore extends the finger-prick technique to a wide range of geographical regions for recruitment of donors with varied ethnicities, genotypes and diseases.

5. By integrating it with the hiPSC bank initiatives, the finger-prick technique paves the way for establishing diverse and fully characterised hiPSC banking for stem cell research. The potential access to a wide range of hiPSCs could also replace the use of embryonic stem cells, which are less accessible. It could also facilitate the set-up of a small hiPSC bank in Singapore to study targeted local diseases.

6. Dr Loh Yuin Han Jonathan, Principal Investigator at IMCB and lead scientist for the finger-prick hiPSC technique, said, It all began when we wondered if we could reduce the volume of blood used for reprogramming. We then tested ifdonors could collect their own blood sample in a normal room environment and store it. Our finger-prick technique, in fact, utilised less than a drop of finger-pricked blood. The remaining blood could even be used for DNA sequencing and other blood tests.

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:: 20, Mar 2014 :: A*STAR SCIENTISTS CREATE STEM CELLS FROM A DROP OF BLOOD

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FDA's Regulation of Regenerative Medicine including Stem Cell Treatments, Tissue Engineering, Etc.

By NEVAGiles23

Course Description: Regenerative medicine focuses on harnessing the power of ones own stem cells and regenerative capabilities to restore function to damaged cells, tissues and organs. In April 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) implemented regulations governing the use of human cells, tissues, and cellular and tissue-based products (HCT/Ps) in humans including bone, ligament, skin, dura mater, stem cells, cartilage cells, and various other cellular and tissue-based products. Currently, there is an ongoing debate in the industry on how such therapies should be regulated by FDA or under the practice of medicine, under federal law or state law, and as drugs or simply biologics.

This 2-day interactive seminar on FDA regulations of regenerative medicine will cover:

-How FDA is currently regulating regenerative therapies and products intended for both human and veterinary use. -The distinction being made between human regenerative products and their regulation as drugs, biologics, devices, and combination products. -The New Drug Application (NDA) and the Biologic License Application (BLA) review and approval processes including a discussion of available options, application components, relevant meetings, timing, costs and approval requirements. -The option for obtaining designation and approval as Orphan Drug Product. -Designing and conducting appropriate clinical trials to support the approval of regenerative therapies. -FDAs regulation of some regenerative medicine products and accessories as Medical Devices. -The Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) and Good Laboratory Practices (GLPs) being applied by FDA to human regenerative products. -The labeling and marketing of regenerative products and therapies. -The potential for enforcement action and recommendations for mitigating that risk. -The current regulation of veterinary cellular treatments including autologous, allogeneic and xenogeneic cellular products in the United States.

Learning Objectives: Participants who attend this course on FDA regulation of regenerative medicines will leave with a comprehensive understanding of:

-How FDA regulates regenerative treatments and therapies? -The HCT/P Criteria and Minimal Manipulation Standard. -The Drug and Biological Approval Process. -Regenerative Products as Medical Devices. -How to Design Appropriate Clinical Trials? -Applicable cGMPs and cGLPs. -Marketing Exclusivity and Patent Restoration. -Product Labeling, Marketing and Advertising. -FDA and other Federal Agency Enforcement Action. -The Regulation of Veterinary Regenerative Medicine. -The New Animal Drug Application (NADA) Process. -Veterinary User Fees and Waivers.

Who will benefit: This course is designed for professionals in stem cell, biotech, pharmaceutical and animal drug companies, veterinary hospitals and clinics. The following personnel will find this session valuable:

-Senior quality managers -Quality professionals -Regulatory professionals -Compliance professionals -Production supervisors -Manufacturing engineers -Production engineers -Design engineers -Labelers and Private Labelers -Contract Manufacturers -Importers and Custom Agents -U.S. Agents of Foreign Corporations -Process owners -Quality engineers -Quality auditors -Document control specialists -Record retention specialists -Medical affairs -Legal Professionals -Financial Advisors and Institutional Investors -Consultants, Inspectors and cGMP Experts

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Stem cells inside sutures could improve healing in Achilles tendon injuries

By daniellenierenberg

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

12-Mar-2014

Contact: Camille Gamboa camille.gamboa@sagepub.com 805-410-7441 SAGE Publications

Los Angeles, CA (March 12, 2014) Researchers have found that sutures embedded with stem cells led to quicker and stronger healing of Achilles tendon tears than traditional sutures, according to a new study published in the March 2014 issue of Foot & Ankle International (published by SAGE).

Achilles tendon injuries are common for professional, collegiate and recreational athletes. These injuries are often treated surgically to reattach or repair the tendon if it has been torn. Patients have to keep their legs immobilized for a while after surgery before beginning their rehabilitation. Athletes may return to their activities sooner, but risk rerupturing the tendon if it has not healed completely.

Drs. Lew Schon, Samuel Adams, and Elizabeth Allen and Researchers Margaret Thorpe, Brent Parks, and Gary Aghazarian from MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, conducted the study. They compared traditional surgery, surgery with stem cells injected in the injury area, and surgery with special sutures embedded with stem cells in rats. The results showed that the group receiving the stem cell sutures healed better.

"The exciting news from this early work is that the stem cells stayed in the tendon, promoting healing right away, during a time when patients are not able to begin aggressive rehabilitation. When people can't fully use their leg, the risk is that atrophy sets in and adhesions can develop which can impact how strong and functional the muscle and tendon are after it is reattached," said Dr. Schon. "Not only did the stem cells encourage better healing at the cellular level, the tendon strength itself was also stronger four weeks following surgery than in the other groups in our study," he added.

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For further information on how to take care of your feet and ankles, or to find a local orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon, visit the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society patient website at http://www.footcaremd.org.

"Stem Cell-Bearing Suture Improves Achilles Tendon Healing in a Rat Model" by Samuel B. Adams, Jr, MD; Margaret A. Thorpe, BS; Brent G. Parks, MSc; Gary Aghazarian, BS; Elizabeth Allen, MD; and Lew C. Schon, MD in the March 2014 Foot & Ankle International.

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