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Twins’ Bartolo Coln: ‘The older I get, the more I want to play.’ – Winona Daily News

By JoanneRUSSELL25

DETROIT Near the open doorway in the Comerica Park visitors clubhouse is a sign warning the curious to stay out of the kitchen. No media, it reads, making its point in all caps. So, its with some irony that a few feet away, Bartolo Coln agrees to a brief one-on-one with a reporter, his first since joining the Minnesota Twins.

Coln has fulfilled his media requirements when he starts, speaking with reporters through Twins interpreter Carlos Font about his performances, but thats where he prefers to leave it. Hes easy to find in the clubhouse, and will say hello and shake your hand, but he also makes it clear that its not going any further which would be fine if he hadnt become an essential part of the Twins playoff chase.

When the Twins signed Coln to a minor league deal on July 7, the primary response was laughter. This is the help the American League Centrals surprise team is getting for the stretch run, a 44-year-old with a 2-8 record and 8.14 earned-run average who had just been given his outright release by the Atlanta Braves?

Well, no ones laughing now.

I think it probably raised a few eyebrows when we brought him in, but hes been valuable, manager Paul Molitor said.

What appears to be happening is another in a string of career resurrections for the right-hander who broke in with the Cleveland Indians in 1997, won a Cy Young Award in 2005 and signed his first free-agent minor league deal with Boston in 2008. Hes no longer throwing hard, but his control remains as sharp as his competitive nature.

The older I get, the more I want to play, he said.

Over his past three starts, Coln is 2-0 with a 2.82 ERA with three walks and 11 strikeouts in 22.1 innings pitched. In his last start, he became the oldest AL pitcher to throw a complete game since Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan did it for Texas in 1992. On Tuesday, hell make the most important start of the season so far in the opener of a three-game series against the first-place Cleveland Indians at Target Field.

That explains the persistence that has kept alive a career that has seemed dead more than once. It was a whopping nine years ago that Coln first signed a minor league deal with a spring training invite, a cheap gambit by the Boston Red Sox. In four seasons from 2006-09, he went 14-21 with a 5.18 ERA with three clubs while batting elbow and shoulder problems. He missed all of 2010.

I thought I was going to be done, he said.

Coln credits 2010 stem-cell treatment fat and bone marrow was re-injected into his elbow and shoulder for saving his arm. Major League Baseball studied the treatment to see if it fell under its performance-enhancing drug policy, but it has since become a popular, if not quite trumpeted, treatment for pitchers hoping to avoid reconstructive surgery.

It has helped me to keep my arm young and keep me going, Coln said.

Coln, however, did fall afoul of MLB when he tested positive for testosterone in August 2012. He was 39, and many suspected had finally hit the end of the road. Yet, he returned the next season with Oakland and went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA and an AL-best three shutouts.

Last season, he went 15-8 with a 3.34 ERA with the Mets, parlaying the season into a one-year, $12.5 million deal with Atlanta. The Braves are still on the hook for most of that contract, meaning the Twins are getting Coln at a bargain, prorated league minimum roughly $220,000.

He chose the Twins over the Mets after receiving a call from friend and former teammate in Anaheim, Ervin Santana.

The Mets and the Twins were the teams requesting my services, and I was weighing my options, Coln said. Ervin Santana called me and asked me to come and told me how good the organization was, how good the team was. After I started looking at it, and seeing how young their pitching was and how many young kids we had on the team, and I thought its not only an opportunity for me to pitch, but an opportunity to teach other young players how to pitch and how to be big-leaguers.

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Does recovery occur after spinal cord injury? | Answers …

By NEVAGiles23

Many doctors tell patients and families that recovery does not occur after spinal cord injury. This is not true. Recovery is the rule, not the exception after spinal cord injury.

Segmental recovery. Most patients recover 1-2 segments below the injury site, even after so-called complete spinal cord injuries. For example, a person with a C4/5 injury may have deltoid function on admission and then recover biceps (C5), wrist extensors (C6), and perhaps even triceps (C7) after several months, and the associated dermatomes.

Recovery due to methylprednisolone. The second National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study (NASCIS 2) showed that patients with complete spinal cord injuries and who did not receive the high-dose steroid methylprednisolone recovered on average 8% of motor function they had lost. If they received methylprednisolone within 8 hours after injury, they recovered on average 21% of what they had lost. In contrast, people with incomplete spinal cord injury recovered on average 59% of motor function and 75% if treated with high dose methylprednisolone.

Recovery of postural reflexes. Most people with cervical or upper thoracic spinal cord injury are initially unable to control their trunk muscles. However, most will recover better trunk control over months or even years after injury.

Walking quads and paras. Most people with incomplete spinal cord injuries, i.e. ASIA C, will recover standing or walking. Walking recovery after complete spinal cord injuries, i.e. ASIA A, are rare but can occur in 5% of the cases. In the 1980s, less than 40% of spinal cord injuries admitted to hospital were incomplete. However, in the 1990s, over 60% of spinal cord injuries are incomplete and thus the incidence of walking quads or walking paras may be higher than most people think.

Both animal and human studies indicate that as little as 10% of spinal cord tracts can support substantial function, including locomotion. People often can walk even though a tumor has damaged 90% of their spinal cord. This is due to the redundancy and plasticity of the spinal cord. Multiple spinal pathways serve similar or overlapping functions. Plasticity refers to the ability of axons to sprout and make new connections. Because transected spinal cords are rare, most people have some spinal axons crossing the injury site. This is the basis of the hope that even slight regeneration of the spinal cord will restore substantial function.

Experimental Therapies for Subacute Spinal Cord Injury

Several experimental therapies are being tested in clinical trial for spinal cord injury during the first days or weeks after injury.

Monosialic ganglioside (GM1, Sygen). In 1991, Fred Geisler and colleagues reported that GM1 injected daily for 6 weeks after injury improve locomotor recovery 37 patients. Fidia Pharmaceutical subsequently tested this therapy in a large multicenter clinical trial in 800 patients, showing that the GM1 accelerated recovery during the first six weeks but did not significantly improve the extent of recovery at 6-12 months after injury. Note that this trial is no longer active. Although the drug is still available in Europe and South America, the company Fidia has been bought by another company. CareCure Forum (GM1) Link

Activated macrophage transplants. In 1998, Michal Schwartz at the Weizmann Institute reported that activated macrophages obtained from blood and transplanted to the spinal cord improve functional recovery in rats. The company Proneuron initiated phase 1 clinical trials to assess feasibility and safety of macrophage transplants in human spinal cord injury. Preliminary reports suggest that the treatment is feasible and safe. All the patients had complete thoracic spinal cord injury and received macrophage transplants within 2 weeks after injury. Three of the 8 patients recovered from ASIA A to ASIA C, more than the expected 5%. A phase 1 clinical trial is continuing at Erasmus Hospital in Brussels, Belgium. A phase 2 trial is being planned in two U.S. centers including Craig Hospital in Denver (CO) and Mt. Sinai in New York City (NY). CareCure Forum (Macrophage) Link

Alternating Current Electrical Stimulation. In 1999, Richard Borgens and colleagues at Purdue University reported that alternating currents applied to dog spinal cords stimulated regeneration and recovery of function in dogs with spinal cord injury. A clinical trial has commenced at Purdue University for people who are within 2 weeks after acute spinal cord injury. CareCure Forum (AC Stim) Link

AIT-082 (Neotrofin). This is a guanosine analog that can be taken orally and reportedly increases neurotrophins or neural growth factors in the brain and spinal cord. Neotherapeutics tested this drug in patients with Alzheimers disease. They started a multicenter clinical trial at Ranchos Los Amigos in Downey (CA), Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford (CT), and Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. The treatment must be started within 2 weeks after spinal cord injury. CareCure Forum (AIT-082) Link

Experimental Therapies for Chronic Spinal Cord Injury

Several therapies are being tested in clinical trials for chronic spinal cord injury, i.e. people whose neurological recovery has stabilized one or more years after injury. Many other treatments are being considered for clinical trial (see article on Advances in Spinal Cord Injury Therapy 25 November 2002).

4-aminopyridine (4-AP). This drug is a small molecule that blocks fast voltage sensitive potassium channel blockers. The drug can be obtained by physician prescription from compounding pharmacies in the United States. In addition, Acorda Therapeutics is carrying out a multicenter phase 3 clinical trial of a sustained release formulation of the drug in people who are more than one and a half years after incomplete spinal cord injury. The drug may improve conduction of demyelinated axons in the spinal cord and preliminary clinical trial results suggest that the drug may reduce spasticity and improve motor or sensory function in as many as a third of people with chronic spinal cord injury. See CareCure Forum (4-AP) Link

Fetal porcine stem cell transplants. Embryonic stem cells have attracted much attention. Several studies of human fetal cell transplants have been carried out in Sweden, Russia, and the United States, showing that transplanted fetal cells will engraft in human spinal cords. However, due in part of the lack of availability of adult human stem cells for transplantation and politics associated with the use of embryonic human stem cells, the first and only stem cell therapy trial for spinal cord injury in the United States used fetal stem cells from pigs. A phase 1 clinical trial at Washington University in St. Louis (MO) and Albany Medical Center in Albany (NY) has transplanted fetal stem obtained from pig fetuses and treated with antibodies to reduce the immune rejection. Sponsored by Diacrin, this trial is aiming to test 10 patients. See CareCure Forum (Diacrin) Link

Olfactory ensheathing glial transplants. Olfactory ensheathing glia (OEG) reside in the olfactory nerve and the olfactory bulb. They are believed to be why the olfactory nerve continuously regenerates in adults. OEG cells are made in the nasal mucosa and migrate up the nerve to the olfactory bulb. Several laboratories have shown that OEG transplants facilitate regeneration of the spinal cord. Three clinical trials have started in Lisbon (Portugal), Brisbane (Australia), and Beijing (China). In Lisbon, they are transplanting nasal mucosa obtained from the patient into the spinal cord. In Brisbane, they are culturing OEG cells from nasal mucosa and transplanting the cells to the spinal cord. In Beijing, they are culturing OEG from human fetal olfactory bulbs and transplanting into the spinal cord. See CareCure Forum Link (Brisbane) and CareCure Forum Link (Beijing)


Spinal cord injury is devastating, not only for the injured person but for families and friends. While much information is available on Internet, most of the material is scattered and out of date. This article summarizes answers to some of the most frequently asked questions by people who are encountering spinal cord injury for the first time. Spinal cord injury disconnects the brain from the body. This leads not only to loss of sensation and motor control below the injury site but may be associated with abnormal activities of the spinal cord both above and below the injury site, resulting in spasticity, neuropathic pain, and autonomic dysreflexia. Many functions of our body that we take for granted, such as going to the bathroom, sexual function, blood pressure and heart rate, digestion, temperature control and sweating, and other autonomic functions may not only be lost but may be abnormally active. Finally, contrary to popular notions about spinal cord injury, recovery is the rule and not the exception in spinal cord injury. The recovery takes a long time and may be slowed down or blocked by the muscle atrophy and learned non-use. Finally, there is hope. Many therapies have been shown to regenerate and remyelinate the spinal cord. Some of these are now in clinical trials and many more should be in clinical trial soon.

Recovery and TreatmentWise Young, MD, PhD

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Asterias Announces Major AST-VAC2 Development Milestone: First … – GlobeNewswire (press release)

By NEVAGiles23

FREMONT, Calif., Aug. 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. (NYSE MKT:AST), a biotechnology company pioneering the field of regenerative medicine, today announced that Cancer Research UK, supported by Asterias technical personnel, has successfully completed manufacture of the first cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice) clinical grade lot of AST-VAC2, which meets all specifications for release. This lot will provide clinical trial material for patients enrolling in the first clinical study evaluating AST-VAC2 in non-small cell lung cancer.

The successful production of this first cGMP lot of AST-VAC2 is a major step towards initiating the upcoming study in non-small cell lung cancer, said Mike Mulroy, President and Chief Executive Officer. With its potential as a ready-to-use, off-the-shelf cancer immunotherapy, AST-VAC2 represents an exciting opportunity for Asterias in the rapidly evolving cancer immunotherapy sector.

Investigational therapies intended for human clinical applications must be manufactured in accordance with cGMP standards designed to help assure the safety and potency of drug products. To achieve cGMP standards, a product must be manufactured and released according to rigorous systems designed to ensure appropriate control of manufacturing facilities, equipment, raw materials, processes and testing procedures. Under the companys agreement with Cancer Research UK, Asterias has transferred its innovative laboratory scale AST-VAC2 manufacturing process to Cancer Research UKs Biotherapeutics Development Unit, which has developed and optimized the process for cGMP manufacture and is responsible for producing cGMP AST-VAC2 for use in the upcoming clinical study in non-small cell lung cancer.

About AST-VAC2

AST-VAC2 is an innovative immunotherapy product that contains mature dendritic cells derived from pluripotent stem cells. These non-patient specific (allogeneic) AST-VAC2 cells are engineered to express a modified form of telomerase, a protein widely expressed in tumor cells, but rarely found in normal cells. The modified form of telomerase permits enhanced stimulation of immune responses to the protein. The AST-VAC2 dendritic cells instruct the immune system to generate responses against telomerase which will target tumor cells. AST-VAC2 is based on a specific mode of action that is complementary and potentially synergistic to other immune therapies.

About Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is the leading cause of cancer-related death, accounting for about one-quarter of all cancer deaths and more than colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers combined. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for about 80% to 85% of lung cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. The three main types of NSCLC are adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. The American Cancer Societys estimates for lung cancer in the United States for 2017 are: about 222,500 new cases of lung cancer, and about 155,870 deaths from lung cancer. Despite the large number of people afflicted by non-small cell lung cancer, patients remain vastly underserved due to a scarcity of effective treatments. According to statistics published by Cancer Research UK, the five year survival rate for lung cancer patients in England and Wales is less than 10%.

About Asterias Biotherapeutics

Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company pioneering the field of regenerative medicine. The company's proprietary cell therapy programs are based on its pluripotent stem cell and immunotherapy platform technologies. Asterias is presently focused on advancing three clinical-stage programs which have the potential to address areas of very high unmet medical need in the fields of neurology and oncology. AST-OPC1 (oligodendrocyte progenitor cells) is currently in a Phase 1/2a dose escalation clinical trial in spinal cord injury. AST-VAC1 (antigen-presenting autologous dendritic cells) is undergoing continuing development by Asterias based on promising efficacy and safety data from a Phase 2 study in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), with current efforts focused on streamlining and modernizing the manufacturing process. AST-VAC2 (antigen-presenting allogeneic dendritic cells) represents a second generation, allogeneic cancer immunotherapy. The company's research partner, Cancer Research UK, plans to begin the first clinical trial of AST-VAC2 in non-small cell lung cancer in 2017. Additional information about Asterias can be found at

About Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK is the worlds leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Cancer Research UKs pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on vital donations from the public. Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTSStatements pertaining to future financial and/or operating and/or clinical research results, future growth in research, technology, clinical development, and potential opportunities for Asterias, along with other statements about the future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects expressed by management constitute forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not historical fact (including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as "will," "believes," "plans," "anticipates," "expects," "estimates") should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and/or commercialization of potential products, uncertainty in the results of clinical trials or regulatory approvals, need and ability to obtain future capital, and maintenance of intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements and as such should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the businesses of Asterias, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements found in Asterias' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Asterias disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

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Which research results in mice will help humans with MS? Now there’s a way to tell – UB News Center

By daniellenierenberg

BUFFALO, N.Y. People with multiple sclerosis (MS) knowall too well the frustration of hearing that success in treatingthe disease in mice had little or no effect in humans.

Unfortunately, with no large animal models for MS, results thatsuggest promising new treatments in mice often are ineffective inhumans.

Now, University at Buffalo researchers have developed andsuccessfully tested a method for determining how relevant to thehuman disease findings are from mouse models. The researchwas published Aug. 8 in Stem Cell Reports.

This is an important resource for the field as it allowsus to compare human and rodent cells, and provides a point ofreference to understand whether or not gene expression patterns areconserved between species, said Fraser Sim, PhD, seniorauthor and associate professor in the Department of Pharmacologyand Toxicology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and BiomedicalSciences at UB. Co-first authors are Suyog U. Pol PhD, now apostdoctoral fellow, and Jessie J. Polanco, a doctoral candidate,both in the medical school.

MS trial failures

There have been so many failures in clinical trials forMS when promising observations are translated from small animalmodels to the clinic, Sim said. Our primarymotivation was to try to understand, at a molecular level, how thehuman cells responsible for synthesizing myelin differ from theirmuch-better-studied mouse counterparts.

MS and some other neurological diseases occur when there isdamage to myelin the fatty sheath that allows nerve cellsto communicate. So the myelin-producing cells, called humanoligodendrocyte progenitor cells, or OPCs, found in the brain andspinal cord have been a major focus of efforts to better understandMS and develop potential new treatments for it.

Sim explained that undifferentiated OPCs are frequently found inthe brain lesions of MS patients, so boosting the differentiationof these cells could lead to myelination and a reduction ofsymptoms.

From OPCs to oligodendrocytes

One reason why so many clinical trials fail may be because offundamental differences in the types and levels of genes expressedbetween mice and humans. Sim and his colleagues addressed thisquestion by performing gene-expression analysis on differentiatinghuman OPCs.

In this paper, we describe the transcriptional eventsthat underlie how human OPCs develop into oligodendrocytes,said Sim.

To do it, they used a network analysis software tool calledweighted gene coexpression network analysis (WCGNA). The softwareclusters together genes with similar patterns of expression. Italso allows for analysis of both conserved and divergent geneexpression between humans and rodents.

WCGNA looks at the relationships between genes ratherthan absolute differences between conditions in any givenexperiment, Sim said.

He added that the information encoded in levels of geneexpression increasing or decreasing is very reliable andreproducible.

We performed WCGNA in exactly the same manner on cellsisolated from mice, rats and humans, and prepared these cells in asclose to matched conditions as possible, trying to keep things assimilar as possible to facilitate this comparison, saidSim.

It turned out several of the genes the team had identified asrelevant to human disease also are involved in mouse developmentand mouse models of myelin disease.

New myelin-repairing gene

Based on its findings from that analysis, the team had predictedthat GNB4, a protein involved in signal transduction, would beinvolved in the development of OPCs in humans. The researchersfound that over-production of GNB4, a protein involved in thetransduction of extracellular signals, could cause human OPCs torapidly undergo myelination when transplanted into a model forhuman cell therapy in MS.

So this proteins expression in oligodendrocyteprogenitor cells might ultimately become a therapeutic target,potentially promoting oligodendrocyte formation in MSpatients, said Sim.

The approach also identified several other important candidatesthat play key roles in regulating the development of humanoligodendrocytes.

Other co-authors on the paper are Melanie A. OBara,research scientist; Hani J. Shayya, a UB undergraduate and Karen C.Dietz, PhD, research assistant professor, all of the Department ofPharmacology and Toxicology and Richard A. Seidman, amasters candidate in neuroscience.

The research was funded by the National Multiple SclerosisSoociety, the Kalec Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, the SkarlowMemorial Trust and the Empire State Stem Cell Fund (NYSTEM) throughthe New York State Department of Health.

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UCLA Scientists Identify a New Way to Activate Stem Cells to Make Hair Grow – Newswise (press release)


Mirabai Vogt-James

Newswise UCLA researchers have discovered a new way to activate the stem cells in the hair follicle to make hair grow. The research, led by scientists Heather Christofk and William Lowry, may lead to new drugs that could promote hair growth for people with baldness or alopecia, which is hair loss associated with such factors as hormonal imbalance, stress, aging or chemotherapy treatment.

The researchwas publishedin the journal Nature Cell Biology.

Hair follicle stem cells are long-lived cells in the hair follicle; they are present in the skin and produce hair throughout a persons lifetime. They are quiescent, meaning they are normally inactive, but they quickly activate during a new hair cycle, which is when new hair growth occurs. The quiescence of hair follicle stem cells is regulated by many factors. In certain cases they fail to activate, which is what causes hair loss.

In this study, Christofk and Lowry, ofEli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, found that hair follicle stem cell metabolism is different from other cells of the skin. Cellular metabolism involves the breakdown of the nutrients needed for cells to divide, make energy and respond to their environment. The process of metabolism uses enzymes that alter these nutrients to produce metabolites. As hair follicle stem cells consume the nutrient glucose a form of sugar from the bloodstream, they process the glucose to eventually produce a metabolite called pyruvate. The cells then can either send pyruvate to their mitochondria the part of the cell that creates energy or can convert pyruvate into another metabolite called lactate.

Our observations about hair follicle stem cell metabolism prompted us to examine whether genetically diminishing the entry of pyruvate into the mitochondria would force hair follicle stem cells to make more lactate, and if that would activate the cells and grow hair more quickly, said Christofk, an associate professor of biological chemistry and molecular and medical pharmacology.

The research team first blocked the production of lactate genetically in mice and showed that this prevented hair follicle stem cell activation. Conversely, in collaboration with the Rutter lab at University of Utah, they increased lactate production genetically in the mice and this accelerated hair follicle stem cell activation, increasing the hair cycle.

Before this, no one knew that increasing or decreasing the lactate would have an effect on hair follicle stem cells, said Lowry, a professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology. Once we saw how altering lactate production in the mice influenced hair growth, it led us to look for potential drugs that could be applied to the skin and have the same effect.

The team identified two drugs that, when applied to the skin of mice, influenced hair follicle stem cells in distinct ways to promote lactate production. The first drug, called RCGD423, activates a cellular signaling pathway called JAK-Stat, which transmits information from outside the cell to the nucleus of the cell. The research showed that JAK-Stat activation leads to the increased production of lactate and this in turn drives hair follicle stem cell activation and quicker hair growth. The other drug, called UK5099, blocks pyruvate from entering the mitochondria, which forces the production of lactate in the hair follicle stem cells and accelerates hair growth in mice.

Through this study, we gained a lot of interesting insight into new ways to activate stem cells, said Aimee Flores, a predoctoral trainee in Lowrys lab and first author of the study. The idea of using drugs to stimulate hair growth through hair follicle stem cells is very promising given how many millions of people, both men and women, deal with hair loss. I think weve only just begun to understand the critical role metabolism plays in hair growth and stem cells in general; Im looking forward to the potential application of these new findings for hair loss and beyond.

The use of RCGD423 to promote hair growth is covered by a provisional patent application filed by the UCLA Technology Development Group on behalf of UC Regents. The use of UK5099 to promote hair growth is covered by a separate provisional patent filed by the UCLA Technology Development Group on behalf of UC Regents, with Lowry and Christofk as inventors.

The experimental drugs described above were used in preclinical tests only and have not been tested in humans or approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective for use in humans.

The research was supported by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine training grant, a New Idea Award from the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, the National Cancer Institute (R25T CA098010), the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (R01-GM081686 and R01-GM0866465), the National Institutes of Health (RO1GM094232), an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant (RSG-16-111-01-MPC), the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (5R01AR57409), a Rose Hills Foundation Research Award and the Gaba Fund; the Rose Hills award and the Gaba Fund are administered through the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center.

Further research on the use of UK5099 is being funded by the UCLA Technology Development Group through funds fromCalifornia State Assembly Bill 2664.

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Cardiac stem cells rejuvenate rats’ aging hearts, study says – CNN – CNN

By Sykes24Tracey

The old rats appeared newly invigorated after receiving their injections. As hoped, the cardiac stem cells improved heart function yet also provided additional benefits. The rats' fur fur, shaved for surgery, grew back more quickly than expected, and their chromosomal telomeres, which commonly shrink with age, lengthened.

The old rats receiving the cardiac stem cells also had increased stamina overall, exercising more than before the infusion.

"It's extremely exciting," said Dr. Eduardo Marbn, primary investigator on the research and director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. Witnessing "the systemic rejuvenating effects," he said, "it's kind of like an unexpected fountain of youth."

"We've been studying new forms of cell therapy for the heart for some 12 years now," Marbn said.

Some of this research has focused on cardiosphere-derived cells.

"They're progenitor cells from the heart itself," Marbn said. Progenitor cells are generated from stem cells and share some, but not all, of the same properties. For instance, they can differentiate into more than one kind of cell like stem cells, but unlike stem cells, progenitor cells cannot divide and reproduce indefinitely.

Since heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is similar to aging, Marbn decided to experiment on old rats, ones that suffered from a type of heart problem "that's very typical of what we find in older human beings: The heart's stiff, and it doesn't relax right, and it causes fluid to back up some," Marbn explained.

He and his team injected cardiosphere-derived cells from newborn rats into the hearts of 22-month-old rats -- that's elderly for a rat. Similar old rats received a placebo injection of saline solution. Then, Marbn and his team compared both groups to young rats that were 4 months old. After a month, they compared the rats again.

Even though the cells were injected into the heart, their effects were noticeable throughout the body, Marbn said

"The animals could exercise further than they could before by about 20%, and one of the most striking things, especially for me (because I'm kind of losing my hair) the animals ... regrew their fur a lot better after they'd gotten cells" compared with the placebo rats, Marbn said.

The rats that received cardiosphere-derived cells also experienced improved heart function and showed longer heart cell telomeres.

Why did it work?

The working hypothesis is that the cells secrete exosomes, tiny vesicles that "contain a lot of nucleic acids, things like RNA, that can change patterns of the way the tissue responds to injury and the way genes are expressed in the tissue," Marbn said.

It is the exosomes that act on the heart and make it better as well as mediating long-distance effects on exercise capacity and hair regrowth, he explained.

Looking to the future, Marbn said he's begun to explore delivering the cardiac stem cells intravenously in a simple infusion -- instead of injecting them directly into the heart, which would be a complex procedure for a human patient -- and seeing whether the same beneficial effects occur.

Dr. Gary Gerstenblith, a professor of medicine in the cardiology division of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said the new study is "very comprehensive."

"Striking benefits are demonstrated not only from a cardiac perspective but across multiple organ systems," said Gerstenblith, who did not contribute to the new research. "The results suggest that stem cell therapies should be studied as an additional therapeutic option in the treatment of cardiac and other diseases common in the elderly."

Todd Herron, director of the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center's Cardiovascular Regeneration Core Laboratory, said Marbn, with his previous work with cardiac stem cells, has "led the field in this area."

"The novelty of this bit of work is, they started to look at more precise molecular mechanisms to explain the phenomenon they've seen in the past," said Herron, who played no role in the new research.

One strength of the approach here is that the researchers have taken cells "from the organ that they want to rejuvenate, so that makes it likely that the cells stay there in that tissue," Herron said.

He believes that more extensive study, beginning with larger animals and including long-term followup, is needed before this technique could be used in humans.

"We need to make sure there's no harm being done," Herron said, adding that extending the lifetime and improving quality of life amounts to "a tradeoff between the potential risk and the potential good that can be done."

Capicor hasn't announced any plans to do studies in aging, but the possibility exists.

After all, the cells have been proven "completely safe" in "over 100 human patients," so it would be possible to fast-track them into the clinic, Marbn explained: "I can't tell you that there are any plans to do that, but it could easily be done from a safety viewpoint."

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VistaGen Therapeutics Reports First Fiscal Quarter 2018 Financial Results and Provides Business Update – Marketwired (press release)

By NEVAGiles23

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - August 14, 2017) - VistaGen Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: VTGN), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new generation medicines for depression and other central nervous system (CNS) disorders, today reported its financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2017.

The Company also provided an update on its corporate progress, clinical status and anticipated milestones for AV-101, its orally available CNS prodrug candidate in Phase 2 development, initially as a new generation treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD).

"We anticipate several catalytic milestones in our clinical development, intellectual property and regulatory programs for AV-101 within the next 6 to 18 months. We remain highly focused on satisfying standard regulatory requirements and completing preparations for our planned AV-101 Phase 2 adjunctive treatment study in MDD. Our primary goal is to launch the study in January 2018 and complete it during 2018 to advance our efforts to provide a new generation treatment alternative to millions battling depression every day," commented Shawn Singh, Chief Executive Officer of VistaGen.

Mr. Singh continued, "In conjunction with our focused efforts to advance our AV-101 Phase 2 development program, we have continued to expand our intellectual property portfolio. Earlier this year the European Patent Office issued a Notice of Intention to Grant our European Patent Application regarding AV-101 for treatment of depression and reduction of dyskinesias associated with levodopa therapy for Parkinson's disease, a patent that will be in effect until at least January 2034. In addition, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently allowed another important U.S. patent relating to stem cell technology held by VistaStem Therapeutics, our subsidiary using stem cell technology for drug rescue and regenerative medicine. The breakthrough technology under the allowed U.S. patent involves the stem cells from which all blood cells and most bone marrow cells are derived, technology with the potential to reach patients with a broad range of life-threatening diseases, including cancer, with CAR-T cell applications and foundational technology we believe may ultimately provide approaches for producing bone marrow stem cells for bone marrow transfusions. We are confident in our path forward through strategic collaborations, such as our agreement with the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health covering its full financial sponsorship of the ongoing Phase 2 study of AV-101 for MDD that Dr. Carlos Zarate Jr. and his team are conducting at the NIH's clinic in Bethesda, as well as our sublicense arrangement with BlueRock Therapeutics, a company established by Bayer AG and Versant Ventures, focused on regenerative medicine for heart disease. As we have historically, we believe we have surrounded ourselves with partners, supportive stockholders and corporate development and finance experts who share our confidence in our future and will assist us in securing key collaborations and raising sufficient capital to achieve our objectives, most notably the launch and completion in 2018 of our Phase 2 adjunctive treatment study of AV-101 for MDD. We look forward to creating value for our stakeholders in fiscal 2018 and beyond."

Potential Near-Term Milestones:

During the second half of 2017, the Company is pursuing the following objectives:

Further, the Company anticipates that the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will complete the NIH-sponsored Phase 2 study of AV-101 in depression, with topline results during the first half of 2018.

Recent Operational Highlights:

Advancement of AV-101 as a Potential, Non-Opioid Treatment Alternative for Chronic Pain

Bolstered Clinical Team with Industry Expert

Intellectual Property Accomplishments

Capital Market Highlights

Financial Results for the Fiscal Quarter Ended June 30, 2017:

At June 30, 2017, the Company had a cash and cash equivalents balance of $1.6 million, compared to $2.9 million as of March 31, 2017. Between late-March 2017 and late-June 2017, in self-placed private placement transactions, the Company sold units consisting of unregistered common stock and common stock warrants to accredited investors, yielding approximately $1 million in net cash proceeds.

Net loss for the fiscal quarters ended June 30, 2017 and 2016 was approximately $2.3 million and $2.0 million, respectively, including non-cash expenses of approximately $0.5 million in each period.

Research and development expense totaled $1.1 million for the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2017, compared with $0.8 million for the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2016. The increase in year-over-year research and development expense was attributable to the Company's increased focus on the continuing non-clinical and clinical development of AV-101 and ongoing preparations to launch its AV-101 Phase 2 Adjunctive Treatment Study.

General and administrative expense increased slightly to $1.2 million in the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2017, from $1.1 million in the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2016 primarily because of increased headcount and employee-related expenses and non-cash stock compensation expense attributable to recent stock option grants, partially offset by a reduction in professional services fees.

About VistaGen

VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: VTGN), is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new generation medicines for depression and other CNS disorders. VistaGen's lead CNS product candidate, AV-101, is in Phase 2 development, initially as a new generation oral antidepressant prodrug candidate for MDD. AV-101's mechanism of action is fundamentally differentiated from all FDA-approved antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics used adjunctively to treat MDD, with potential to drive a paradigm shift towards a new generation of safer and faster-acting antidepressants. AV-101 is currently being evaluated by the U.S. NIMH in a Phase 2 monotherapy study in MDD being fully funded by the NIMH and conducted by Dr. Carlos Zarate Jr., Chief, Section on the Neurobiology and Treatment of Mood Disorders and Chief of Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch at the NIMH. VistaGen is preparing to launch a 180-patient Phase 2 study of AV-101 as an adjunctive treatment for MDD patients with inadequate response to standard, FDA-approved antidepressants. Dr. Maurizio Fava of Harvard Medical School will be the Principal Investigator of the Company's Phase 2 adjunctive treatment study. AV-101 may also have the potential to treat multiple CNS disorders and neurodegenerative diseases in addition to MDD, including neuropathic pain, epilepsy, Huntington's disease, L-Dopa-induced dyskinesia associated with Parkinson's disease and other disorders where modulation of the NMDA receptors, activation of AMPA pathways and/or key active metabolites of AV-101 may achieve therapeutic benefit.

About VistaStem

VistaStem Therapeutics is VistaGen's wholly-owned subsidiary focused on applying human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) technology, internally and with third-party collaborators, to discover, rescue, develop and commercialize (i) proprietary new chemical entities (NCEs), including NCEs with regenerative potential, for CNS and other diseases and (ii) cellular therapies involving stem cell-derived blood, cartilage, heart and liver cells. VistaStem's internal drug rescue programs are designed to utilize CardioSafe 3D, its customized cardiac bioassay system, to develop NCEs for VistaGen's pipeline. To advance potential regenerative medicine (RM) applications of its cardiac stem cell technology, in December 2016, VistaStem exclusively sublicensed to BlueRock Therapeutics LP, a next generation regenerative medicine company established in 2016 by Bayer AG and Versant Ventures, rights to certain proprietary technologies relating to the production of cardiac cells for the treatment of heart disease. In a manner similar to its exclusive sublicense agreement with BlueRock Therapeutics, VistaStem may pursue additional collaborations and potential RM applications of its stem cell technology platform, including using blood, cartilage, and/or liver cells derived from hPSCs, for (i) cell-based therapy, (ii) cell repair therapy, and/or (iii) tissue engineering.

For more information, please visit and connect with VistaGen on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Forward-Looking Statements

The statements in this press release that are not historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements that are based on current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual future results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, risks related to the successful launch, continuation and results of the NIMH's Phase 2 (monotherapy) and/or the Company's planned Phase 2 (adjunctive therapy) clinical studies of AV-101 in MDD, and other CNS diseases and disorders, including neuropathic pain and levodopa (L-DOPA)-induced dyskinesia associated with Parkinson's disease, the potential for the Company's stem cell technology to produce NCEs, cellular therapies, regenerative medicine or bone marrow stem cells to treat any medical condition, including autoimmune disorders and cancer, protection of its intellectual property, and the availability of substantial additional capital to support its operations, including the AV-101 clinical development activities described above. These and other risks and uncertainties are identified and described in more detail in VistaGen's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These filings are available on the SEC's website at VistaGen undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.



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Nanochip Could Heal Injuries or Regrow Organs with One Touch – NewsFactor Network

By admin

A novel device that reprograms skin cells could represent a breakthrough in repairing injured or aging tissue, researchers say. The new technique, called tissue nanotransfection, is based on a tiny device that sits on the surface of the skin of a living body. An intense, focused electric field is then applied across the device, allowing it to deliver genes to the skin cells beneath it -- turning them into different types of cells.

That, according to the researchers, offers an exciting development when it comes to repairing damaged tissue, offering the possibility of turning a patient's own tissue into a "bioreactor" to produce cells to either repair nearby tissues, or for use at another site.

"By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced," said Chandan Sen [pictured above], from the Ohio State University, who co-led the study. "We have shown that skin is a fertile land where we can grow the elements of any organ that is declining."

The ability for scientists to reprogram cells into other cell types is not new: the discovery scooped John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka the Nobel Prize in 2012 and is currently under research in myriad fields, including Parkinson's disease.

"You can change the fate of cells by incorporating into them some new genes," said Dr Axel Behren, an expert in stem cell research from the Francis Crick Institute in London, who was not involved in the Ohio research. "Basically you can take a skin cell and put some genes into them, and they become another cell, for example a neuron, or a vascular cell, or a stem cell."

But the new approach, says Sen, avoids an intermediary step where cells are turned into what are known as pluripotent stem cells, instead turning skin cells directly into functional cells of different types. "It is a single step process in the body," he said.

Furthermore, the new approach does not rely on applying an electric field across a large area of the cell, or the use of viruses to deliver the genes. "We are the first to be able to reprogram [cells] in the body without the use of any viral vector," said Sen.

The new research, published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, describes how the team developed both the new technique and novel genes, allowing them to reprogramme skin cells on the surface of an animal in situ.

"They can put this little device on one piece of skin or onto the other piece of skin and the genes will go there, wherever they put [the device]," said Behrens.

The team reveal that they used the technique on mice with legs that had had their arteries cut, preventing blood flow through the limb. The device was then put on the skin of the mice, and an electric field applied to trigger changes in the cells' membrane, allowing the genes to enter the cells below. As a result, the team found that they were able to convert skin cells directly into vascular cells -with the effect extending deeper into the limb, in effect building a new network of blood vessels.

"Seven days later we saw new vessels and 14 days later we saw [blood flow] through the whole leg," said Sen.

The team were also able to use the device to convert skin cells on mice, into nerve cells which were then injected into the brains of mice who had experienced a stroke, helping them to recover.

"With this technology, we can convert skin cells into elements of any organ with just one touch. This process only takes less than a second and is non-invasive, and then you're off," said Sen.

The new technology, said Behrens is an interesting step, not least since it "avoids all issues with rejection".

"This is a clever use of an existing technique that has potential applications -- but massive further refinement is needed," he said, pointing out that there are standard surgical techniques to deal with blockages of blood flow in limbs.

What's more, he said, the new technique is unlikely to be used on areas other than skin, since the need for an electric current and the device near to the tissue means using it on internal organs would require an invasive procedure.

"Massive development [would be] needed for this to be used for anything else than skin," he said.

But Sen and colleagues say they are hoping to develop the technique further, with plans to start clinical trials in humans next year.

2017 Guardian Web under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.

Image credit: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

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Technion prof inspires Aussie researchers – Australian Jewish News

By JoanneRUSSELL25

INCREDIBLE biomedical breakthroughs including growing beating heart tissue and engineering the worlds first muscle flap transplant with its own blood supply have been achieved by Professor Shulamit Levenberg in her lab at Israels Technion since 2007.

Now researchers at three Australian universities will benefit from collaborative projects with the Technions Dean of Biomedical Engineering, strengthened during her visit to Perth and Sydney from July to mid-August, facilitated by Technion Australia.

Levenberg told The AJN that growing 3D tissue structures that have blood vessels, by using stem cells and biodegradable scaffolds, has so much potential to repair damaged organs, treat diabetes and even spinal cord injuries.

To see the whole piece of cardiac tissue we created in the lab spontaneously beating in front of your eyes was really amazing, Levenberg said.

But what really excited us was that we could create a blood vessel network, which is critical in keeping the implant alive and making revascularisation in the body faster.

Tissue engineering has been used to create islet transplants for diabetes patients, to repair severe tissue injuries in mice and even to produce meat in the lab.

That is a new application, but we are very excited about the regenerative medicine direction, and we hope spinal cord regeneration will happen in humans one day, Levenberg said.

The next step is to make the tissues larger and to move from pre-clinical to clinical trials.

Levenberg came on a Raine Fellowship to the University of Western Australias (UWA) Perkins Institute for Biomedical Research, where she lectured, and connected researchers with Technion colleagues.

We are starting several research projects with UWA on using combinations of biomaterials, and weve got funding for spinal cord regeneration research from the Perth-based Shervington Fund, Levenberg said.

Were also discussing further collaborations in spinal cord research with the University of Technology in Sydney, and we now have a collaboration with Professor Tony Weiss at the University of Sydney, where we are using tropo-elastin that he developed to coat scaffolds.

Technion Australia is in the process of planning a fundraising project to support that collaboration.

A passionate mentor to biomedical engineering students and to girls interested in science, Lewenberg said, I think the most important thing is to show young people that to be a scientist is doable and exciting. My advice is to do what excites them, and not be afraid that something may seem too difficult.


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Stem Cells: The Future of Injectable Fillers – Palm Beach Post

By admin

Question: I know stem cells are being used in medicine for regrowing tissue and helping certain diseases, but how do stems cells work for facial rejuvenation?

Answer: The use of stem cells in the cosmetic industry for facial rejuvenation is a relatively recent development. Stem cells for regenerative purposes are being used in traditional medicine for longer. We know that certain types of stem cells can differentiate into tissue-specific cells when provided with the proper stimulus and placed in the right environment.

Protein rich plasma (PRP) is known to contain certain growth factors which can signal stem cells to differentiate. When stem cells are mixed with PRP and injected into skin tissues, these stem cells can differentiate into collagen-producing skin cells. Since much of facial aging is a result of increased collagen breakdown with loss of overall collagen and elastin, collagen-stimulating substances to help restore the collagen balance in our face can give a more refreshed, youthful and rejuvenated appearance.

I use a cutting-edge technology to harvest stem cells from your own body and re-inject them into the facial tissues to restore a more youthful facial appearance. Various tissues in the body are an important source of stem cells, including bone marrow as well as fat or adipose tissue. In my practice, stem cells are harvested from fatty tissue in the stomach or hips in about 10 minutes, using a small syringe and lidocaine solution for numbing.

The stem cells are then mixed with PRP prepared from drawing just one tube of your blood and spinning in the centrifuge for 10 minutes. Its important to realize that these are not fat injections. Its the stem cells that are being harvested from your fatty tissue. The goal is to extract and use the stem cells rather than your actual fat. This entire process takes just 30 to 40 minutes before the stem cells are ready for injection into the face.

Stem cell filler is then injected into the face just like any standard filler. The difference is that 15 to 20 ml or more of stem cell material can be prepared and injected into your face in just one 30 minute session. Another benefit of stem cell fillers, compared to the commercially available fillers, is that stem cells can be injected at various levels within the facial tissues, ranging from very superficial lines of the upper lips and crows feet, to deeper nasolabial folds and marionette lines as well as hollow cheeks and temples. Patients often notice a healthy, youthful glow to their facial skin immediately following treatment.

Unlike commercial fillers which typically contain some foreign component, which is not part of our own bodies, these stem cell filler preparations come from your own body without the risk of allergic reaction. As long as you have some adipose tissue in you flanks or abdomen, a fairy large volume of stem cells for filler injections can be harvested and prepared for use in a single facial rejuvenation injection session.

A one-on-one detailed consultation with a Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon is the first step in determining whether you are a good candidate for a stem cell filler versus other commercial fillers.

Dr. Anita Mandal is a double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon practicing since 1998. She exclusively specializes in facial rejuvenation and non-invasive body contouring. In addition to being on the medical staff at Jupiter Medical Center, her offices house both surgical and laser suites. Dr. Mandal is committed to giving her patients the most natural looking results.


Mandal Plastic Surgery Center

2401 PGA Blvd., Suite 146

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Couple renews vows at State Fair after bone marrow donor helps save his life – WTHR

By raymumme

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - People at the Indiana State Fair Saturday got to witness something special.

A husband and wife recommitted their lives to one another right at the Fairgrounds.

The couple also shared with the crowd the important reason they made it to this celebration.

Amid all the fun and food and families at the Indiana State Fair, they brought some magic on the midway.

A love story - two decades strong.

"Today is actually our 20th wedding anniversary," said Derek Fakehany.

Derek and his wife, Amy Van Ostrand, renewed their marriage vows at their favorite summer spot.

And in some ways, the place that illustrates their lives recently.

"The last 18 months have been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs," said bridesmaid Sheri Champagne.

The serious test of their original vows.

"It's very easy to be in love when you're 23, getting married, Amy said. But when you're in your mid-40's and looking at your spouse maybe not making it through the end of the week, you're really tested."

In 2015, Derek was diagnosed with blood cancer.

It was a painful, difficult battle back to health that he nearly lost.

But thanks to a simple swab and a stranger's decision to be the match,

Derek found a donor on the national bone marrow registry.

He had his second transplant 200 days ago.

"That is the reason that Derek is here today. A 26-year-old woman who we never met donated her stem cells to my husband not once, but twice over the last year and that's why he's standing here."

Surrounded by the friends and family who cared for him at his lowest point.

On this day, they watched a stronger Derek and Amy renew promises lived for 20 years.

I declare again that Derek and Amy are for a lifetime of days husband and wife," their minister said, concluding the ceremony.

And in the place where they always feel joy.

Amy asked, "Who wants funnel cake?"

The happy couple and their guests dined on fair food and went for a ride on the Ferris wheel.

Celebrating two milestones - Love and Life.

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Northern Ireland mum fighting MS: Russian medics are now my last hope – Belfast Telegraph

By daniellenierenberg

Northern Ireland mum fighting MS: Russian medics are now my last hope

A young Co Down mum is bravely undergoing a gruelling stem cell transplant in Russia in what she believes is her last hope of enjoying some quality of life.

A young Co Down mum is bravely undergoing a gruelling stem cell transplant in Russia in what she believes is her last hope of enjoying some quality of life.

Lindsay Rice (35) from Warrenpoint has exhausted every treatment on the health service - including chemotherapy normally given to cancer patients - in the hope of treating the chronic condition Rapidly Evolving Severe Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis.

Paralysis and temporary sight loss are just a few of the many debilitating symptoms which have left the mum-of-two unable to enjoy normal family life.

Desperate to get her help, her family launched an appeal on Facebook and Go Fund Me to raise 50,000 to send her to the National Pirogov Medical Surgical Centre in Moscow where she arrived two weeks ago to start her stem cell transplant.

The treatment alone is expected to cost up to 45,000 and, incredibly, in just 12 weeks the family has raised 32,000 towards a 50,000 target thanks to generous support from friends and the public.

Lindsay, who is married to Liam (36), a financial advisor, has two children, Jamie (17) and Olivia (8).

Liam says: "This is her last hope and she is doing it for her family and her kids and that's what she is focusing on. She just wants to be able to live a normal life and do normal things with the family."

Since starting her treatment on August 1 she has been keeping a daily dairy of her progress through a Facebook page - Lindsay's Last Hope.

While the groundbreaking treatment known as HSCT (Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant) is not a cure for MS, Lindsay's hope is that it will halt the progression of the disease and stop the frequent and severe relapses which are destroying her health.

Lindsay will spend a month in the clinic, most of it in isolation, and when she comes home she faces a long recovery period when she will have to remain isolated for up to a year due to the risk of infection.

HSCT aims to 'reset' the immune system to stop it attacking the central nervous system. It uses chemotherapy to remove the harmful immune cells and then rebuild the immune system using a type of stem cell found in the patient's bone marrow.

The haematopoietic stem cells used in the treatment can produce all the different cells in the blood, including immune cells. However, they can't regenerate permanently damaged nerves or other parts of the brain and spinal cord.

Lindsay has successfully had over two million stem cells extracted in a tough procedure which involved having a catheter inserted into her jugular vein. She has also had her head shaved this week in preparation for starting chemotherapy today.

The chemotherapy will wipe out her immune system and she will then have her stem cells transplanted back into her blood by a drip to help regrow a new, stronger immune system.

She will then have to spend 10 days in complete isolation while her new immune system builds.

Also, since arriving in Russia she has been told that her MS is now much worse than she realised and is now at the Secondary Progressive stage.

People with Secondary Progressive MS don't tend to recover completely from a relapse and can expect a general worsening of symptoms, making the treatment even more time-critical.

In a further blow, tests have picked up a potentially dangerous three-centimetre active lesion on her spine which wasn't spotted during MRI's here.

Lindsay faces a tough few weeks in her bid to halt the progression of the disease but as her husband Liam explains, the alternative is the prospect of life in a wheelchair: "Lindsay has come through a lot since her teens.

"She had Jamie quite young at 18 and her condition seemed to really deteriorate after that. She went to a lot of consultants and had many tests but it wasn't until after she had Olivia that she was finally diagnosed in 2011.

"She never knows from day to day how it will affect her. Fatigue is the number one problem and that is crippling. I would come home from work and after dinner she has to go to bed, and even sleep doesn't help it.

"It stops her from doing simple things like taking our daughter to the park or taking the dog for a walk.

"Her motability is not as good as an average person and the other big issue is the relapses.

"They have become very frequent and each relapse is worse in terms of how severe it is. During her last one in February she had to go into hospital and also had to use a walking frame.

"A common misconception is that after each relapse you go back to normal but that's not the case. It leaves its mark and any damage done is permanent. The nature of the relapses could leave her in a wheelchair."

It was after her last relapse and having exhausted all options for treatment on the Health Service that Lindsay decided she wanted to try HSCT.

Her neurologist in Belfast supported her decision and the family applied to the Russian clinic just 12 weeks ago expecting to wait up to two years before admission.

They were surprised to be offered a cancellation on August 1 leaving them facing a race against time to raise 50,000 to cover the cost of treatment and expenses.

Liam says: "We thought we would have at least 12 months and up to two years to get the money together and it has been amazing to see how people have rallied round and what they have done just from the kindness of their hearts, especially strangers.

"We've had quizzes and coffee mornings and online auctions and I recently did the Four Peaks challenge with a group of friends. Lindsay's mum and her best friend are organising a lot of events and we still have some way to go but we are amazed at how much has been raised and donated in such a short time."

Liam flew to Russia with Lindsay on July 31 and stayed with her for five days while she underwent tests to determine that she was suitable for the treatment.

It has already been a punishing two weeks for Lindsay who has come through a batch of invasive procedures including having a catheter inserted in her jugular to extract the stem cells.

Liam says: "It is an intense treatment and Lindsay is so positive and coping brilliantly. She got her hair cut short before she went and decided to have it shaved this week before the chemo starts and it falls out.

"She will have to spend 10 days in complete isolation to allow her immune system to build again and that will be tough.

"She will hopefully be home after 30 days and then when she comes home she will have a long recovery and will have to isolate herself from society for up to a year to keep her safe from infection.

"We will have to deep clean the house and we will all have to wear face masks as she can't risk even getting a cold."

Liam is back at work and trying to keep things as normal as possible at home for the couple's two children, who he said are coping well: "Jamie is 17 and approaching adulthood and understands why she is doing it and is okay, but obviously his mum is away and he has his sixth year exam results coming and he misses her.

"Olivia seems to be fine too. She understands her mum has MS, which stops her doing things with her and she knows this treatment is to help her to be a better mother.

"I've been trying as much as possible to keep her occupied with play dates and sleepovers."

The couple have been impressed by the level of care in the clinic and Lindsay has had the chance to meet and get to know other MS patients from all over the world.

Liam has nothing but admiration for her strength and the positive way she is enduring the extreme procedures she faces.

He adds: "Lindsay is the most determined person you could ever possibly meet. She has had bad days and it can be demoralising for her but she is determined to be as positive as she can be.

"It is not a cure. MS doesn't have a cure but we hope it will stop the progress of the disease. We just hope it will halt it by rebooting her immune system and hopefully stop the severe relapses."

Liam adds: "It is desperately hard and stressful for all of us and we have to put a positive spin, in the grand scheme of things it is just for a month of her life."

Follow Lindsay's journey at Facebook/Lindsay's Last Hope - HSCT in Russia

Fundraising continues as the family has only until the end of the month to reach their target. You can support this young mum in her bid to enjoy a normal quality of life by going to

Belfast Telegraph

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The power of hope – Richmond-News

By JoanneRUSSELL25

It is also the story of her family, friends, and community and their spiritual and financial commitment in support of her fight.

Inherently it is also about the unenviable position millions of Americans find themselves in, isolated between insurance companies and the medical establishment of this country, forced to seek medical care beyond our borders.

"Over a two-year period, I started having these terrible dizzy spells, losing my balance, and when I would bend my head forward, I would go numb all over. I was losing my vision and couldn't hear out of my right ear. I was 25," recalled Somerset's Barb Rivard.

Rivard grew up in Glenwood City. She has three grown children and six grand children. She tended bar for 19 years, graduated from WITC in 1999, and worked as a scheduler in the physical therapy department at Westfields Hospital & Clinic in New Richmond for 14 years. She reluctantly gave up her position at the hospital three years ago because of her disease.

Ask around and you will find she has a reputation for being independent, some might say stubborn, and she wants to keep it that way.

"I don't want people feeling sorry for me. I've been called bullheaded. For me it's tough, I don't like to ask for help. I was a single mother with my boys for a lot of years," said Rivard.

When she first started experiencing symptoms, her family doctor sent her to a neurologist who concluded she had an issue causing spine inflammation and he sent her on her way.

When her symptoms persisted, nearly costing her her job tending bar, she returned to the neurologist for more testing. At the time, Rivard's mother was dying from brain cancer, leading her to wonder if she might also have brain cancer. Meanwhile, her family physician speculated it might be a brain tumor.

"The tests came back and the neurologist told me I had multiple sclerosis (MS). He said, 'You're a young healthy woman and it will never bother you again.' He sent me on my way, again. At that point, I couldn't see out of my left eye, but I thought, 'Okay good, at least we know something.' I knew absolutely nothing about MS," said Rivard. It was 1990.

What is MS?

MS presents in people in four different ways according to International Advisory Committee on Clinical Trials of MS: clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), primary progressive MS (PPMS), and secondary progressive MS (SPMS).

Rivard was diagnosed with RRMS.

MS is a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system, (brain, spinal cord and optic nerves). Symptoms can include loss of vision, pain, fatigue, muscle spasms, impaired coordination, and numbness in the limbs. In severe cases, the patient can become paralyzed or blind.

Often the severity and progression of the disease is determined by an MRI to identify lesions within the central nervous system.


The approved course of treatment in the U.S. is any one of a number of powerful drugs known as disease modifying-therapies (DMT), taken either by injection, intravenously or orally, designed to decrease the frequency of relapses and delay the progression of the disease. Attacks or relapses are frequently treated with high doses of steroids for immediate relief. There is currently no known cure for MS.

Upset that the neurologist had failed to communicate with him regarding Rivard's condition, her family physician sent her to a second neurologist. Over the next four years, a succession of neurologists, approved by her health insurance, treated her with a prescription of DMTs. The injections can be painful and expensive.

"They kept putting me on these once-a-month injections that were extremely high priced. They ran anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 a month and that was 25 years ago. Some of the drugs I took every day, some were every other day, and one of them was this once-a-week self-injection. They made me super, super sick. I had this big needle I had to stick in the top of my leg. It was horrible. I had big welts everywhere," said Rivard.

All in all, Rivard tried the various drug regimens for 15 years. She continued to suffer relapses accompanied by sickness brought on by the drugs themselves only compounding her frustration with her doctors.

"At one point, one of my neurologists told me I didn't know what I was talking about when it came to my own body. I wasn't so pleasant when I told him I didn't need his services any more," recalled Rivard.

Five years ago, she hooked up with Dr. Rita Richardson, a neurologist who visits at Westfields Hospital & Clinic in New Richmond.

"Dr. Richardson and I just really get along. I absolutely love her. She's one of those doctors who will sit there and listen. She actually cares. Finally, after 20 years," said Rivard.

A new approach

Three years ago, Rivard implemented a new approach to her disease, no more DMTs. She began working with a nutritionist.

"We don't eat out of a box anymore. We eat healthier and we know what we are eating," said Rivard.

She and her husband eat beef they raise themselves and vegetables and fruit from their own garden. In addition to a new diet, Rivard tries to maintain a regular physical fitness routine swimming five times a week, riding her bike and attempting a little yoga at home. She feels better both physically and financially having eliminated expensive drugs from her budget. However the MS continued to relapse causing debilitating episodes and regular spasticity particularly in her legs.

"My whole body goes wild. I can't walk. I either sleep all the time or I don't sleep. I go to the bathroom. I might as well just sit in the bathroom. Usually I feel weak, very weak. My husband can sense it coming on more than I can. I live with it, but he witnesses it. Most of the time, he'll say, 'I think I need to take you in.' After the first dose of steroids, I usually feel better," said Rivard describing a relapse.

Four years ago, Rivard had a Baclofen pump inserted to control the spasticity in her legs. Baclofen is a muscle relaxant and antispastic commonly used to address spasticity in MS patients. She resigned her position at the hospital.

"I knew I couldn't do this anymore, so I told them I was resigning so as not to leave them hanging. I miss my job, but I still have my care team. When I go in for my treatments, everybody still comes up and hugs and kisses me," said Rivard.

Clinica RUIZ

After years of feeling experimented on and left out of the equation when it came to managing her own care, Rivard began reading extensively about MS to educate herself about her disease. That is when she learned of hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT) and Clinica RUIZ in Puebla City, Mexico.

HSCT treatment for MS essentially rewrites a diseased person's immune system. A person's stem cells are harvested; their immune system is wiped out taking with it any memory of the disease. Their stem cells are reintroduced to a disease free environment where they repair and reconfigure neural damage done by the disease. Ideally it halts any progression of the disease and returns function to varying degrees depending on the individual without the use of any DMTs.

Rivard initially applied to the only HSCT program in the U.S. being conducted at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The program has been in place since 2015 but is highly selective and expensive, $125,000 per patient. She was rejected for the program due to her age and her MRI revealed no active lesions. However, through the Chicago program's website, Rivard connected to an online community where alternatives to the program in Chicago were explored. That is where she met Bill, who lives in Roberts, and Nancy, who lives in Amery, fellow MS sufferers who had both undergone HSCT at Clinica RUIZ in Mexico.

"I had the information sitting here for about two months. Finally I talked to Dr. Richardson about it and she said, 'Go for it.' The clinic has an application process online. It took me a half hour to fill out. I applied on Sunday and was accepted the next day," said Rivard.

Clinica RUIZ is operated by Dr. Guillermo Ruiz Argelles in Puebla City, Mexico. Ruiz Arguelles has conducted more than 700 stem cell procedures since 1996. According to his web site,, a simplification of the grafting process (collection of the stem cells) refined over the years, has resulted in a substantial decrease in cost to the patient. It has also enabled most of the procedures to be conducted on an outpatient basis. Ruiz Arguelles and his staff have produced numerous academic articles and received numerous awards and recognition including election as a Distinguished Mayo Alumnus and Master of the American College of Physicians.

Rivard relapsed three times between January and May this year. The prospect of hope and promise of a high percentage of success (better than 80 percent of patients experience some degree of success halting the disease's progression and better yet, reversing their disability) was all encouraging to her, still it was Mexico and so far it was just words.

Seeing actual, physical results in the persons of Bill and Nancy and being able to ask them questions about their personal experiences convinced Rivard this opportunity was the real deal.

Nancy was diagnosed with MS one year ago. She returned from her HSCT treatment at Clinica RUIZ on March 27, 2017. She is 44 years old. She also shares Rivard's neurologist, Dr. Richardson.

"I saw these two pictures posted by a woman. One of her the day she was leaving the hospital in Chicago after she received treatment four years ago. And the other was that day, after she had finished a ten-mile run. I asked myself, 'Why am I waiting? I can't run.' Even if this treatment did nothing but stop it, I was happy to try it. I had started to use a cane, which was mentally difficult for me. It's not my goal to need a neurologist to aggressively treat me. My goal is that I beat this. I just need somebody to help me if I need it. Dr. Richardson has been really accepting that I had this radical treatment. This treatment has helped me way more than I had ever hoped. This morning I posted a video of me doing hopscotch. I saw immediate improvement during treatment. I ditched my cane two weeks into treatment. Now I'm working out at the gym. I'm getting my balance back and learning how to jump rope," described Nancy.

In May, Barb paid $54,500 to Clinica RUIZ in advance of her treatment. Her health insurance will not pay a dime toward her treatment. As of mid June, numerous fundraisers organized by friends and family including a live auction, meat raffle and spaghetti feed have raised more than $41,000 to steadily chip away at the financial obligation. In exchange for a rusting antique grain truck engulfed in weeds in her backyard, Rivard will receive three round-trip airline tickets to Mexico City courtesy of her brother-in-law.

"He's had his eye on that old truck for years. That's a win, win for me," said Rivard with a big smile.

The next step

She will leave for Mexico Saturday, Aug. 12. From the airport in Mexico City, it is a two-hour bus ride to the clinic in Puebla City. On Monday, Aug. 14, Rivard will be assigned to one of four groups of five patients and undergo a full day of testing. The clinic has the capacity to treat 20 patients at a time.

Over the course of the next three weeks, Rivard will undergo potent chemotherapy to kill off any infections and eliminate memory cells in her immune system. She will then receive a series of injections to stimulate the growth of her stem cells. Stem cells from her own body will then be harvested using a process called aphaeresis. Following the harvest, she will receive a second round of chemo preceding the reintroduction of her previously harvested stem cells back into her body. Once the stem cells have been transplanted she will enter a neutropenic period during which her body is very susceptible to infection. She will eat a specific diet to help her body recover and have very little contact with the outside world. During that period the stem cells are beginning to grow in an environment cleansed of the previous disease beginning to repair and reconfigure any neural damage done by the disease. Before she leaves Mexico, she will begin receiving a course of Rituxan injections intended to hold her immune system at bay killing off cells, which would otherwise attack the new stem cells impeding the recovery process. Those injections continue every other month for nine months. Staff at Clinica RUIZ will be in contact with her hematologist, Dr. McCormack, before she leaves to begin monitoring her recovery. To aid in Clinica RUIZ's research, Rivard will continue to update her progress every three months using an online report form. Provided everything goes as planned, Barb will return home Sept. 9.

The range of recovery stories is amazing. People restricted to wheelchairs are walking. Rivard's friend Nancy went back to work, sans cane, two weeks after she returned home. Her friend, Bill, is continuing to improve a year and a half removed from his trip to Clinica RUIZ. Studies indicate patients can continue to improve for two or more years after treatment.

"Nothing else is helping me. I've been reading about this for a long time. The biggest drawback is, it doesn't work. I have to do it. I'm excited to go."

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The power of hope - Richmond-News

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Targeted Stem Cells Might Hold the Key to Eradicating Leukemia – The Jewish Press –

By admin

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Israel has the fourth-highest per capita rate of leukemia fatalities worldwide. In the United States, the blood cancer kills more than 24,000 Americans annually.

According to the Israel Cancer Research Fund, a majority of leukemia treatments today focus on chemotherapy, steroid drugs and stem-cell transplants. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) scientist Dr. Roi Gazit has been conducting intensive research in the hunt for more effective, targeted leukemia treatments.

Gazit explains, Immune therapies and stem-cell treatments offer great advantages, but there are too many options to choose from. At Ben-Gurion University, our research models will help to better specify which treatment may suit a specific type, and even sub-type, of the disease.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for leukemia. Thats why we need tailor-made models to fit the treatment to the disease.

Gazit is usinghematopoieticstem cells (stem cells derived from bone marrow). These unique stem cells are used in cancer treatment because of their ability to divide and form new and different kinds of blood cells.

Stem cell therapy is considered to be the next frontier within medicine. Different types of stem cells are being used in research for all kinds of dreaded maladies from cancer to ALS (Lou Gehrigs disease).

Dr. Gazits lab at Ben-Gurion University utilizes primary stem cells, which have been cultured directly from a subject, and turns them into a malignant leukemia growth inside of mice. By examining how the leukemia spreads, Gazit is exploring different ways in which hematopoietic stem cells can be deployed in order to halt the leukemia altogether.

The end goal of this research is not only to formulate a cure, but also to help other scientists develop more types of immunotherapy and other ways to use stem cells to combat leukemia.

With any new information we can gain better understanding, which at the end of the day translates into better treatment, he says.

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Stem Cell Registry Will Facilitate Finding Donors – Financial Tribune

By admin

One of the obstacles on the way of successful stem cell transplant is problems in finding a good match for the recipient.There is only 25% chance that siblings offer one another a human leukocyte antigen match (or simply a tissue type match) while in 75% of cases patients need to find a match from unrelated donors, Dr. Azim Mehrvar, head of MAHAK Specialized Pediatric Cancer Hospital, was quoted by ISNA as saying.Last month, MAHAK opened a stem cell registry to facilitate the search for donors who are a match to blood disorder patients the first of its kind in Iran.The best transplant outcome happens when a patients HLA and the donors HLA closely match. HLA is a protein or marker found on most cells in a body and is used to match with a donor for bone marrow or cord blood transplant.All people between the ages of 18 and 50 can come to the center and register to help children suffering from cancer.The process is easy: Once an applicant is registered, his/her cheek cell sample (buccal swab) is sent for HLA typing, the result of which is stored in the registry. The process takes only a few minutes.In the future if the persons HLA type matches with any patient looking for a match, the donor will be contacted to donate their blood stem cells to potentially save a life, the physician said.After finding a good match, the donor receives a health check-up to make sure he/she is fit and healthy to donate. Then they will be given an injection called GCSF (Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor) every day for 5 days. This is to release stem cells from the bone marrow into the peripheral blood flow.On the fifth day, blood stem cells are collected in a 3-4 hours outpatient procedure called apheresis. The stem cells are then transferred to the hospital to be grafted.Stem cells can be used to treat a variety of disorders including hematopoietic and genetic disorders and even cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term for the effects of damage to a developing brain by various causes. It is connected with a range of symptoms, including muscle weakness and movement problems.According to the charitys website (, currently donors can be registered only in Tehran. The budget to maintain the registry has been provided by Bahman Group, an Iran-based auto company under license of Japan carmaker Mazda.Mahak, a non-governmental organization dedicated to helping children, was established in 1991 by Saideh Ghods.The society is funded entirely by donations and has supported 11,505 children suffering from cancer in the past 17 years. The 18,000-square-meter rehab center and hospital in the north of Tehran was completed in 2003 and can house 120 children, each with a family member. The rehab center has diagnostic and treatment wards on par with global standards.

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Stem Cells in the Treatment of Heart Failure MyHeart

By admin

The use of stem cells in the treatment of heart failure cases is currently being investigated. Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer in the United States accounting forone third ofall deaths.Heart disease kills more people than cancer, HIV, diabetesor trauma. Many advances in medical and surgical treatment of heart disease have contributed to a growing number of patients in their 70s and 80s with congestive heart failure. An estimated 1% of the Western world has congestive heart failure, including over 5 million Americans with an additional 550,000 new cases each year. Patients with advanced heart failure who require hospitalization, have a 50% mortality within the first fiveyears.

The patients with significant coronary artery disease can sometimes undergo coronary artery bypass surgery or percutaneous coronary intervention to open up blocked arteries. In addition, current medical treatment of patients with congestive heart failure include proven beneficial medicine such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensinIIreceptor blockers, angiotensin IIreceptor blocker Neprilysin inhibitors and diuretics. When appropriate, resynchronization of the right and left ventricles can be accomplished with special types of pacemaker. However, even after following all of these guideline proven therapies, some patients still run out of options and continue to have severe and debilitating congestive heart failure. Heart transplant is a last resort for end stage heart disease.There is a very low number of donor hearts and transplant programs have very restricted eligibility criteria leaving a large number patients with very few options.

An example of a normal LV-gram.

An example of a normal echocardiogram.

There are reasons to believe that regenerative therapy could really help patients with congestive heart failure. Multi-potent cardiac stem cells exist in the heart and participate in the normal turnover of heart muscle cells and small blood vessels.A heart attack kills heart muscle which is made of millions of heart cells. The question is: Would regenerative therapy be able to replace those heart cells or cardiac myocytes?

Thousands of patients have been enrolled in clinical trials to address this question. Regenerative or stem cell therapy has been shown to be safe. Modest benefits have been demonstrated but the mechanism has not been completely elucidated. So far, there is no evidence that cells regenerate from the transplanted stem cells. Animal studies have shown that only 1% of the stem cells injected into the heart tissue are detectable after 1 month. The clinical benefits observed appeared to be due to arelease of growth factors which triggers endogenous repair of the heart cells and inhibits cell death and fibrosis resulting in increased performance of the heart muscle.

An example of an abnormal LV-gram.

An example of an abnormal echocardiogram.

Adult stem cells derived from the bone marrow of healthyyoung donors have been used in clinical trials of heart failure. In the Dream-HF clinical trial, we are using immuno-selected mesenchymalstem cells from healthy adult allogeneic donors. The cells are obtained from their bone marrow, expandedin a manufacturing facility and arecryopreserved until use. These cells are shipped to clinical sites and used for the study.

Allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells have been evaluated in multiple nonclinical and clinical studies, several of which were initiated by Mesoblast, the phase 3 study sponsor. Therapeutic indications under evaluation included heart failure, myocardial infarction, rheumatoid arthritis and graft versus host disease. Currently, results from clinical studies suggest that allogeneic stem cells are generally well tolerated. Moreover,in a phase 2 study ofpatients with heart failure, mesenchymal precursor cell therapy was associated withimprovement inreduction in heart failure hospitalization events and improvementsin functional exercise capacity.

Stem cells from healthy normal volunteers are administered as a 1 time dose of 150 million cells. Myocardial locations are defined within the left ventricle byLeft Ventriculogram (LV-gram)imaging and electromechanical mapping as viable for cell delivery. The cells are administered via a trans-endocardial injection at 15-20 sites inside the heart cavity using a Myostar injection catheter and a NOGA cardiac mapping system. Dr Mendelsohn is the interventional cardiologist performing the injections at BBH Princeton hospital. Only he knows which patients received the stem cells, and he doesnt follow them. The other heart failure specialists follow the patients in the research clinic.

The patients that are injected with stem cells are compared to a group of patient who undergo a Sham or placebo treatment. The treatment arm is not known to the patient or to the heart failure specialist such as myself. This is the only way to find out whether the treatment with stem cells really works. All the patients will be followed by their study team and will be monitored for the clinical effects of stem-cell treatment in patients with congestive heart failure.

No matter how many cases of congestive heart failure we treat, I am still captivated by each and every persons story. One such patient, is a young lady that was treated for heart failure and had a defibrillator placed in 2009. She sought our help and was inquiring about stem cell treatment for her heart. She was only in her early 40s and was desperate to try something new. She was on maximal medical therapy and did not qualify at that time because she was stable. In 2015 however, a clinical deterioration lead to several cardiac procedures including ablation of ventricular arrhythmias and an upgrade of her pacemaker/defibrillator. I thought we were going to lose her. At some point, she was going into incessant ventriculartachycardias and required several prolonged hospitalizations. We referred her to a transplant center and she was evaluated by the transplant team. At the same time, she enrolled in our stem cell research Dream-HF program at the end of 2015.Because she is still part of the research study, I am not sure whether she received stem cells or not. She is amongst one of the many patients that are participating ina stem cell research program that is evaluating cutting edge technology in heart failure. The Dream-HF study is still enrolling patients with chronic systolic heart failure of either ischemic or nonischemic etiology.

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Stem cell therapy for heart failure gets a gold-standard trial – Salon

By daniellenierenberg

In the days after a heart attack, surviving patients and their loved ones can breathe a sigh of relief that the immediate danger is over but the scar tissue that forms during the long healing process can inflict lasting damage. Too often it restricts the hearts ability to fill properly between beats, disrupting rhythm and ultimately leading to heart failure. Yet a new possible treatment may help to revitalize an injured ticker.

A cadre of scientists and companies is now trying to prevent or reverse cardiac damage by infusing a cocktail of stem cells into weakened hearts. One company, Melbourne, Australiabased Mesoblast, is already in late-stage clinical trials, treating hundreds of chronic heart failure patients with stem cell precursors drawn from healthy donors hip bones. A randomized trial that includes a placebo group is scheduled to complete enrollment next year.

Mesoblasts earlier-stage trials, published in 2015 inCirculation Research, found that patients who received injections of its cell mixture had no further problems related to heart failure.

Promising results from the new trial would be a major step forward for a field that has long been criticized for studies that are poorly designed, incomplete or lack control-group comparisons, as well as for the peddling of unproved therapies in many clinics worldwide.

Another company, Belgium-based TiGenix, hopes to attack scar tissue before it forms by treating patients with a mixture of heart stem cells within seven days of a heart attack. This approach has just completed phase II trials, but no findings have yet been published.

There are still many unanswered questions about how stem cells typically derived from bones could help heal the heart. Leading theories suggest they may help fight inflammation, revitalize existing heart cells, or drive those cells to divide or promote new blood-vessel growth, says Richard Lee, leader of the cardiovascular program at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Other stem cell scientists, including Joshua Hare, who conducted earlier-stage Mesoblast research and directs the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami, say the cells may work in multiple ways to heal scar tissue. According to Hare, the stem cells could ultimately be a truly regenerative treatment.

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Join Jon Kempin, LA Galaxy Foundation and Gift of Life Marrow Registry for Kick Blood Cancer on August 13 – LA Galaxy

By daniellenierenberg

The LA Galaxy Foundation has teamed up with Gift of Life Marrow Registry, a club community partner curing blood cancer through marrow and stem cell donation, to co-host Kick Blood Cancer at The Grove in Los Angeles on Sunday, Aug. 13 from 1-4p.m. The event will feature family-friendly games, activities and LA Galaxy appearances in the effort to recruit potential donors to the worldwide marrow registry.

LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jon Kempin, LA Galaxy Star Squad and LA Galaxy mascot Cozmo will be in attendance. Kempin joined LA Galaxy in the off-season and is one of the brightest young talents in the organization, who earned his first MLS shutout earlier this season. He signed his first MLS contract with Sporting Kansas City at the age of 17.

Gift of Life believes every person battling blood cancer deserves a second chance at life and they are determined to make it happen. They are singularly passionate about engaging the public to help get everyone involved in curing blood cancer, whether as a donor, a volunteer or a financial supporter. It all begins with one remarkable person, one life-changing swab and one huge win finding a match and a cure.

For many patients who suffer from leukemia, lymphoma, or other types of blood cancer, transplantation of bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells donated by unrelated volunteers offers the hope of a cure.


Kick Blood Cancer


Sunday, Aug. 13

1-4 p.m.


The Grove

189 The Grove Drive

Los Angeles, CA 90036

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Stem Cell Therapy Selectively Targets and Kills Cancerous Tissue – Anti Aging News

By Sykes24Tracey

Researchers have created a method to kill cancerous tissue without causing the harmful side effects of chemotherapy.

Medical researchers at the University of California, Irvine have created a stem cell-based method to zero in on cancerous tissue. This method kills the cancerous tissue without causing the nasty side effects of chemotherapy. Such side effects are avoided by treating the disease in a more localized manner. The advancement was spearheaded by associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences Weian Zhao. The details of the stem cell therapy were recently published in Science Translational Medicine.

About the new Stem Cell Therapy

Zhao's team programmed stem cells derived from human bone marrow to pinpoint the specific properties of cancerous tissue. They implemented a portion of code to these engineered cells to identify stiff cancerous tissue, lock onto it and implement therapeutics. The researchers safely used this new stem cell therapy in mice to kill metastatic breast cancer that had moved to the lungs. They transplanted these engineered stem cells in order for the teamto pinpoint and settle in the site of the tumor.

Once the stem cells reached the tumor, they released enzymes referred to as cytosine deaminase. The mice were then provided with an inactive chemotherapy known as prodrug 5-flurocytosine. The tumor enzymes stimulated the chemotherapy into action. Zhao stated his team zeroed in on metastatic cancer that occurs when the disease moves to additional parts of the body. Metastatic tumors are especially dangerous. They are responsible for90 percent of all cancer deaths.

Why the new Stem Cell Therapy is Important

Zhao is adamant his stem cell therapy represents an important newparadigm in the context of cancer therapy. Indeed, Zhao has blazed a trail in a new direction that others will likely follow in the years to come. It is possible his new stem cell therapy serves as an alternative and more effective means of treating cancer. This stem cell therapy will serve as an alternative to numerous forms of chemotherapy that typically have nasty side effects. Chemotherapy certainly kills plenty of growing cancer cells yet it can also harm healthy cells. The new type of treatment keys in on metastatic tissue that allows for the avoidance of the undesirable side effects produced by chemotherapy.

Though the published piece describing this stem cell therapy is centered on breast cancer metastases within thelungs, the method will soon be applicable to additional metastases. This is due to the fact that numerous solid tumors are stiffer than regular tissue. The new system does not force scientists to invest time and effort to pinpoint and create a brand new protein or genetic marker for each kind of cancer.

The Next Step

At this point in time, Zhao's team has performed pre-clinical animal studies to show the treatment is effective and safe. They plan to segue to human studies in the coming months and years. Zhao's team is currently expanding to additional types of cells such as cancer tissue-sensing and engineered immune system CAR-T (T cells) to treat metastasizing colon and breast cancers. Their goal is totransform this technology for the treatment of additional diseases ranging from diabetes to fibrosis and beyond.

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Be The Match donor drive to help, honor Bond Clinic physician who needs bone marrow transplant – The Ledger

By JoanneRUSSELL25

Bone marrow transplants are used in serious blood disorders, especially cancers, when the needed doses of chemotherapy or radiation would be so high it would damage or destroy the stem cells in the marrow.

WINTER HAVEN For 14 years, Dr. Christopher Miller has been treating patients at Bond Clinic where he specializes in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. Many local people have met him at Bonds diabetes clinic or in nearby Eloise where he volunteers at Angel Cares free clinic.

Organizers of a Be The Match drive are hoping that those who have benefited from his care, including families and friends of patients, will turn out to honor him Saturday by volunteering to be a bone marrow donor.

He received a shocking, out-of-the-blue diagnosis and is in need of a bone marrow match, said Ashley Scanlan, marketing director for Bond Clinic.

Bone marrow is the soft tissue inside bones where blood cells are produced. Transplants are used in serious blood disorders, especially cancers, when the needed doses of chemotherapy or radiation would be so high it would damage or destroy the stem cells in the marrow.

Be The Match, a national nonprofit organization that is part of the National Marrow Donor Program, is the largest registry matching donors with those in need of a marrow transplant, said Marc Silver, community engagement representative for Be The Match. It also provides support for patients and donors, information for health care professionals and conducts research.

Nearly 70 percent of people needing a marrow transplant do not have a match within their families so the registry was set up to provide a resource for matches.

The event is from 8to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Bond Clinic Main Campus, 500 E. Central Ave., Winter Haven.

Registering to be a donor is a simple process, filling out some paperwork and taking a mouth swab, Scanlan said.

Volunteers should be between 18 and 44 years old, generally in good health and be willing to donate to any patient in the future, Scanlan said.

People are asking why the cutoff is 44, but they have found that age group has the best success in transplants, Scanlan said.

People of other ages are invited to come Saturday and write a note toMiller or make a financial donation, which would go either to the American Cancer Society or to the local Angel Care clinic, she said.

Bobbie Skukowski, an advanced registered nurse practitioner who leads Bonds diabetes clinic, said, Dr. Miller is an excellent physician and an excellent teacher. He was a fellow at Emory University and has taught us all so much; he has brought up the level of diabetes care at Bond Clinic and in the Winter Haven area in general.

"He is very good with his patients and right-on in his care, she said.

If a person is later selected as a potential match, there is no cost to the donor, Scanlan said. And the potential donor can later decide to withdraw from the registry.

The paperwork will ask several questions, including whether the potential donor is willing to donate to any patient in need, willing to donate to a stranger, and willing to donate 20 to 30 hours if found to be a perfect match.

If the potential donor meets the criteria, a mouth swab is taken and later analyzed for a match.

While years ago, being a bone marrow donor was a complicated procedure, now it typically is simple, handled much like a blood donation, Scanlan said.

Over 80 percent of the donations are non-invasive, said Be The Matchs spokesman Silver.

Be The Match literature explains that the donor is given injections of a drug, filgrastim, for five days leading up to the donation to increase the number of stem cells in the blood.

Then, on the day of the donation, the donor goes through a procedure similar to donating blood platelets at a blood center. Blood is taken out of one arm, passed through a machine that collects the blood-forming stem cells, and then the red and white blood cells are returned to the donors other arm through a needle. Typically it takes eight hours.

Donors often have a headache or muscle aches for a few days 22 percent recover within two days, 53 percent within a week, 93 percent within a month, 99 percent within three months and a very few people can take as long as a year to recover, according to Be The Match.

Less than 20 percent of the time, we do a hip aspiration, which is a more complicated procedure and involves having anesthesia in an operating room, Silver said.

Be The Match literature explains that, in those cases, needles are used to withdraw liquid marrow from both sides of the back of the pelvic bone. Typically, the donor stays at the hospital from early morning to late afternoon, or occasionally overnight for observation.

Be The Match helped match 6,200 patients for marrow and cord blood transplants last year and added 472,000 new potential donors to the registry, according to the organization.

Marilyn Meyer can be reached at or 863-802-7558. Follow her on Twitter @marilyn_ledger.

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