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Archive for the ‘Bone Marrow Stem Cells’ Category

Bone marrow | anatomy |

Bone marrow, also called myeloid tissue, soft, gelatinous tissue that fills the cavities of the bones. Bone marrow is either red or yellow, depending upon the preponderance of hematopoietic (red) or fatty (yellow) tissue. In humans the red bone marrow forms all of the blood cells with the exception of the lymphocytes, which are produced in the marrow and reach their mature form in the lymphoid organs. Red bone marrow also contributes, along with the liver and spleen, to the destruction of old red blood cells. Yellow bone marrow serves primarily as a storehouse for fats but may be converted to red marrow under certain conditions, such as severe blood loss or fever. At birth and until about the age of seven, all human marrow is red, as the need for new blood formation is high. Thereafter, fat tissue gradually replaces the red marrow, which in adults is found only in the vertebrae, hips, breastbone, ribs, and skull and at the ends of the long bones of the arm and leg; other cancellous, or spongy, bones and the central cavities of the long bones are filled with yellow marrow.

Red marrow consists of a delicate, highly vascular fibrous tissue containing stem cells, which differentiate into various blood cells. Stem cells first become precursors, or blast cells, of various kinds; normoblasts give rise to the red blood cells (erythrocytes), and myeloblasts become the granulocytes, a type of white blood cell (leukocyte). Platelets, small blood cell fragments involved in clotting, form from giant marrow cells called megakaryocytes. The new blood cells are released into the sinusoids, large thin-walled vessels that drain into the veins of the bone. In mammals, blood formation in adults takes place predominantly in the marrow. In lower vertebrates a number of other tissues may also produce blood cells, including the liver and the spleen.

Because the white blood cells produced in the bone marrow are involved in the bodys immune defenses, marrow transplants have been used to treat certain types of immune deficiency and hematological disorders, especially leukemia. The sensitivity of marrow to damage by radiation therapy and some anticancer drugs accounts for the tendency of these treatments to impair immunity and blood production.

Examination of the bone marrow is helpful in diagnosing certain diseases, especially those related to blood and blood-forming organs, because it provides information on iron stores and blood production. Bone marrow aspiration, the direct removal of a small amount (about 1 ml) of bone marrow, is accomplished by suction through a hollow needle. The needle is usually inserted into the hip or sternum (breastbone) in adults and into the upper part of the tibia (the larger bone of the lower leg) in children. The necessity for a bone marrow aspiration is ordinarily based on previous blood studies and is particularly useful in providing information on various stages of immature blood cells. Disorders in which bone marrow examination is of special diagnostic value include leukemia, multiple myeloma, Gaucher disease, unusual cases of anemia, and other hematological diseases.

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Bone marrow | anatomy |

Bone Marrow Transplantation | Bone Marrow Transplant …

Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside some of your bones, such as your hip and thigh bones. It contains immature cells, called stem cells. The stem cells can develop into red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body, white blood cells, which fight infections, and platelets, which help the blood to clot.

A bone marrow transplant is a procedure that replaces a person’s faulty bone marrow stem cells. Doctors use these transplants to treat people with certain diseases, such as

Before you have a transplant, you need to get high doses of chemotherapy and possibly radiation. This destroys the faulty stem cells in your bone marrow. It also suppresses your body’s immune system so that it won’t attack the new stem cells after the transplant.

In some cases, you can donate your own bone marrow stem cells in advance. The cells are saved and then used later on. Or you can get cells from a donor. The donor might be a family member or unrelated person.

Bone marrow transplantation has serious risks. Some complications can be life-threatening. But for some people, it is the best hope for a cure or a longer life.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Bone Marrow Transplantation | Bone Marrow Transplant …

Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant | Cook Children’s

Certain diseases and treatments can deplete a child’s healthy stem cells. Sometimes the body needs help to replenish those cells. When this happens, your child may require a very complex process called a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

Since 1986, Cook Children’s Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant program has performed more than 1,000 transplants in children with cancer, blood disorders or inherited conditions. That’s what makes this program one of the more diverse and experienced pediatric transplant programs in the Southwest.

Cook Children’s is a member of:

Over the last three years, 30 to 40 transplants were performed every year for a variety of diseases, with leukemia being the most common primary diagnosis.

The goal of the program is to provide a stem cell or marrow transplant to any child who needs one and to improve the outcomes for these patients who do not have better therapy options. We work to achieve this goal through excellent clinical care from several services within Cook Children’s, quality initiatives and ongoing comparison of our processes and performance against large academic transplant centers and international data.

Common referral diagnoses:

Stem cells are cells in the body that have the potential to turn into anything, such as a skin cell, a liver cell, a brain cell, or a blood cell. Stem cells that turn into blood cells are called hematopoietic stem cells. These cells are capable of developing into the three types of blood cells:

Stem cells may come from the patient or from a donor. Stem cells that come from a patient may come from their own cord blood cells if they were harvested from the mother’s placenta immediately after the child was born and frozen for later use. Stem cells may also be harvested and frozen before the child or teen undergoes treatment. These stem cells are thawed and put back into the patient’s body after treatment is complete.

Donor stem cells come from a compatible family member or through a match from a national registry of donors. Depending on the particular needs of your child, one or all three types of a donor’s stem cells will be harvested:

While all three types can replenish a patient’s blood and bone marrow cells, there are advantages and disadvantages to each. The doctor will discuss these issues and suggest the best type of stem cell for your child’s illness.

If your child has been diagnosed, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-4007.

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Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant | Cook Children’s

Bone marrow transplant – About – Mayo Clinic


A bone marrow transplant is a procedure that infuses healthy blood stem cells into your body to replace your damaged or diseased bone marrow. A bone marrow transplant is also called a stem cell transplant.

A bone marrow transplant may be necessary if your bone marrow stops working and doesn’t produce enough healthy blood cells.

Bone marrow transplants may use cells from your own body (autologous transplant) or from a donor (allogeneic transplant).

Mayo Clinic’s approach

A bone marrow transplant may be used to:

Bone marrow transplants can benefit people with a variety of both cancerous (malignant) and noncancerous (benign) diseases, including:

Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside some bones. Its job is to produce blood cells. If your bone marrow isn’t functioning properly because of cancer or another disease, you may receive a stem cell transplant.

To prepare for a stem cell transplant, you receive chemotherapy to kill the diseased cells and malfunctioning bone marrow. Then, transplanted blood stem cells are put into your bloodstream. The transplanted stem cells find their way to your marrow, where ideally they begin producing new, healthy blood cells.

A bone marrow transplant poses many risks of complications, some potentially fatal.

The risk can depend on many factors, including the type of disease or condition, the type of transplant, and the age and health of the person receiving the transplant.

Although some people experience minimal problems with a bone marrow transplant, others may develop complications that may require treatment or hospitalization. Some complications could even be life-threatening.

Complications that can arise with a bone marrow transplant include:

Your doctor can explain your risk of complications from a bone marrow transplant. Together you can weigh the risks and benefits to decide whether a bone marrow transplant is right for you.

If you receive a transplant that uses stem cells from a donor (allogeneic transplant), you may be at risk of developing graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). This condition occurs when the donor stem cells that make up your new immune system see your body’s tissues and organs as something foreign and attack them.

Many people who have an allogeneic transplant get GVHD at some point. The risk of GVHD is a bit greater if the stem cells come from an unrelated donor, but it can happen to anyone who gets a bone marrow transplant from a donor.

GVHD may happen at any time after your transplant. However, it’s more common after your bone marrow has started to make healthy cells.

There are two kinds of GVHD: acute and chronic. Acute GVHD usually happens earlier, during the first months after your transplant. It typically affects your skin, digestive tract or liver. Chronic GVHD typically develops later and can affect many organs.

Chronic GVHD signs and symptoms include:

You’ll undergo a series of tests and procedures to assess your general health and the status of your condition, and to ensure that you’re physically prepared for the transplant. The evaluation may take several days or more.

In addition, a surgeon or radiologist will implant a long thin tube (intravenous catheter) into a large vein in your chest or neck. The catheter, often called a central line, usually remains in place for the duration of your treatment. Your transplant team will use the central line to infuse the transplanted stem cells and other medications and blood products into your body.

If a transplant using your own stem cells (autologous transplant) is planned, you’ll undergo a procedure called apheresis (af-uh-REE-sis) to collect blood stem cells.

Before apheresis, you’ll receive daily injections of growth factor to increase stem cell production and move stem cells into your circulating blood so that they can be collected.

During apheresis, blood is drawn from a vein and circulated through a machine. The machine separates your blood into different parts, including stem cells. These stem cells are collected and frozen for future use in the transplant. The remaining blood is returned to your body.

If a transplant using stem cells from a donor (allogeneic transplant) is planned, you will need a donor. When you have a donor, stem cells are gathered from that person for the transplant. This process is often called a stem cell harvest or bone marrow harvest. Stem cells can come from your donor’s blood or bone marrow. Your transplant team decides which is better for you based on your situation.

Another type of allogeneic transplant uses stem cells from the blood of umbilical cords (cord blood transplant). Mothers can choose to donate umbilical cords after their babies’ births. The blood from these cords is frozen and stored in a cord blood bank until needed for a bone marrow transplant.

After you complete your pretransplant tests and procedures, you begin a process known as conditioning. During conditioning, you’ll undergo chemotherapy and possibly radiation to:

The type of conditioning process you receive depends on a number of factors, including your disease, overall health and the type of transplant planned. You may have both chemotherapy and radiation or just one of these treatments as part of your conditioning treatment.

Side effects of the conditioning process can include:

You may be able to take medications or other measures to reduce such side effects.

Based on your age and health history, your doctor may recommend lower doses or different types of chemotherapy or radiation for your conditioning treatment. This is called reduced-intensity conditioning.

Reduced-intensity conditioning kills some cancer cells and somewhat suppresses your immune system. Then, the donor’s cells are infused into your body. Donor cells replace cells in your bone marrow over time. Immune factors in the donor cells may then fight your cancer cells.

Your bone marrow transplant occurs after you complete the conditioning process. On the day of your transplant, called day zero, stem cells are infused into your body through your central line.

The transplant infusion is painless. You are awake during the procedure.

The transplanted stem cells make their way to your bone marrow, where they begin creating new blood cells. It can take a few weeks for new blood cells to be produced and for your blood counts to begin recovering.

Bone marrow or blood stem cells that have been frozen and thawed contain a preservative that protects the cells. Just before the transplant, you may receive medications to reduce the side effects the preservative may cause. You’ll also likely be given IV fluids (hydration) before and after your transplant to help rid your body of the preservative.

Side effects of the preservative may include:

Not everyone experiences side effects from the preservative, and for some people those side effects are minimal.

When the new stem cells enter your body, they begin to travel through your body and to your bone marrow. In time, they multiply and begin to make new, healthy blood cells. This is called engraftment. It usually takes several weeks before the number of blood cells in your body starts to return to normal. In some people, it may take longer.

In the days and weeks after your bone marrow transplant, you’ll have blood tests and other tests to monitor your condition. You may need medicine to manage complications, such as nausea and diarrhea.

After your bone marrow transplant, you’ll remain under close medical care. If you’re experiencing infections or other complications, you may need to stay in the hospital for several days or sometimes longer. Depending on the type of transplant and the risk of complications, you’ll need to remain near the hospital for several weeks to months to allow close monitoring.

You may also need periodic transfusions of red blood cells and platelets until your bone marrow begins producing enough of those cells on its own.

You may be at greater risk of infections or other complications for months to years after your transplant.

A bone marrow transplant can cure some diseases and put others into remission. Goals of a bone marrow transplant depend on your individual situation, but usually include controlling or curing your disease, extending your life, and improving your quality of life.

Some people complete bone marrow transplantation with few side effects and complications. Others experience numerous challenging problems, both short and long term. The severity of side effects and the success of the transplant vary from person to person and sometimes can be difficult to predict before the transplant.

It can be discouraging if significant challenges arise during the transplant process. However, it is sometimes helpful to remember that there are many survivors who also experienced some very difficult days during the transplant process but ultimately had successful transplants and have returned to normal activities with a good quality of life.

Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this disease.

Living with a bone marrow transplant or waiting for a bone marrow transplant can be difficult, and it’s normal to have fears and concerns.

Having support from your friends and family can be helpful. Also, you and your family may benefit from joining a support group of people who understand what you’re going through and who can provide support. Support groups offer a place for you and your family to share fears, concerns, difficulties and successes with people who have had similar experiences. You may meet people who have already had a transplant or who are waiting for a transplant.

To learn about transplant support groups in your community, ask your transplant team or social worker for information. Also, several support groups are offered at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.

Mayo Clinic researchers study medications and treatments for people who have had bone marrow transplants, including new medications to help you stay healthy after your bone marrow transplant.

If your bone marrow transplant is using stem cells from a donor (allogeneic transplant), you may be at risk of graft-versus-host disease. This condition occurs when a donor’s transplanted stem cells attack the recipient’s body. Doctors may prescribe medications to help prevent graft-versus-host disease and reduce your immune system’s reaction (immunosuppressive medications).

After your transplant, it will take time for your immune system to recover. You may be given antibiotics to prevent infections. You may also be prescribed antifungal, antibacterial or antiviral medications. Doctors continue to study and develop several new medications, including new antifungal medications, antibacterial medications, antiviral medications and immunosuppressive medications.

After your bone marrow transplant, you may need to adjust your diet to stay healthy and to prevent excessive weight gain. Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other negative health effects.

Your nutrition specialist (dietitian) and other members of your transplant team will work with you to create a healthy-eating plan that meets your needs and complements your lifestyle. Your dietitian may also give you food suggestions to control side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, such as nausea.

Your dietitian will also provide you with healthy food options and ideas to use in your eating plan. Your dietitian’s recommendations may include:

After your bone marrow transplant, you may make exercise and physical activity a regular part of your life to continue to improve your health and fitness. Exercising regularly helps you control your weight, strengthen your bones, increase your endurance, strengthen your muscles and keep your heart healthy.

Your treatment team may work with you to set up a routine exercise program to meet your needs. You may perform exercises daily, such as walking and other activities. As you recover, you can slowly increase your physical activity.

Oct. 13, 2016

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Bone marrow transplant – About – Mayo Clinic

Glossary of Terms | Aplastic Anemia and MDS International …

acute myelogenous leukemia

(uh-KYOOT my-uh-LAH-juh-nuss loo-KEE-mee-uh) A cancer of the blood cells. It happens when very young white blood cells (blasts) in the bone marrow fail to mature. The blast cells stay in the bone marrow and become to numerous. This slows production of red blood cells and platelets. Some cases of MDS become AML. But most do not. Also called AML, acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute myelocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia.

A procedure where bone marrow stem cells are taken from a genetically matched donor (a brother, sister, or unrelated donor) and given to the patient through an intravenous (IV) line. In time, donated stem cells start making new, healthy blood cells.

See complementary and alternative medicine.

(an-uh-fuh-LAK-suss) A very severe allergic reaction to a foreign protein, as in a bee sting, or to a medicine. This reaction causes the blood pressure to drop and trouble breathing. Before a patient receives ATG, a treatment for aplastic anemia, a skin test is given to find out if they are likely to develop anaphylaxis. Also known as anaphylactic shock.

An approach to treating bone marrow failure using natural male hormones. Androgen therapy can help the bone marrow make more blood cells. This is an older treatment for bone marrow failure that is rarely used because of the side effects. Scientists are studying these medicines to try to better understand why they work in some cases of acquired and genetic bone marrow failure.

(uh-NEE-mee-uh) A condition in which there is a shortage of red blood cells in the bloodstream. This causes a low red blood cell count. Symptoms of anemia are fatigue and tiredness.

(an-tee-by-AH-tik) A medicine that fights bacterial infections. When a person with bone marrow failure does not have enough neutrophils, the white blood cells that fight infection, antibiotics may help to prevent and fight infection.

(ant-i-ko-AG-yuh-lunt) See blood thinner.

(ay-PLASS-tik uh-NEE_mee-uh) A rare and serious condition in which the bone marrow fails to make enough blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The term aplastic is a Greek word meaning not to form. Anemia is a condition that happens when red blood cell count is low. Most scientists believe that aplastic anemia happens when the immune system attacks the bone marrow stem cells. Aplastic anemia can be acquired (begin any time in life) or can be hereditary (less common, passed down from parent to child).

Programmed cell death.

(uh-SITE-eez) Extra fluid and swelling in the belly area (abdomen). Also called hydroperitoneum.

Any condition that happens when the immune system attacks the body’s own normal tissues by mistake.

A procedure in which some of the patient’s own bone marrow stem cells are removed, frozen, and then returned to the through an intravenous (IV) line. In time, the stem cells start making new, healthy blood cells.

Describes one of several ways that a trait or disorder can be inherited, or passed down through families. “Autosomal” means that the mutated, or abnormal, gene is located on one of the numbered, or non-sex, chromosomes. “Dominant” means that only one copy of the mutated gene is enough to cause the disease. Dyskeratosis congenita is a rare cause of bone marrow failure disease. It may have an autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive or x-linked pattern of inheritance.

Describes one of several ways that a trait or disorder can be inherited, or passed down through families. “Autosomal” means that the mutated, or abnormal, gene is located on one of the numbered, or non-sex, chromosomes. “Recessive” means that two copies of a mutated gene must be present to cause the disease. Dyskeratosis congenita is a rare cause of bone marrow failure. It may have an autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive or x-linked pattern of inheritance.

The study of a subject to increase knowledge and understanding about it. The goal of basic research in medicine is to better understand disease. In the laboratory, basic research scientists study changes in cells and molecules linked to disease. Basic research helps lead to better ways of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. Also called basic science research.

A type of white blood cell that plays a role in allergic reactions.

A chemical that is widely used by the chemical industry in the United States to make plastics, resins, nylon and synthetic fibers. Benzene is found in tobacco smoke, vehicle emissions, and gasoline fumes. Exposure to benzene may increase the risk of developing a bone marrow failure disease. Benzene can affect human health by causing bone marrow stem cells not to work correctly.

(bil-i-ROO-bun) A reddish yellow substance formed when red blood cells break apart. It is found in the bile and in the blood. Yellowing of the skin and eyes can occur with high levels of bilirubin. Also called total bilirubin.

A substance made from a living system, such as a virus, and used to prevent or treat disease. Biological drugs include antibodies, globulin, interleukins, serum, and vaccines. Also called a biologic or biological drug.

A young white blood cell. The number of blast cells in the bone marrow helps define how severe MDS is in a person. When 20 out of 100 cells in the bone marrow are blasts, this is considered acute myeloid leukemia.

See Blast Cells.

A mass of blood that forms when platelets stick together. Harmful blood clots are more likely to happen in PNH. The term thrombus describes a blood clot that develops and attaches to a blood vessel. The term embolus describes a blood clot or other foreign matter that gets into the bloodstream and gets stuck in a blood vessel.

A medicine used to stop blood clots from forming. Blood thinners can be used to treat or prevent clots. Some common blood thinners are enoxaprin (Lovenox), heparin (Calciparine or Liquaemin), and warfarin (Coumadin). Also called and anticoagulant or thrombopoiesis inhibitor.

A procedure in which whole blood or one of its components is given to a person through an intravenous (IV) line into the bloodstream. A red blood cell transfusion or a platelet transfuson can help some patients with low blood counts.

The soft, spongy tissue inside most bones. Blood cells are formed in the bone marrow.

A medical procedure to remove of a small amount of liquid bone marrow through a needle inserted into the back of the hip. The liquid bone marrow is examined for abnormalities in cell size, shape, or look. Tests may also be run on the bone marrow cells to look for any genetic abnormalities.

A medical procedure to remove a small piece of solid bone marrow using a needle that goes into the marrow of the hip bone. The solid bone marrow is examined for cell abnormalities, the number of different cells and checked for scaring of the bone marrow.

A condition that occurs when the bone marrow stops making enough healthy blood cells. The most common of these rare diseases are aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). Bone marrow failure can be acquired (begin any time in life) or can be hereditary (less common, passed down from parent to child).

A procedure where bone marrow stem cells are collected from marrow inside the donor’s hipbone and given to the patient through an intravenous (IV) line. In time, donated stem cells start making new, healthy blood cells.

(bud-kee-AR-ee SIN-drome) A blood clot in the major vein that leaves the liver (hepatic vein). The liver and the spleen may become enlarged. Budd-Chiari syndrome can occur in PNH.

How much of the bone marrow volume is occupied by various types of blood cells.

(kee-moe-THER-uh-pee) The use of medicines that kill cells (cytotoxic agents). People with high-risk or intermediate-2 risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) may be given chemotherapy to kill bone marrow cells that have an abnormal size, shape, or look. Chemotherapy hurts healthy cells along with abnormal cells. If chemotherapy works in controlling abnormal cells, then relatively normal blood cells will start to grow again. Low-dose chemotherapy agents include: cytarabine (Ara-C) and hydroxyurea (Hydrea). High-dose chemotherapy agents include: daunorubicin (Cerubidine), idarubicin (Idamycin), and mitoxanrone (Novantrone).

The part of the cell that contains our DNA or genetic code.

A medical condition that lasts a long time. A chronic illness can affect a person’s lifestyle, ability to work, physical abilities and independence.

A person who gives advice, or counsel, to people who are coping with long-term illness. A chronic illness counselor helps people understand their abilities and limitations, cope with the stress, pain, and fatigue associated with long-term illness. A chronic illness counselor can often be located by contacting a local hospital.

A type of research that involves individual persons or a group of people. There are three types of clinical research. Patient-oriented research includes clinical trials which test how a drug, medical device, or treatment approach works in people. Epidemiology or behavioral studies look at the patterns and causes of disease in groups of people. Outcomes and health services research seeks to find the most effective treatments and health services.

A type of research study that tests how a drug, medical device, or treatment approach works in people. There are several types of clinical trials. Treatment trials test new treatment options. Diagnostic trials test new ways to diagnose a disease. Screening trials test the best way to detect a disease or health problem. Quality of life (supportive care) trials study ways to improve the comfort of people with chronic illness. Prevention trials look for better ways to prevent disease in people who have never had the disease.

Trials are in four phases: Phase I tests a new drug or treatment in a small group to see if it is safe. Phase II expands the study to a larger group of people to find out if it works. Phase III expands the study to an even larger group of people to compare it to the standard treatment for the disease; and Phase IV takes place after the drug or treatment has been licensed and marketed to find out the long-term impact of the new treatment.

To make copies. Bone marrow stem cells clone themselves all the time. The cloned stem cells eventually become mature blood cells that leave the bone marrow and enter the bloodstream.

To thicken. Normal blood platelets cause the blood to coagulate and stop bleeding.

A group of proteins that move freely in the bloodstream. These proteins support (complement) the work of white blood cells by fighting infections.

A medical approach that is not currently part of standard practice. Complementary medicine is used along with standard medicine. Alternative medicine is used in place of standard medicine. Example of CAM therapies are acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathic, and herbal medicines. There is no complementary or alternative therapy that effectively treats bone marrow failure. Some CAM therapies may even hinder the effectiveness of standard medical care. Patients should talk with their doctor if they are currently using or considering using a complementary or alternative therapy.

A group of tests performed on a small amount of blood. The CBC measures the number of each blood cell type, the size of the red blood cells, the total amount of hemoglobin, and the fraction of the blood made up of red blood cells. Also called a CBC.

A procedure where umbillical cord stem cells are given to the patient through an intravenous (IV) line. Stem cells are collected from an umbilical cord right after the birth of a baby. They are kept frozen until needed. In time, donated stem cells given to the patient begin making new, healthy blood cells.

An imaging technique using x-ray technology and computerization to create a three-dimentional image of a body part. Also called a CT scan, it can be used to locate a blood clot in the body.

A response to treatment indicating that no sign of abnormal chromosomes are found. When a test is done on a patient with 5q deletion MDS, and there are no signs of an abnormal chromosome 5, then that patient has achieved a cytogenetic remission. Also called cytegenetic response.

(sie-toe-juh-NEH-tiks) The study of chromosomes (DNA), the part of the cell that contains genetic information. Some cytogenetic abnormalities are linked to different forms of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

(sie-tuh-PEE-nee-uh) A shortage of one or more blood cell types. Also called a low blood count.

(sie-tuh-TOK-sik) A medicine that kills certain cells. Chemotherapy for MDS patients often involves the use of cytotoxic agents.

A test that helps doctors find out if a person has a problem with blood clotting.

(di-NO-vo) Brand new, referring to the first time something occurs. MDS that is untreated or that has no known cause is called de novo MDS.

The death of part of the intestine. This can happen if the blood supply in the intestine is cut off, for example, from a blood clot in the abdomen. Also called intestinal necrosis, ischemic bowel, dead gut.

A rare form of pure red cell aplasia that can be passed down from parent to child. Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is characterized by low red blood cell counts detected in the first year of life. Some people with DBA have physical abnormalities such as small head size, low frontal hairline, wide-set eyes, low-set ears. Genetic testing is used to diagnose DBA.

Vitamins, minerals, herbs and other substances meant to improve your nutritional intake. Dietary supplements are taken by mouth in the form of a pill, capsule, tablet or liquid.

To become distinct or specialized. In the bone marrow, young parent cells (stem cells) develop, or differentiate, into specific types of blood cells (red cells, white cells, platelets).

The gene that always expresses itself over a recessive gene. A person with a dominant gene for a disease has the symptoms of the disease. They can pass the disease on to children.

An inherited disease that may lead to bone marrow failure.

Refers to how well a graft (donor cells) is accepted by the host (the patient) after a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. Several factors contribute to better engraftment: physical condition of the patient, how severe the disease is, type of donor available, age of patient. Successful engraftment results in new bone marrow that produces healthy blood cells.

A type of white blood cell that kills parasites and plays a role in allergic reactions.

The study of patterns and causes of disease in groups of people. Epidemiology researchers study how many people have a disease, how many new cases are diagnosed each year, where patients are located, and environmental or other factors that influence disease.

(i-RITH-ruh-site) See red blood cell.

(i-rith-row-POY-uh-tun) A protein made by the kidneys. Erythropoietin, also called EPO, is created in response to low oxygen levels in the body (anemia). EPO causes the bone marrow to make more red blood cells. A shortage of EPO can also cause anemia.

A medicine used to help the bone marrow make more red blood cells. Epoetin alfa (Epogen, Procrit) and darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp) are erythropoietin-stimulating agents that can help boost the red blood cell count of some bone marrow failure patients. Also called red blood cell growth factor.

A form of estrogen, it is the most potent female hormone. It is also present in males. Estradiol is involved in many body functions beyond the reproductive system. Researchers are investigating the role of estradiol in the treatment of genetic bone marrow failure.

The cause or origin of a disease.

A criteria used for classifying different types of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). The FAB (French, American, British) Classification System was developed by a group of French, American and British scientists. This system is based on 2 main factors: the percentage of blast cells in bone marrow, and the percentage of blast cells in the bloodstream. The FAB system is somewhat outdated, but is still used by some doctors today. The World Health Organization (WHO) Classification System has largely replaced the FAB Classification System.

A rare inherited disorder that happens when the bone marrow does not make enough blood cells: red cells, white cells, and platelets. Fanconi anemia is diagnosed early in life. People with Fanconi anemia have a high likelihood of developing cancer. Genetic testing is used to diagnose Fanconi anemia.

(FER-i-tin) A protein inside of cells that stores iron for later use by your body. Sometimes ferritin is released into the blood. The ferritin level in the blood is called serum ferritin.

(FER-i-tin) A blood test used to monitor how much iron the body is storing for later use.

(fie-BRO-suss) Scarring of tissue. Fibrosis of the bone marrow is an feature seen in some types of unclassified myeldysplastic syndrome (MDS).

See fluorescence in situ hybridization.

(sy-TOM-uh-tree) A laboratory test that gives information about cells, such as size, shape, and percentage of live cells. Flow cytometry is the test doctors use to see if there are any proteins missing from the surface of blood cells. It is the standard test for confirming a diagnosis of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH).

(flor-EH-sense in SIT-tyoo hy-bru-duh-ZAY-shun) An important laboratory test used to help doctors look for chromosomal abnormalities and other genetic mutations. Fluorescence in situ hybridization, also called FISH, directs colored light under a microscope at parts of chromosomes or genes. Missing or rearranged chromosomes are identified using FISH.

(FOE-late) A B-vitamin that is found in fresh or lightly cooked green vegetables. It helps the bone marrow make normal blood cells. Most people get enough folate in their diet. Doctors may have people with paroxysmal nocturnal hemaglobinuria (PNH) take a man-made form of folate called folic acid.

See folate.

A laboratory test that looks at the whether red blood cells break apart too easily when they are placed in mild acid. This test has been used in the past to diagnose paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). Most doctors now use flow cytometry, a more accurate method of testing for PNH. Ham Test is also called acid hemolysin test.

(hi-MA-tuh-crit) A blood test that measures the percentage of the blood made up of red blood cells. This measurement depends on the number of red blood cells and their size. Hematocrit is part of a complete blood count. Also called HCT, packed cell volume, PCV.

(hee-muh-TOL-uh-jist) A doctor who specializes in treating blood diseases and disorders of blood producing organs.

(hi-mat-uh-poy-EE-suss) The process of making blood cells in the bone marrow.

A condition that occurs when the body absorbs and stores too much iron. This leads to a condition called iron overload. In the United States, hemochromatosis is usually caused by a genetic disorder. Organ damage can occur if iron overload is not treated.

A protein in the red blood cells. Hemoglobin picks up oxygen in the lungs and brings it to cells in all parts of the body.

(hee-muh-gloe-buh-NYOOR-ee-uh) The presence of hemoglobin in the urine.

(hi-MOL-uh-suss) The destruction of red blood cells.

See human leukocyte antigen.

A part of the endocrine system that serves as the body’s chemical messengers. Hormones move through the bloodstream to transfer information and instruction from one set of cells to another.

(LEW-kuh-site ANT-i-jun) One of a group of proteins found on the surface of white blood cells and other cells. These antigens differ from person to person. A human leukocyte antigen test is done before a stem cell transplant to closely match a donor and a recipient. Also called HLA.

A condition in which there are too many cells, for example, within the bone marrow. Patients with leukemia have hypercellular bone marrow filled with to many immature white blood cells.

A condition in which there are too few cells, for example, within the bone marrow. Patients with aplastic anemia have hypocellular bone marrow.

Usually refers to any condition with no known cause.

(i-myoo-no-KOM-pruh-mized) Occurs when the immune system is not functioning properly, leaving the patient open to infection. A person can be immunocompromised due to low white blood cell count or due to some medicines. Also called immune compromised.

(i-myoo-no-suh-PREH-siv) Drugs that lower the body’s immune response and allow the bone marrow stem cells to grow and make new blood cells. ATG (antithymocyte globulin) or ALG (antilymphocyte globulin) with cyclosporine are used to treat bone marrow failure in aplastic anemia. Immunosuppressive drugs may help some patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH).

A committee that makes sure a clinical trial is safe for patients in the study. Each medical center, hospital, or research facility doing clinical trials must have an active Institutional Review Board (IRB). Each IRB is made up of a diverse group of doctors, faculty, staff and students at a specific institution.

A system that turns patient data into a score. The score tells how quickly a myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) case is progressing and helps predict what may happen with the patient’s MDS in the future. Also called IPSS.

A method of getting fluids or medicines directly into the bloodstream over a period of time. Also called IV infusion.

A new drug, antibiotic drug, or biological drug that is used in a clinical trial. It also includes a biological product used in the laboratory for diagnostic purposes. Also called IND.

(kee-LAY-shun) A drug therapy to remove extra iron from the body. Patients with high blood iron (ferritin) levels may receive iron chelation therapy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administratin (FDA) has approved two iron chelators to treat iron overload in the U.S.: deferasirox, an oral iron chelator, and deferoxamine, a liquid given by injection.

A condition that occurs when too much iron accumulates in the body. Bone marrow failure disease patients who need regular red blood cell transfusions are at risk for iron overload. Organ damage can occur if iron overload is not treated.

(iss-KEE-mee-uh) Occurs when the blood supply to specific organ or part of the body is cut off, causing a localized lack of oxygen.

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Glossary of Terms | Aplastic Anemia and MDS International …

bone marrow/stem cell transplant –

If you or a loved one will be having a bone marrow transplant or donating stem cells, what does it entail? What are the different types of bone marrow transplants and what is the experience like for both the donor and recipient?

A bone marrow transplant is a procedure in which when special cells (called stem cells) are removed from the bone marrow or peripheral blood, filtered and given back either to the same person or to another person.

Since we now derive most stem cells needed from the blood rather than the bone marrow, a bone marrow transplant is now more commonly referred to as stem cell transplant.

Bone marrow is found in larger bones in the body such as the pelvic bones. This bone marrow is the manufacturing site for stem cells. Stem cells are “pluripotential” meaning that the cells are the precursor cells which can evolve into the different types of blood cells, such as white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

If something is wrong with the bone marrow or the production of blood cells is decreased, a person can become very ill or die. In conditions such as aplastic anemia, the bone marrow stops producing blood cells needed for the body. In diseases such as leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal blood cells.

The purpose of a bone marrow transplant is thus to replace cells not being produced or replace unhealthy stem cells with healthy ones.

This can be used to treat or even cure the disease.

In addition for leukemias, lymphomas, and aplastic anemia, stem cell transplants are being evaluated for many disorders, ranging from solid tumors to other non-malignant disorders of the bone marrow, to multiple sclerosis.

There are two primary types of bone marrow transplants, autologous and allogeneic transplants.

The Greek prefix “auto” means “self.” In an autologous transplant, the donor is the person who will also receive the transplant. This procedure, also known as a “rescue transplant” involves removing your stem cells and freezing them. You then receive high dose chemotherapy followed by infusion of the thawed out frozen stem cells. It may be used to treat leukemias, lymphomas, or multiple myeloma.

The Greek prefix “allo” means “different” or “other.” In an allogeneic bone marrow transplant, the donor is another person who has a genetic tissue type similar to the person needing the transplant. Because tissue types are inherited, similar to hair color or eye color, it is more likely that you will find a suitable donor in a family member, especially a sibling. Unfortunately, this occurs only 25 to 30 percent of the time.

If a family member does not match the recipient, the National Marrow Donor Program Registry database can be searched for an unrelated individual whose tissue type is a close match. It is more likely that a donor who comes from the same racial or ethnic group as the recipient will have the same tissue traits.

Learn more about finding a donor for a stem cell transplant.

Bone marrow cells can be obtained in three primary ways. These include:

The majority of stem cell transplants are done using PBSC collected by apheresis (peripheral blood stem cell transplants.) This method appears to provide better results for both the donor and recipient. There still may be situations in which a traditional bone marrow harvest is done.

Donating stem cells or bone marrow is fairly easy. In most cases, a donation is made using circulating stem cells (PBSC) collected by apheresis. First, the donor receives injections of a medication for several days that causes stem cells to move out of the bone marrow and into the blood. For the stem cell collection, the donor is connected to a machine by a needle inserted in the vein (like for donating blood.) Blood is taken from the vein, filtered by the machine to collect the stem cells, then returned back to the donor through a needle in the other arm. There is almost no need for a recovery time with this procedure.

If stem cells are collected by bone marrow harvest (much less likely,) the donor will go to the operating room and while asleep under anesthesia, a needle will be inserted into either the hip or the breastbone to take out some bone marrow. After awakening, there may be some pain where the needle was inserted.

A bone marrow transplant can be a very challenging procedure for the recipient.

The first step is usually receiving high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation to eliminate whatever bone marrow is present. For example, with leukemia, it is first important to remove all of the abnormal bone marrow cells.

Once a person’s original bone marrow is destroyed, the new stem cells are injected intravenously, similar to a blood transfusion. The stem cells then find their way to the bone and start to grow and produce more cells (called engraftment.)

There are many potential complications. The most critical time is usually when the bone marrow is destroyed so that few blood cells remain. Destruction of the bone marrow results in greatly reduced numbers of all of the types of blood cells (pancytopenia.) Without white blood cells there is a serious risk of infection, and infection precautions are used in the hospital (isolation.) Low levels of red blood cells (anemia) often require blood transfusions while waiting for the new stem cells to begin growing. Low levels of platelets (thrombocytopenia) in the blood can lead to internal bleeding.

A common complication affecting 40 to 80 percent of recipients is graft versus host disease. This occurs when white blood cells (T cells) in the donated cells (graft) attack tissues in the recipient (the host,) and can be life-threatening.

An alternative approach referred to as a non-myeloablative bone marrow transplant or “mini-bone marrow transplant” is somewhat different. In this procedure, lower doses of chemotherapy are given that do not completely wipe out or “ablate” the bone marrow as in a typical bone marrow transplant. This approach may be used for someone who is older or otherwise might not tolerate the traditional procedure. In this case, the transplant works differently to treat the disease as well. Instead of replacing the bone marrow, the donated marrow can attack cancerous cells left in the body in a process referred to as “graft versus malignancy.”

If you’d like to become a volunteer donor, the process is straightforward and simple. Anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 and in good health can become a donor. There is a form to fill out and a blood sample to give; you can find all the information you need at the National Marrow Donor Program Web site. You can join a donor drive in your area or go to a local Donor Center to have the blood test done.

When a person volunteers to be a donor, his or her particular blood tissue traits, as determined by a special blood test (histocompatibility antigen test,) are recorded in the Registry. This “tissue typing” is different from a person’s A, B, or O blood type. The Registry record also contains contact information for the donor, should a tissue type match be made.

Bone marrow transplants can be either autologous (from yourself) or allogeneic (from another person.) Stem cells are obtained either from peripheral blood, a bone marrow harvest or from cord blood that is saved at birth.

For a donor, the process is relatively easy. For the recipient, it can be a long and difficult process, especially when high doses of chemotherapy are needed to eliminate bone marrow. Complications are common and can include infections, bleeding, and graft versus host disease among others.

That said, bone marrow transplants can treat and even cure some diseases which had previously been almost uniformly fatal. While finding a donor was more challenging in the past, the National Marrow Donor Program has expanded such that many people without a compatible family member are now able to have a bone marrow/stem cell transplant.


American Society of Clinical Oncology. Cancer.Net. What is a Stem Cell Transplant (Bone Marrow Transplant)? Updated 01/16.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Bone Marrow Transplant. Updated 10/03/17.

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bone marrow/stem cell transplant –

Stem cell and bone marrow transplants – NHS Choices

A stem cell or bone marrow transplant replaces damaged blood cells with healthy ones. It can be used to treat conditions affecting the blood cells, such as leukaemia and lymphoma.

Stem cells arespecial cells produced bybone marrow (aspongytissue found in the centre of some bones) that can turn into different types of blood cells.

The three maintypes of blood cellthey can become are:

A stem cell transplant involves destroying any unhealthy blood cells and replacing them with stem cells removed from the blood or bone marrow.

Stem cell transplants are used to treat conditions in which the bone marrow is damaged and is no longer able to produce healthy blood cells.

Transplants can also be carried out to replace blood cells that are damaged or destroyed as a result of intensive cancer treatment.

Conditions that stem cell transplants can be used to treat include:

A stem cell transplant will usually only be carried out if other treatments haven’t helped, the potential benefits of a transplant outweigh the risks and you’re in relatively good health, despite your underlying condition.

A stem cell transplant can involve taking healthy stem cells from the blood or bone marrow of one person ideally a close family member with the same or similar tissue type (see below) and transferring them to another person. This is called an allogeneic transplant.

It’s also possible to remove stem cells from your own body and transplant them later, after any damaged or diseased cells have been removed. This is called an autologous transplant.

Astem celltransplant has five main stages. These are:

Having a stem cell transplant can be an intensive and challenging experience. You’ll usually need to stay in hospital fora month or more until the transplant starts to take effect and itcan takea year or two to fully recover.

Read more about what happens during a stem cell transplant.

Stem celltransplants arecomplicated procedures with significant risks. It’s important that you’re aware of both the risks and possible benefits before treatment begins.

Possible problems that can occur during or after the transplant process include:

Read more about the risks of having a stem cell transplant.

Ifit isn’t possible to use your own stem cells for the transplant (see above), stem cells will need to come from a donor.

To improve the chances ofthetransplant being successful, donated stem cells need tocarry a special genetic marker known as a human leukocyte antigen (HLA) that’sidentical or very similar to that of the person receiving the transplant.

The best chance of getting a match is from a brother or sister, or sometimes another close family member. If there are no matches in your close family,a search of theBritish Bone Marrow Registry will be carried out.

Most peoplewill eventually find a donor in the registry,although a small number of people may find it very hard or impossibleto find a suitable match.

The NHS Blood and Transplant website has more information about stem cell and bone marrow donation.

Page last reviewed: 08/10/2015

Next review due: 01/10/2018

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Stem cell and bone marrow transplants – NHS Choices

Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program UNM …

The Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Center at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center offers treatment choices for people with lymphoma and myeloma.Almost 1,000 New Mexicans receive a blood cancer diagnosis each year, according to American Cancer Society estimates.

The UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center program is the states only bone marrow transplant program.It includes a nurse manager, nurse coordinator, a social worker, a pharmacist, infusion nurses, and an inpatient team. Bone marrow transplantation needs a multidisciplinary team because of the complexity in coordinating care, says Fero. The teams Nurse Manager, Maria Limanovich, says the team follows each person from the beginning of bone marrow transplant treatment through completion.

Bone marrow, the soft reddish material that fills the inside of our bones, produces millions of new blood cells each second. These millions of cells come from a tiny number of bone marrow stem cells. These stem cells are special because they can mature into all of the different types of cells in the blood. These are the cells doctors collect for a transplant.

Autologous bone marrow transplants are standard treatments for lymphoma and myeloma.

Matthew Fero, MD, FACPBone Marrow Stem Cell Program Director

Because bone marrow is a liquid organ, Fero says, it can pass through an IV [intravenous] line. Doctors rarely need to take stem cells directly out of the bone, Fero explains. They use drugs to coax bone marrow stem cells into the bloodstream. From there, the blood travels through an IV line into an apheresis machine that sorts the stem cells out and returns the rest of the blood. The experience is like donating blood at a blood bank.

Once stem cells are safely stored out of the bloodstream, doctors use high-dose chemotherapy to eradicate the remaining cancer. When chemotherapy is out of their system, the patients stem cells are reinfused. The process is similar to blood transfusion. Stem cells find their way back to bone marrow where they begin to grow and make new blood cells.

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Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program UNM …

New therapy could protect diabetic bones – Science Magazine

A new therapy changes the balance of osteoblasts (pictured here) and fat cells in the bone marrow, leading to stronger bones.

Science Picture Co/Science Source

By Emma YasinskiSep. 5, 2017 , 2:59 PM

A drug that can reverse diabetes and obesity in mice may have an unexpected benefit: strengthening bones. Experiments with a compound called TNP (2,4,6-trinitrophenol, which is also known as picric acid), which researchers often use to study obesity and diabetes, show that in mice the therapy can promote the formation of new bone. Thats in contrast to many diabetes drugs currently in wide use that leave patients bones weaker. If TNP has similar effects in humans, it may even be able to stimulate bone growth after fractures or prevent bone loss due to aging or disuse.

As more and more patients successfully manage diabetes with drugs that increase their insulin sensitivity, doctors and researchers have observed a serious problem: Thedrugs seem to decrease the activity of cells that produce bone, leaving patients prone to fractures and osteoporosis.

There are millions and millions of people that have osteoporosis [with or without diabetes], and it’s not something we can cure, says Sean Morrison, a stem cell researcher at University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas. We need new agents that promote bone formation.

Morrison and his colleagues have shown that a high-fat diet causes mice to develop bones that contain more fat and less bone. The diet increased the levels of leptina hormone produced by fat cells that usually signals satiety in the brainin the bone marrow, which promoted the development of fat cells instead of bone cells. That suggests that nutrition has a direct effect on the balance of bone and fat in the bone marrow.

After reading Morrisons work, Siddaraju Boregowda, a stem cell researcher at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida, was reminded of genetically altered mice that dont gain body fat or develop diabetes, even when fed high-fat diets. He and his boss, stem cell researcher Donald Phinney, wondered whetherthose mice were also protected from the fattening of the bone marrow that accompanies a high-fat diet.

They contacted Anutosh Chakraborty, a molecular biologist who was studying such mice down the hall at Scripps at the time. The animals lack the gene for an enzyme called inositol hexakisphosphate kinase 1 (IP6K1), which is known to play a role in fat accumulation and insulin sensitivity. The scientists suspected that the lost enzyme might affect the animals’ mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)stem cells found in the bone marrow that are capable of developing into both thebone cells and fat cells that make up our skeletons. If too many fat cells develop, they take the place of bone cells, weakening the bone.

The researchers fed genetically altered and normal mice a high-fat diet for 8weeks. Not only did the genetically altered mice develop fewer fat cells than their normal counterparts, but their production of bone cells was higher than that of the normal mice, the team reported last month in Stem Cells.

The scientists then set out to see whetherthey could use a drug to achieve the same effect in normal mice. For 8weeks, they fed normal mice a high-fat diet and gave them daily injections of either TNP, a well-known IP6K1 inhibitor, or a placebo. When they analyzed the animals bones and marrow, they found that mice that had received TNP had significantly more bone cells, fewer fat cells, and greater overall bone area. The IP6K1 inhibitor apparently protected the mice from the detrimental effects of the high-fat diet.

The study provided thesurprising result that one new therapy currently being explored to lower insulin resistance promotes, rather than decreases, the formation of bone in mice, says DarwinProckop,a stem cell researcher at Texas A&M College of Medicine in Temple, who was not involved in the work.

The researchers still need to figure out how to deliver TNPs effects only to MSCs, instead of the entire body, given that it sometimes blocks other enzymes along with IP6K1. Inhibition of IP6K1 is a promising target for patients with both diabetes and obesity, Boregowda says. He says he and his colleagues are now enthusiastic about testing their findings in a wide range of bone-related diseases and disorders. It might even help heal broken bones, he speculates.

Phinney, on the other hand, is aiming even higher. He wonders whetherthe therapy could also be useful for space travel, because bones are especially vulnerable to deterioration in zero gravity. Its a whole new field of science and drug discovery.

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New therapy could protect diabetic bones – Science Magazine

Stem Cell Therapy: A Lethal Cure – Medical News Bulletin

Stem cell therapy is a two-step process. First, the patients blood cells are destroyed by chemotherapy, radiation therapy or immunosuppression. This conditioning process also eradicates any cancer cells that survived first-line treatment. Second, the patient receives stem cells harvested from a donors bone marrow or peripheral blood (circulating blood). While this can be an effective cure, it can cause graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in up to 50% of patients. GVHD is more likely to develop in patients who have received a peripheral blood transplant and can kill 15%-20% of patients.

Two types of GVHD can develop, acute and chronic, and patients may develop either one, both or neither type. GVHD is less likely to occur and symptoms are milder if the donor cells closely match those of the patient. Acute GVHD can develop within 100 days of a transplant. The first step of stem cell therapy can cause tissue damage, and bacteria from the gut can escape into the bloodstream. This primes the patients antigen-presenting cells (cells that activate the immune response), which subsequently encourage donor T cells to proliferate and attack the patients tissues. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, nausea, vomiting and liver problems. This can be resolved relatively quickly in one third of patients using immunosuppressive treatments, but some patients can progress to chronic GVHD.

The biological mechanisms responsible for chronic GVHD are not completely understood, but scientists believe that other immune system cells from the donor (B cells and macrophages) are stimulated and damage the patients tissues. Symptoms include dry eyes, mouth sores, muscle weakness, fatigue and joint problems.

Unfortunately, development of effective treatments for GVHD is not keeping up with the increasing number of GVHD patients or with advances in understanding this disease. At present, standard treatments include corticosteroids and drugs that reduce IL-2, an immune system chemical that helps T-cells multiply and diversify. These treatments have various side effects including suppressing the patients immune system, thereby increasing risk of infection.

One challenge stalling drug research is that a small degree of graft-versus-host response must occur for successful stem cell therapy: donor cells will destroy any cancer cells that remain after the first stage of therapy. This challenge is discussed in a recent article in Science Health.Although several treatments have been trialed, success is variable and often targets only acute GVHD or chronic GVHD. Biomarkers have also been detected that may help identify individuals at risk of developing severe GVHD, information that may aid the development of personalized treatment strategies. Drugs that have been approved for other diseases, but not for GVHD, show promise and include ibrutinib for chronic GVHD (approved for specific blood cancers) and ruxolitinib for acute GVHD (approved for bone marrow disorders).

The impact of stem cell therapy must not be underestimated: up to 50% of recipients will develop GVHD. Unfortunately, some individuals will develop chronic GVHD, a condition that is just as difficult to survive as cancer. This highlights the importance of developing continued care strategies for individuals receiving stem cell therapy as a final defence against cancer.

Written byNatasha Tetlow, PhD

Reference: Cohen J. A stem cell transplant helped beat back a young doctors cancer. Now, its assaulting his body. Science Health. 2017. Available at: DOI: 10.1126/science.aan7079

Originally posted here:
Stem Cell Therapy: A Lethal Cure – Medical News Bulletin

Convoy from Children’s Hospital to La Caada carries precious cargo a 2-year-old bone marrow recipient – Los Angeles Times

On Saturday morning, a convoy of vintage Ford Broncos carrying some very precious cargo made a stop at La Caadas Descanso Gardens.

En route from Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, the motorcade was led by a golden 1971 Bronco with Thousand Oaks resident Tyler Kelly at the helm. Tucked safely into a car seat in the back was 2-year-old Pierce Kelly, known by family and friends as Fierce Pierce, still recovering from a July 21 bone marrow transplant.

At the La Caada home of relatives Donna and Dave McLaughlin, Pierce will recuperate under the watchful eye of mom Aubrey. For 100 days following the procedure, he must reside within a 30-minute drive of Childrens Hospital for monitoring.

Saturdays 13-mile drive was just one portion of a tumultuous journey the Kellys have been on since April 7, when Pierce was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. His chance of surviving the devastating illness with treatment alone was only 50%, according to mom Aubrey. But there was one hope if the Kellys could find a bone marrow donor, Pierces odds would improve by at least another 15%.

We were at the mercy of whoever had registered, Aubrey Kelly recalled.

Among the nearly 13.5 million Americans already listed as donors on the Be the Match Marrow Registry, there were no donors close enough to be a match with Pierce.

Raquel Edpao, a community outreach specialist for Be the Match, said on any given day there are 14,000 people like the Kellys, searching registries for a bone marrow match. Its her job to help educate people how simple it is to join the registry and to donate if called.

Potential donors register online at, then receive and turn in a cheek swab. After that, theyre contacted if they are a potential match for someone. Edpao estimates about one out of every 430 registrants will be asked to donate.

There are so many misconceptions about donating, she said, invoking myths about spinal drilling, painful extractions and missed days at work. Its usually as simple as donating blood.

In about 20% of cases donors are asked to undergo a marrow extraction, a 45-minute outpatient procedure involving a general anesthetic.

Luckily for the Kellys, a search of donors worldwide returned a single donor in France whose human leukocyte antigen (HLA) protein was a 10-out-of-10 match with Pierces. While the marrow was shipped, the 2-year-old underwent chemotherapy to destroy most of his damaged stem cells in preparation for the donation.

Its a fine balance of leaving him with enough cells to receive the new ones, but not so many that the new cells dont have enough room to grow, Aubrey Kelly said, explaining how her sons blood type switched from A positive, his own type, to the donors O negative.

Pierces recovery from the transplant requires a sterile environment that means he cannot stay with siblings Sierra, 4, and 6-month-old Harper. Donna McLaughlin, a cousin of Aubrey Kellys dad, said she and husband Dave were happy to offer their home in La Caadas Paradise Valley neighborhood for his recovery.

Ive worked for the past week cleaning my house its never been so clean, she said of her preparation for Pierce and Aubreys 57-day visit. Im being paranoid, I know, but he is going to be OK on my watch.

Knowing he would have to return to Thousand Oaks to take care of Pierces sisters, Tyler Kelly wanted to ensure his sons trip from the hospital would be a special one. The Bronco the same vehicle his mother drove to the hospital in 1981 so he could be delivered, and the same one he and Aubrey have used to get to the delivery room in time for the birth of their own three children seemed a fitting conveyance.

We wanted to continue the tradition, he said.

Hoping to assemble a retinue for the drive, Tyler Kelly reached out to enthusiast club SoCal Broncos and Several people responded, including Agoura Hills Bronco owner Dan Bennett, for whom the cause was personal. About 10 years ago he saved a life by donating his own bone marrow.

To be able to go in and help play an intrinsic role in saving someones life is a really special thing, Bennett said. I think everybody should do it.

Twitter: @SaraCardine

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Convoy from Children’s Hospital to La Caada carries precious cargo a 2-year-old bone marrow recipient – Los Angeles Times

My son died of cancer: Why I’m celebrating his birthday with stem cell awareness – DailyO

Grief is a personal matter.Each of us has our own mechanisms to copethere is no format set in stone, there are no boundaries. For me, the week leading up to my son Arjan Vir’s birthday has always been the most difficult to deal with.

I am overwhelmed by a well of emotions: On the one hand, there are all those happy memories, so much excitement building up to planning those wonderful birthday parties themes to be decided, lists to be made, cards to be distributed, menus, games and oh, the return gifts one mustn’t forget and then this sudden feeling of hollowness, the sinking depths of which words cannot describe.

Beyond words

I lost my 26-year-old son Arjan Vir to Leukaemia in 2012. Arjan was one of those hugely social people with an enviable optimism about him he loved to have people around him and had the enormous ability to attract people, make friends and share his life with them. His friendships were deeply honest and truly meaningful, there was nothing hollow about them. Those around Arjan loved his happy-go-lucky nature and his laidback attitude towards life.

Losing Arjan did not just leave us his family and friends with an irrevocable sense of vacuum, it was felt by the many lives he had touched in some way or the other. Photo:Simi Singh

My son never lost his ability to make friends despite the battle he was fighting with cancer. Arjan had a battalion of friends in the hospital: ward boys, nurses, lab technicians and resident doctors could be seen about his room whenever they had spare time; some asking for advice on which phone to buy, to have the odd computer issue sorted, if nothing else, just to watch him play computer games.

Losing Arjan did not just leave us his family and friends with an irrevocable sense of vacuum, it was felt by the many lives he had touched in some way or the other.

An intensely sensitive child, Arjan worried more about others than himself he was an avid reader, wrote beautiful poetry and had an imagination that went beyond words.

His passion for computer games had pre-determined his career options, he had decided to study computer graphics and 3D computer animation. Even at the hospital, as he underwent treacherous rounds of chemotherapy, cycle after cycle, his imagination worked overtime planning some game or the other based on his treatment.

Knowing BMT

A Leukaemia patient, Arjan needed a bone marrow transplant (BMT). In a layperson’s terms, BMT means that the unhealthy bone marrow is killed under highly sanitised conditions by giving the patient very high doses of chemotherapy and radiation and replaced by a healthy bone marrow. That sounds perfectly simple, but bone marrow transplant remains a complicated and dangerous procedure.

What consequences does that come with?

For the uninitiated, bone marrow is the soft tissue where all our vital blood components RBCs, WBCs, platelets, plasma and stem cells are formed. Killing one’s bone marrow essentially means there is no immunity left to take care of our body.

Where does the healthy bone marrow come from if we are to attempt to rid the body of cancer?

There are two broad types of BMT: Autologous where the unhealthy bone marrow from our body is removed, worked upon or mutated and replaced, and the allogenic transplant in which another person’s healthy bone marrow replaces our own.

With the second type of transplant come incredible complications and the daunting task of finding the donor bone marrow that must replace ours: one needs to find another person whose DNA is identical to ours. The first and most obvious choice, of course, would be a sibling.

However, the chances of finding the identical DNA HLA typing that matches your siblings’ is only 1:4, and if such a match isn’t possible, where do we go?

In Arjan’s case, our younger son’s HLA typing did not match, and the chances of finding an unrelated donor match were one in a million.

This was the worst possible news we could get, worse than the news of Arjan being diagnosed with Leukaemia.

How does one find an identical HLA typing match in this whole world where do you start, whom do you turn to?

[Photo: Weill Cornell Medecine]

Discovering stem cell registry

In 2012, there were no substantial HLA typing registries in India unlike in developed countries, which maintain nationwide registries that are linked to the worldwide bone marrow registry.

The doctors guided us to approach All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) while AIIMS did not have a significant registry of its own, it had a membership with the World Marrow Donors Association (WMDA), and hence could do a worldwide search to find an HLA match for Arjan.

However, institutes likeAIIMS have become desensitised to the urgency that such cases demand and we got no response from them.

At the time, Datri in Chennai was the sole functioning stem cell registry it had about 12,000 donors in its data bank, but we did not get a quick response from them either.

Our son’s doctors here told us that we were sitting on a “time bomb” we needed to act swiftly, we could lose no time and that’s when we decided to take Arjan to the US for his further treatment and then, hopefully, a BMT.

Arjan was distressed to discover the situation in India; when he heard about the lack of registries, his first thought was that once he had recovered, he would set up a meaningful registry at home. His biggest concern was: What do the poor do, where do they go?

And so, five years on, the Arjan Vir Foundation was set up in the memory of our very dear son. Our aim is to run a widespread registry that addresses all blood disorders.

We hope to provide assistance at all stages of treatment, recovery, after care, and the rehabilitation and resettlement of patients.

Registering as a donor is easy: any individual over age 18 can become a donor and be a part of the registry till the age of 60, provided they are healthy.

All that one needs is a simple mouth swab test and the consent to donate stem cells when the need arises. The swabs are sent to a highly-specialised laboratory in the US for HLA typing and the results shared with the worldwide registry maintained by WMDA.

Upon finding a match for a patient, the registry contacts the concerned donor.

The process is not complicated, it is exactly like platelet donation, only a few hours longer: avolunteer must undergo a complete medical check-up prior to donating stem cells and is put on stem cell boosting therapy for about four days before the procedure. No incision is involved and the donor does not require hospitalisation.

It just takes one day of your life and busy schedule to save a life.


Today, as I sat down to write this article, I also planned another kind of a celebration for Arjan’s birthday on September 6: this year, we are holding a camp to bring about awareness about stem cells and register donors at a university in Noida.

Once again there is excitement, albeit of a different kind one held together with a sense of pathos.

Also read: Memories of my mother that Alzheimer’s can’t wipe clean

More here:
My son died of cancer: Why I’m celebrating his birthday with stem cell awareness – DailyO

Appeal to help firefighter battling cancer caused by clinical trial for Crohn’s disease – Deadline News

A VETERAN firefighter is battling blood cancer caused by taking part in a trial of a new treatment for his Crohns disease.Gary Dall, who has spent almost 30 years saving lives, has an aggressive form of myelodysplasia (MDS) a type of cancer where the bone marrow fails to make enough healthy blood cells.The 49-year-old from Kirkcaldy, Fife, agreed to take part in a clinical trial to cure his Crohns disease seven years ago.Gary says he was advised there was a low risk of developing cancer as a result of the treatment, which involved a transplant of his own stem cells, taking medication and undergoing chemotherapy.Last year, doctors discovered the father-of-fours blood count was low and bone marrow tests showed that he had MDS.The only cure for Gary is for him is to have a second stem cell transplant which he can only have when he finds a suitable donor.Now, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and blood cancer charity, The Anthony Nolen Trust are holding a public donor event at Kirkcaldy fire station next weekend to find a donor.Gary, a group manager at Kirkcaldy station, was on medication for Crohns, a long-term condition which causes inflammation of the digestive system and currently affects 115,000 people in the UK.Seven years ago, his medication for the disease stopped working.

Gary said today (thu): I was offered a clinical trial and took it. The trial involved taking medication to increase my blood cells and then chemotherapy.They would have told me about the risks involved but with the state I was in, I cant remember much.The risks for something like this are low.Speaking about the appeal for a second stem cell donor he added: Ive been told theres a 60% chance I will find a match because Im white and British so match a lot of people on the register but the more people that donate, the more will help save others lives too.Gary told his local paper this week: It was just one of those things that a treatment for one disease led to me getting another. Its not nice, but Im just taking things as they come and hoping that a match can be found.When we first found out my family were shocked, and it has taken a bit of getting used to.After hearing that fan Gary was in need of a transplant, members from Raith Rovers Football team signed up to a national bone marrow register.Kirkcaldy fire station will be holding a drive on September 16 to encourage members of the public to join a register to potentially become a bone marrow donor.Healthy people, aged between 16 and 30 are eligible to register to become stem cell donors.They will have to fill out a form and provide a saliva sample on the day but are advised not to eat or drink anything half an hour before attending.There is currently no cure for Crohns disease but medics provide treatment to stop the inflammatory process, relieve symptoms and avoid surgery wherever possible.Past research has shown that patients with Crohns disease of the small and/or large intestine have an increased risk of developing cancer at these areas.Gary, who was diagnosed with Crohns disease 13 years ago, today revealed that the treatment puts 95% of patients into remission. Tragically, he has been left with bith Crohns and cancer.He said the trial was offered via NHS Fife. Called Autologous Stem cell Transplantation International Crohns (ASTIC), the treatment has been undergone by crohns sufferers worldwide.

Today Gary said: The medication I was given wasnt working at all so I was told about about the ASTIC trial instead of having to get my bowels removed.It was an attempt to cure it. 95% of people over the world that have had it go into remission. Unfortunately I was one of the five percent that didnt.Gary said his blood cancer is only curable if he gets a matching donor.He added: The drive isnt just about me though, its about everyone else who could be saved by people getting registered as donors.Treatment would involve destroying Garys own bone marrow cells with chemotherapy before having stem cells from a donor fed into his bloodstream via a drip.Amy Bartlett, Register Development Manager for Scotland at the Anthony Nolan Trust, said: We were deeply saddened to learn about Garys diagnosis, and we will support him in every step of his search for a lifesaving donor.Im looking forward to working with our close partners in the SFRS in Kirkcaldy to recruit even more potential lifesavers to the Anthony Nolan register every person who signs up has the potential to help someone like Gary whos in need of a stem cell transplant.We know from the amazing response to Ava Starks appeal for a lifesaving donor how brilliant the people of Fife, and Scotland, are in rallying behind someone in desperate need.

Read more from the original source:
Appeal to help firefighter battling cancer caused by clinical trial for Crohn’s disease – Deadline News

U of R hosts stem cell swabbing initiative to help save lives through national database –

At just four-years-old, Erica Honoways son has gone through more than most people will experience in a lifetime.

In February 2016, the family received devastating news, her son Lincoln had been diagnosed with bone marrow failure. He was just three years old at the time.

Lincoln needed a bone marrow transplant, and doctors were only able to find two matches in the entire world. The first donor fell through, so Lincoln was left with only one option.

It was terrifying. We didnt know what we were dealing with, Honoway said. We didnt know what the chances were they would find a match for him. Even if they did, we didnt know if he would make it through the transplant, so it was the scariest experience of our lives.

After the blood transfusions, chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplant, Lincoln is now a happy and active four year old, all thanks to an unknown hero.

This person has just been our angel, Honoway said. We love her and we dont even know her. We say her We have a feeling its a woman but we dont know anything about this person. We dont know where in the world they live, we dont know if its a man or a woman, we dont know anything. But all we know is that they are our hero.

Honoway added that they must wait a minimum of two years before they can meet the donor.

Lincolns successful transplant was the reason Honoway and her family were supporting the University of Reginas Get Swabbed event on Monday, to encourage students between the ages of 17 and 35 to get their cheeks swabbed and enter a national stem call database.

I heard about Erica and Lincoln and I just thought it was amazing how someone just saved his life, and she doesnt even know who he is or who she is, I just think its amazing, U of R Stem Cell Club president Sylvia Okonofua said. I felt like if I take up this initiative and actually run drives where people [can get] on the stem cell registry, [it can] help save a life someday.

Getting students involved and realizing their impact of their involvement through something like this was one of the main goals, U of R student engagement co-ordinator Doug OBrien said. Another goal of having todays Get Swabbed initiative was obviously to support the stem cell database for Canada and through the One Match program.

Approximately 80 students took part in Mondays Get Swabbed event, and organizers are hoping to increase that number for the next event on Sept. 14.

Its a simple way to help save a life.

I hope people realize that they have the opportunity to save someones life, imagine what that would feel like, Honoway said. Youd get to know forever that you saved another humans life. Its pretty special.

2017Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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U of R hosts stem cell swabbing initiative to help save lives through national database –

Bone marrow transplant on record run in SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack – The New Indian Express

Bishnupriya Nayak at BMT unit after bone marrow transplantation | Express

BHUBANESWAR: The Haematology Department of SCB Medical College and Hospital (SCBMCH) at Cuttack has notched up a record of sorts and achieved a new milestone in the country by performing 50 bone marrow transplantations in just over three years.

The special Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) unit started in February 2014 has conducted its 50th procedure on Bishnupriya Nayak (40), a cancer patient from Koelnagar in Rourkela, on Sunday.Head of the department Prof Rabindra Kumar Jena said it is a significant achievement as SCBMCH having all state-of-the-art facilities is the only State-run hospital in the country to complete 50 cases and provide BMT services completely free of cost.

We have a great record of survival rate of patients than other such units elsewhere in the country. Of 50 cases conducted so far, 47 patients are healthy and doing normal activities. Two died due to infection within a month after BMT procedure, another succumbed to brain stroke (not related to BMT or disease) on 178th day, he said.

The BMT unit at SCBMCH has also established a few international and national distinctions. The eldest transplant conducted so far in Asia and Europe region belonged to the unit. Zabar Khan (74), who was suffering from multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer) is doing fine after the procedure was performed.Similarly, five patients, aged over 65, have been transplanted successfully which is first-of-its-kind in India, Asia and Europe. The first BMT, also known as stem cell transplant, was performed on Sakuntala Sahoo (54) from Kendrapara district on April 23, 2014.

The unit has also mobilised the stem cell adequately in many complicated blood cancer patients who had very low stem cell blood level of 8.7 per micro litre, besides multiple chemotherapy treated cases and successfully performed BMT procedures.

Stating that the priority is being given on adequate stem cell mobilization, collection and engraftment (proper functioning of new bone marrow graft), Prof Jena said the unit is going to start allogenic BMT soon.

We have been doing autologous transplants so far. Our next plan is to start allogenic transplants. We are poised to take complicated cancer patients for BMT. Besides, plans are afoot to expand the unit to a 20-room ward to accommodate huge waiting lists patients, including thalassemia, sickle sell disease and various cancer patients, he added.

Read the original here:
Bone marrow transplant on record run in SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack – The New Indian Express

Chemo-boosting drug discovered for leukaemia – Drug Target Review – Drug Target Review

Drugs developed to treat heart and blood vessel problems could be used to treat leukaemia

Drugs developed to treat heart and blood vessel problems could be used in combination with chemotherapy to treat an aggressive form of adult leukaemia.

Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute, Kings College London and Barts Cancer Institute discovered that acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) causes bone marrow to leak blood, preventing chemotherapy from being delivered properly.

Drugs that reversed bone marrow leakiness boosted the effect of chemotherapy in mice and human tissue, providing a possible new combination therapy for AML patients.

To study how AML affects bone marrow, the researchers injected mice with bone marrow from AML patients. Later, they compared their bone marrow with healthy mice using a technique called intravital microscopy that allows you to see biological processes in live animals. They found that pre-loaded fluorescent dyes leaked out of the bone marrow blood vessels in AML mice, but not healthy mice.

Next, the team tried to understand what caused the bone marrow in AML mice to become leaky by studying molecular changes in the cells lining the blood vessels. They found that they were oxygen-starved compared to healthy mice, likely because AML cells use up a lot of oxygen in the surrounding tissue. In response to a reduction in oxygen, there was an increase in nitric oxide (NO) production a molecule that usually alerts the body to areas of low oxygen.

As NO is a muscle relaxant, the team suspected that it might be causing bone marrow leakiness by loosening the tight seams between cells, allowing blood to escape through the gaps. By blocking the production of NO using drugs, the team were able to restore bone marrow blood vessels in AML mice, preventing blood from leaking out. Mice given NO blockers in combination with chemotherapy had much slower leukaemia progression and stayed in remission much longer than mice given chemotherapy alone.

When the vessels are leaky, bone marrow blood flow becomes irregular and leukaemia cells can easily find places to hide and escape chemotherapy drugs, said researcher Dr Diana Passaro. Leaky vessels also prevent oxygen reaching parts of the bone marrow, which contributes to more NO production and leakiness.

By restoring normal blood flow with NO blockers, we ensure that chemotherapy actually reaches the leukaemia cells, so that therapy works properly, she added.

In addition to ensuring that chemotherapy drugs reach their targets, the team also found that NO blockers boosted the number of stem cells in the bone marrow. This may also improve treatment outcomes by helping healthy cells to out-compete cancerous cells.

The team also found that bone marrow biopsies from AML patients had higher NO levels than those from healthy donors, and failure to reduce NO levels was associated with chemotherapy failure.

Our findings suggest that it might be possible to predict how well people with AML will respond to chemotherapy, said Dr Dominique Bonnet, senior author of the paper and Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute.

Weve uncovered a biological marker for this type of leukaemia as well as a possible drug target. The next step will be clinical trials to see if NO blockers can help AML patients as much as our pre-clinical experiments suggest.

We found that the cancer was damaging the walls of blood vessels responsible for delivering oxygen, nutrients, and chemotherapy. When we used drugs to stop the leaks in mice, we were able to kill the cancer using conventional chemotherapy, said Dr Passaro. As the drugs are already in clinical trials for other conditions, it is hoped that they could be given the green light for AML patients in the future.

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Chemo-boosting drug discovered for leukaemia – Drug Target Review – Drug Target Review

Irish researcher bags 150000 to make 3D-printed knee implant –

Irish researcher Prof Daniel Kelly has secured 150,000 in funding to develop a novel implant for treating cartilage damage.

As a recipient of one of the European Research Councils Proof of Concept grants, Prof Daniel Kelly will now spend the next 18 months developing his 3D-printed project entitled Anchor.

Using the 150,000, Kelly will look to develop and commercialise his new medicinal product for cartilage regeneration, employing a postdoctoral researcher to help.

Those active in many sports would be familiar with cartilage damage as a result of injury, of which many cases occur in the knee joint. If left untreated, it can lead to difficulties such as osteoarthritis (OA).

OA can be a debilitating condition, with 80pc of those over the age of 60 experiencing limitations in movement and 25pc saying they cannot perform their major daily activities, according to the World Health Organisation.

Kellys product uses 3D-printed, biodegradable polymer components to make a scaffold, which acts as a template to guide the growth of new tissue by recruiting endogenous bone marrow derived from stem cells.

This, Kelly believes, gives it a competitive edge over similar implants, as standard ones are designed with a finite lifespan, making them unsuitable for younger patients with OA.

Kelly, a principal investigator at AMBER the Trinity College Dublin materials science research centre explained why it could be a major breakthrough for other conditions, such as arthritis.

Our 3D-printed polymer posts will anchor the implant into the bone and will be porous to stimulate the migration of stem cells from the bone marrow into the body of the scaffold, he said.

While various scaffolds like this have been available for some time, they have had limited success, partly because scaffolds need to be anchored securely due to the high forces experienced within the joint. Our 3D-printed posts overcome this problem.

Prior to Anchor, Kelly had worked on this technology in previous projects, such as the ERC-funded StemRepair project to develop a range of porous cartilage-derived scaffolds, and JointPrint.

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Irish researcher bags 150000 to make 3D-printed knee implant –

SCB conducts 50th bone marrow transplant – Times of India

CUTTACK: The bone marrow transplant unit of SCB Medical College and Hospital achieved a feat on Sunday by successfully conducting its 50th bone marrow transplant (BMT)surgery.

The 50th patient to be operated on Sunday was Bishnupriya Nayak, 40, a cancer patient from Rourkela in Sundargarh district.

The BMT wing was started at SCB in 2014 and in three years the department has operated 50 patients. Besides, it has managed to conduct BMT surgery on a 74-year-old patient Zabar Khan. Hospital authorities claimed that he is the oldest person to undergo bone marrow transplant in the country. “Zabar Khan, a patient of multiple myeloma, was operated in 2015 and he is doing fine. He is the oldest patient to undergo BMT in Asia. Adding to it, we have done BMT on five patients who are above 65 years of age. In elderly patients, the risk factor is quite high,” said head of the BMT unit, Dr R K Jena.

Jena highlighted that so far only three patients out of the 50 have died. “Two patients died due to infection while one succumbed to brain stroke,” added Jena.

See more here:
SCB conducts 50th bone marrow transplant – Times of India

Regulating Bone Marrow Protein can Improve Stem Cell Transplants – CMFE News (press release) (blog)

A recent study has identified a key protein capable of regulating the process of new blood cells, including immune cells, which can potentially improve bone and stem cell transplants for donors as well as recipients. The researchers at Technical University of Dresden, Germany, led by the University of Pennsylvania, USA, found that a protein known as Del-1 occupies a key role in the process of hematopoiesis. In addition, researchers inferred that the protein regulator may be modulated to act as potential drug targets in patients affected by certain blood cancers types.

The findings were reported this week (August 28 September 1, 2017) in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Del-1 Expression in Hematopoetic Malignancy Key to Boost Myelopoesis in Bone Marrow Transplants

Initially, some of the researchers discovered that Del-1 was the soluble protein that acted as a powerful drug target in gum diseases. Further investigating the role of the protein in hematopoetic malignancy, they inferred that it played a more global role by establishing its expression in a variety of cell types in bone marrow, most notable of them being endothelial cells, CAR cells, and osteoblasts.

The scientists observed that hematopoietic stem cells plays an increasingly important role in various stressful conditions such as bone marrow injury, stem cell transplantation, or systemic infection. These cells affect the production of myeloid cells that forms the core of bone marrow transplants.

Modulating Protein Regulator may Prove Promising in Some Chemotherapies

The team found that the presence of Del-1 in recipient bone marrow facilitated the process of engrafting in recipients by greatly influencing myelopoesis and consequently boosting the formation of new blood cells. The results were observed in experiments conducted in mice suffering with systemic infection. Whereas, in donors, limiting the interaction between the protein and hematopoetic stem cells could boost donor cell numbers in the blood stream, inferred scientists.

Furthermore, the research team observed that the protein regulator also boosts the production of immune-related blood cells. Thus, this may prove to benefit patients suffering with febrile neutropenia who are undergoing chemotherapy.

The rest is here:
Regulating Bone Marrow Protein can Improve Stem Cell Transplants – CMFE News (press release) (blog)

Our Community: Firm pitches in for Woodwynn Farms – Times Colonist

An event-rental business haspartnered with a therapeutic community to introduce altruism into its business model, producing a new kind of accountable commerce.

The Wise Co. has announced it will offer a collection of rental furniture designed and produced by the therapeutic community at Woodwynn Farms.

I had often worked with people who were incredibly generous, and wanted to do good for their communities, said Niecia Dunn, CEO and founder. But due to the hastiness of [the] Western lifestyle, [they] lacked the network or ability to source the right target for the resources they had to offer.

People can now support the farm through renting reasonably priced furniture produced by the farms residents.

Half of all rental costs for the lifetime of the products will return to the 193-acre farm to fund the Believe in People program established by social pioneer Richard Leblanc.

The goal of the program is to raise $30,000 what it costs to sponsor a participant to live at the farm for a year.

The unveiling of the first piece of furniture from the new rental partnership line will take place at a four-course Fall Harvest Dinner, hosted by the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Sept.7 at Woodwynn Farms, 7789West Saanich Rd.

For more information, go to

Donating blood saves lives. Last week, a Vancouver Island woman got to celebrate her 55th birthday and to meet the person whose blood donation made it possible.

Ann Radelet was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2003 and underwent three years of chemotherapy. By 2006, the cancer had returned and had transformed into a secondary cancer. The only hope left for her was a bone-marrow transplant.

Her doctor suggested they try a stem-cell transplant instead of a marrow transplant.

But they needed a donor.

The doctors look at antigens in the blood, which they rate out of 10. They tested Radelets two siblings, but found only a five-out-of-10 match, which was not good enough. So they went further afield, looking for donors in a worldwide registry.

Just as she was undergoing her seventh round of chemotherapy, Radelet got the news that they found a nine-out-of-10 match, which translates into a 70per cent success rate.

She received the donated stem cells in February 2007.

She has been cancer-free since then.

Donors are protected by privacy regulations. Radelet was told she would have to wait two years before she could inquire about the donor and only if the donor would allow it.

She eventually found out the donor was a woman named Nicole from Duisburg, Germany. The two corresponded and have talked frequently since then.

When Nicole and Radelet spoke for the first time, they said: We are blood sisters, and that name has stuck for the pair.

In August, Nicole and her sister (an eight-out-of-10 match) visited Vancouver Island for their first meeting in person.

We are all so very excited. I cant ever thank her enough, but I will honour her any way I can, said Radelet. I am so grateful for the team at Vancouver General Hospital and the Canadian Blood Services. They save so many lives in more ways than one.

I am forever eternally grateful to Nicki; she donated blood and stem cells and saved my life. Thank you to all the blood donors out there. I needed lots of it during all my chemotherapy.

My family is still whole. My mother still has her daughter, my brothers still have their sister, my children still have their mom, my husband still has his wife, and now I am a grandma to three adorable babies. I am the most fortunate woman in the world.

Canadian Blood Services maintains the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network. It is responsible for finding and matching volunteer donors to patients who require stem-cell transplants.

For more information on the network, what it entails and how it saves lives, go to

Need2 Suicide Prevention and Education Support is hosting a public gathering to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, Sunday, Sept. 10 in Centennial Square.

This marks the 15th year of the event. The gathering aims to bring awareness to the efforts to prevent deaths by suicide and the devastating effects of suicide.

The gathering is an open forum where everyone can share. Educational information will be available, along with Need2 support staff.

Suicide is difficult to talk about. It is emotionally charged and carries a great deal of associated shame and stigma.

When persons who are feeling suicidal try to talk about their feelings of desperation, hopelessness and alienation, there is often no one who can really hear their pain.

Need2 provides assistance (urgent or general), runs suicide-prevention programs, puts on workshops and provides information.

The event runs 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 10 in Centennial Square. For more information, go to

Kane Mercer has just completed a cycle tour across Canada in memory of his father and to raise awareness and funds for Victoria Hospice and palliative care.

Like life, long journeys can be challenging and full of unexpected difficulties, said Mercer. But through a positive attitude, support from friendly people and a consistent effort, these hurdles can be overcome.

In honour of the fifth year since his passing, Mercer is keeping the memory of his father alive with this epic cycling tour across Canada called Ride for Rand.

I decided to make this ride in support of Victoria Hospice in acknowledgment of the support they gave my father and my family, he said. Hospice is a chronically underfunded and neglected area, which I feel deserves attention.

Donations fund almost half of Victoria Hospices annual operating costs. Funds enable it to provide the best possible end-of-life care. For more information, or to donate, go to

The Cook Street Village Activity Centre has just published its Fall Program Guide, listing the many fun and interesting events for the entire family.

Cribbage Tournament Everyone is welcome to this social tournament. It costs $5 to join. It runs 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Sept.13.

Welcome Back to Fall New and seasoned friends are invited to learn about new programs, events and activities. Enjoy a Syrian meal, and watch a play about Emily Carr at this family-friendly event.

Tickets are $12 (or $10 for members) and $6 for children. The event runs 12:20 to 2:30 p.m., Sept. 14 Please purchase tickets by Sept. 8.

International Day of Older Persons Celebrate the United Nations International Day of Older Persons with free activities. This event is free to attend. It runs 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 30.

Other activities taking place at the centre include yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, learning different languages, workshops, music, art, listening to guest speakers, learning about computers and seasonal events.

Membership includes discounted rates for courses and daily drop-in programs.

Volunteers are always welcome.

All events take place at the Cook Street Village Activity Centre, 380 Cook St.

For more information, go to

Seniors Serving Seniors is recruiting volunteers for its Return to Health Program, as well as candidates for its October training session.

Training for volunteers, funded by the United Way of Greater Victoria, consists of a comprehensive course on seniors concerns and services.

Graduates also attend monthly, two-hour support meetings throughout the year.

Return to Health volunteers provide companionship and social support for frail seniors returning home after a hospital stay.

Volunteers visit clients and offer assistance to help them connect to services and regain self-confidence. The goal of the program is to assist clients in finding practical services they might need following hospitalization, re-socializing and making new friends at seniors social programs in the area.

Training includes: Effective communication skills, nutrition, the effects of disease on normal aging, navigating the health-care system, and how to get access to community programs.

Training for new volunteers takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. every Thursday over five weeks beginning on Oct. 19.

Please call the Return to Health education co-ordinator, Donna Ross, at 250-655-1327 to register for the information session on Oct. 12.

For more information, go to

Deconstructing Comfort, an interdisciplinary arts exhibition presenting the work of seven contemporary Indigenous artists and artists of colour, opens Friday at Open Space.

Artists include Luli Eshraghi, Jamelie Hassan, Syrus Marcus Ware, Lisa Myers, Nadia Myre, Haruko Okano and Philip Kevin Paul.

The exhibition co-curators, Michelle Jacques, Doug Jarvis and France Trpanier, examine: Decolonization and Indigenization; issues raised by Black Lives Matter; calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Islamophobia; unsettling settlers; and Canada 150 celebrations.

Deconstructing Comfort runs to Oct. 14. A public reception will take place on Sept. 25 as part of the public program for the Primary Colours/Couleurs primaires gathering.

This three-year initiative seeks to place Indigenous art practices at the centre of the Canadian art system. It also asserts that art practices by people of colour, which have roots around the world, play a critical role in any discussion that imagines Canadas future.

The initiative includes a major multidisciplinary, trilingual Lekwungen, French and English gathering at the Songhees Wellness Centre, on Lekwungen territories.

For more information, go to

More than a dozen survivors of Japanese-Canadian internment during the Second World War will speak of their experiences at a luncheon commemorating the 75th anniversary of the saga, Sept. 10.

The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society is hosting the event, which tells the tragedy of the relocation and internment of Japanese-Canadians during the conflict.

Because its so hard to imagine this happening today, its critical that all Canadians whether they have Japanese heritage or not remember what happened with the internments during the Second World War, said Tsugio Kurushima, president of the society. We are fortunate to still have first-hand witnesses who can share their stories with the generations who followed them.

From 1942 until 1949 (four years after the end of the war), Japanese-Canadians living in coastal British Columbia were detained by the government. They were relocated to camps and farms in the Interior and in the rest of Canada, restricted in their movement and stripped of their businesses and homes.

To add insult to injury, the sale of their personal property was used to fund the internments.

People who never committed a crime were treated like criminals simply because of their heritage, said Kurushima. Its a wrong the Canadian government apologized for in 1988, along with the launch of a redress program.

There will also be a presentation by Jordan Stanger-Ross, director of the Landscapes of Injustice project, housed at the University of Victoria.

He will give an update on the project, which explores the forced dispossession of Japanese-Canadians.

The event includes a buffet lunch with two hot entres, including a vegetarian lasagna option.

Tickets are $15 adults, $7.50 for children 5 to 12. The event runs 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Ambrosia Event Centre, 638 Fisgard St.

Tickets available from Patti Ayukawa, Real English Victoria, #301 1111 Blanshard St. or 250-858-8445. For more information, go to

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Our Community: Firm pitches in for Woodwynn Farms – Times Colonist

In Osteoporosis, differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells …

Biol Res 45: 279-287, 2012


In Osteoporosis, differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) improves bone marrow adipogenesis

Ana Mara Pino1, Clifford J. Rosen2 and J. Pablo Rodrguez1*

1Laboratorio de Biologa Celular y Molecular, INTA, Universidad de Chile, 2Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Scarborough, Maine, USA.


The formation, maintenance, and repair of bone tissue involve close interlinks between two stem cell types housed in the bone marrow: the hematologic stem cell originating osteoclasts and mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) generating osteoblasts. In this review, we consider malfunctioning of MSCs as essential for osteoporosis. In osteoporosis, increased bone fragility and susceptibility to fractures result from increased osteoclastogenesis and insufficient osteoblastogenesis.

MSCs are the common precursors for both osteoblasts and adipocytes, among other cell types. MSCs’ commitment towards either the osteoblast or adipocyte lineages depends on suitable regulatory factors activating lineage-specific transcriptional regulators. In osteoporosis, the reciprocal balance between the two differentiation pathways is altered, facilitating adipose accretion in bone marrow at the expense of osteoblast formation; suggesting that under this condition MSCs activity and their microenvironment may be disturbed. We summarize research on the properties of MSCs isolated from the bone marrow of control and osteoporotic post-menopausal women. Our observations indicate that intrinsic properties of MSCs are disturbed in osteoporosis. Moreover, we found that the regulatory conditions in the bone marrow fluid of control and osteoporotic patients are significantly different. These conclusions should be relevant for the use of MSCs in therapeutic applications.

Key words: MSCs, osteoporosis, adipogenesis, bone marrow microenvironment


The formation, maintenance, and repair of bone tissue depend on fine-tuned interlinks in the activities of cells derived from two stem cell types housed in the bone marrow interstice. A hematologic stem cell originates osteoclasts, whereas osteoblasts derive from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Bone tissue is engaged in an unceasing process of remodelling through the turnover and replacement of the matrix: while osteoblasts deposit new bone matrix, osteoclasts degrade the old one.

Bone marrow provides an environment for maintaining bone homeostasis. The functional relationship among the different cells found in bone marrow generates a distinctive microenvironment via locally produced soluble factors, the extracellular matrix components, and systemic factors (Raisz, 2005; Sambrook and Cooper, 2006), allowing for autocrine, paracrine and endocrine activities. If only the main cellular components of the marrow stroma are considered, the activity of adipocytes, macrophages, fibroblasts, hematopoietic, endothelial and mesenchymal stem cells and their progeny bring about a complex range of signals.

Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by both decreased bone quality and mineral density. In postmenopausal osteoporosis, increased bone fragility and susceptibility to fractures result from increased osteoclastogenesis, inadequate osteoblastogenesis and altered bone microarchitecture.

The pathogenesis of the disease is hitherto unknown, hence the interest in basic and clinical research on the mechanisms involved (Raisz, 2005; Sambrook and Cooper, 2006). Cell studies on the origin of postmenopausal osteoporosis initially focused on osteoclastic activity and bone resorption processes; then on osteoblastogenesis, and more recently on the differentiation potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) (Shoback, 2007). Moreover, distinctive environmental bone marrow conditions appear to provide support for the development and maintenance of unbalanced bone formation and resorption (Nuttall and Gimble, 2004; Tontonoz et al., 1994). In this review, we consider the participation of the differentiation potential of MSCs, the activity of bone marrow adipocytes and the generation of a distinctive bone marrow microenvironment.


Bone marrow contains stem-like cells that are precursors of nonhematopoietic tissues. These cells were initially referred to as plastic-adherent cells or colony forming-unit fibroblasts and subsequently as either mesenchymal stem cells or marrow stromal cells (MSCs) (Minguell et al., 2001; Lindnera et al., 2010; Kolf et al., 2007). There is much interest in these cells because of their ability to serve as a feeder layer for the growth of hematopoietic stem cells, their multipotentiality for differentiation, and their possible use for both cell and gene therapy (Minguell et al., 2001; Kolf et al., 2007). Friedenstein et al. (1970) initially isolated MSCs by their adherence to tissue culture surfaces, and essentially the same protocol has been used by other investigators. The isolated cells were shown to be multipotential in their ability to differentiate in culture or after implantation in vivo, giving rise to osteoblasts, chondrocytes, adipocytes, and/or myocytes.

MSCs populations in the bone marrow or those that are isolated and maintained in culture are not homogenous, but rather consist of a mixture of uncommitted, partially committed and committed progenitors exhibiting divergent stemness (Baksh et al., 2004). These heterogeneous precursor cells are morphologically similar to the multipotent mesenchymal stem cells, but differ in their gene transcription range (Baksh et al., 2004). It has been proposed that in such populations, cell proliferation, differentiation and maturation are in principle independent; stem cells divide without maturation, while cells close to functional competence may mature, but do not divide (Song et al., 2006).

Several molecular markers identify committed progenitors and the end-stage phenotypes, but at present there are no reliable cell markers to identify the uncommitted mesenchymal stem cells. Given the difficulty to identify a single marker to evaluate the population of stem cells, various combinations of these markers may be used (Seo et al., 2004; Lin et al., 2008; Xu et al., 2009). Therefore, MSCs are mainly defined in terms of their functional capabilities: self-renewal, multipotential differentiation and transdifferentiation (Baksh et al., 2004).

Hypothetically, the fate of MSCs appears to be determined during very early stages of cell differentiation (“commitment”). During this mostly unknown period, both intrinsic (genetic) and environmental (local and/or systemic) conditions interplay to outline the cell’s fate towards one of the possible lineages. Based on microarray assays comparing gene expression at the stem state and throughout differentiation, it has been proposed that MSCs multilineage differentiation involves a selective mode of gene expression (Baksh et al., 2004; Song et al., 2006). It appears that “stemness” is characterized by promiscuous gene expression, where pluripotential differentiation results from the maintenance of thousands of genes at their intermediate expression levels. Upon commitment to one fate, only the few genes that are needed for differentiation towards the target tissue are selected for continuous expression, while the rest are downregulated (Zipori, 2005; Zipori, 2006).

The gene expression profile of undifferentiated human MSCs (h-MSCs) show high expression of several genes (Song et al., 2006; Tremain et al., 2001), but the contribution of such genes in preserving h-MSC properties, such as self-renewal and multilineage differentiation potential, or in regulating essential signalling pathways is largely unknown (Song et al., 2006). Several factors like age (Zhou et al., 2008), culture condition (Kultere et al., 2007), microenvironment (Kuhn and Tuan, 2010), mechanical strain (McBride et al., 2008) and some pathologies (Seebach et al., 2007; Hofer et al., 2010) appear to affect MSCs’ intrinsic activity.

MSCs’ commitment towards either the osteoblast or adipocyte lineage is determined by a combination of regulatory factors in the cells’ microenvironment. The adequate combination leads to the activation of lineage-specific transcriptional regulators, including Runx2, Dlx5, and osterix for osteoblasts, and PPARy2 and a family of CAAT enhancer binding proteins for adipocytes (Murunganandan et al., 2009). Although the appropriate collection of regulatory factors required for suitable differentiation of MSCs is largely unknown, the TGF/BMPs, Wnt and IGF-I signals are briefly considered.

Several components of the BMP family are secreted in the MSCs’ microenvironment (Lou et al., 1999, Gori et al., 1999; Gimble et al., 1995); BMP-2/4/6/7 have been identified as mediators for MSCs differentiation into osteoblasts or adipocytes (Muruganadan et al., 2009). The intracellular effects of BMPs are mediated by an interaction with cell surface BMP receptors (BMPRs type I and type II) (Gimble et al., 1995). It seems that differentiation into adipocytes or osteoblasts is highly dependent on the type of receptor I expressed by the cells, so that adipogenic differentiation requires signaling through BMPR IA, while osteogenic differentiation is dependent on BMPR IB activation (Gimble et al., 1995). The active receptors trigger the activation of Smad proteins, which induce specific genes. Under osteogenic differentiation, BMP action promotes osterix formation through Runx2-dependent and Runx2-independent pathways, thereby triggering osteogenic differentiation (Gori et al., 1999; Shapiro, 1999).

In addition to the role of BMPs in bone formation, BMPs also positively mediate the adipogenic differentiation pathways (Haiyan et al., 2009). It has been demonstrated that there is a binding site for Smad proteins in the promoter region of PPARy2 (Lecka-Czernik et al., 1999), and over-expression of Smad2 protein suppresses the expression of Runx2 (Li et al., 1998). These observations suggest that adequate content of osteoblasts and adipocytes in the bone marrow is dependent on balanced signaling through this pathway. Moreover, considering the distinct role assigned to BMPRIA and BMPRIB, the temporal gain or loss of a subtype of BMP receptors by MSCs could be critical for commitment and subsequent differentiation (Gimble et al., 1995144).

Wnt signaling in MSCs is also decisive for the reciprocal relationship among the osteo/adipogenic pathways. Activation of the Wnt/p-catenin pathway directs MSCs differentiation towards osteoblasts instead of adipocytes (Bennett et al., 2005; Ross et al., 2000; Moldes et al., 2003). Animal studies have shown that activation of the Wnt signaling pathway increases bone mass, preventing both hormone-dependent and age-induced bone loss (Bennett et al., 2005). Furthermore, Wnt activation may control cell commitment towards osteoblasts by blocking adipogenesis through the inhibition of the expression of both C/EBP and PPARy adipogenic transcription factors, as demonstrated in vivo in humans (Qiu et al., 2007), in transgenic mice expressing Wnt 10b (Bennett et al., 2005) and in vitro (Rawadi et al., 2003). MSCs’ self-renewing and maintenance of the undifferentiated state appear to be dependent on appropriate canonical Wnt signaling, promoting increased proliferation and decreased apoptosis (Boland et al., 2004; Cho et al., 2006). The overexpression of LRP5, an essential co-receptor specifically involved in canonical Wnt signaling, has been reported to increase proliferation of MSCs (Krishnan et al., 2006). In addition, disruption in vivo or in vitro of -catenin signaling promoted spontaneous conversion of various cell types into adipocytes (Bennett et al., 2002). Moreover, the importance of this pathway for bone mineral density has been highlighted by the observation that genetic variations at either the LRP5 or Wnt10b gene locus are associated with osteoporosis (Brixen et al., 2007; Usui et al., 2007).

Also, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) signalling is clearly an important factor in skeletal development. The IGF regulatory system consists of IGFs (IGF-I and IGF-II), Type I and Type II IGF receptors, and regulatory proteins including IGF-binding proteins (IGFBP-1-6) and the acid-labile subunit (ALS) (Rosen et al., 1994). The ligands in this system (i.e. IGFs) are potent mitogens, and in some circumstances differentiation factors, that are bound in the circulation and interstitial fluid as binary (to IGFBPs) or ternary complexes (IGF-ALS-IGFBP-3 or -5) with little free IGF-I or -II. IGF bio-availability is regulated by the interaction of these molecules at the receptor level; hence changes in any component of the system will have profound effects on the biologic activity of the ligand. The IGFBPs have a particularly important role in regulating IGF-I access to its receptor, since their binding affinity exceeds that of the IGF receptors. The IGF system is unique because the IGFBPs are regulated in a cell-specific manner at the pericellular microenvironment, such that small changes in their concentrations could strongly influence the mitogenic activity of IGF-I (Jones and Clemmons, 1995; Hwa and Rosenfeld, 1999; Firth and Baxter, 2002). IGFs are expressed virtually by all tissues, and circulate in high concentrations. Although nearly 80% of the circulating IGF-I comes from hepatic sources, both bone and fat synthesize IGF-I and these tissues contribute to the total circulating pool. Locally produced IGF-I predominates over circulating IGF-I in maintaining skeletal integrity (Rosen et al., 1994; Kawai and Rosen, 2010), and both ALS and IGFBP-3 participate in regulating bone function. However, the possible autocrine/paracrine roles of IGF-I and IGFBPs in marrow (Liu et al., 1993; Peng et al., 2003) or in osteoblast (Zhao et al., 2000; Zhang et al., 2002; Wang et al., 2007) are practically unknown.


Since in the bone marrow MSCs are the common precursor cells for osteoblast and adipocytes, adequate osteoblast formation requires diminished adipogenesis. As pointed out above, MSCs commitment and differentiation into a specific phenotype depends on hormonal and local factors (paracrine/autocrine) regulating the expression and/or activity of master differentiation genes (Nuttall and Gimble, 2004; Muruganadan et al., 2009) (Figure 1). A reciprocal relationship has been postulated to exist between the two differentiation pathways whose alteration would facilitate adipose accretion in the bone marrow, at the expense of osteoblast formation, thus decreasing bone mass (Reviewed in Rosen et, al 2009; Rodrguez et al.. 2008; Rosen and Bouxtein, 2006). Such unbalanced conditions prevail in the bone marrow of osteoporosis patients, upsetting MSC activity and the microenvironment (Nuttall and Gimble, 2004; Moerman et al., 2004; Rosen and Bouxtein, 2006). This proposition is known as the fat theory for osteoporosis. Moreover, this alteration of osteo-/adipogenic processes is also observed in other conditions characterized by bone loss, such as aging, immobilization, microgravity, ovariectomy, diabetes, and glucocorticoid or tiazolidindione treatments, highlighting the harmful consequence of marrow adipogenesis in osteogenic disorders (Wronski et al., 1986; Moerman et al., 2004; Zayzafon et al., 2004; Forsen et al., 1999).

Cell studies comparing the differentiation potential of MSCs derived from osteoporotic patients (o-MSCs) with that of control MSCs (c-MSCs) have shown unbalanced osteogenic/adipogenic processes, including increased adipose cell formation, counterbalanced by reduced production of osteogenic cells (Nuttall and Gimble, 2004; Rodrguez et al., 2008; Rosen and Bouxtein, 2006). Further research on MSC differentiation has shown that activation of PPARy2, a master transcription factor of adipogenic differentiation, positively regulates adipocyte differentiation while acting as a dominant negative regulator of osteogenic differentiation (Lecka-Czernik et al., 1999; Jeon et al., 2003; Khan and Abu-Amer, 2003). In contrast, an increase in bone mass density was observed in a PPARy deficient mice model; even the heterozygous deficient animals showed high bone mass and increased osteoblastogenesis (Cock et al., 2004). On the other hand, Runx2 expression by MSCs inhibits their differentiation into adipocytes, as may be concluded from experiments in Runx2-/- calvarial cells, which spontaneously differentiate into adipocytes (Kobayashi et al., 2000).

In vivo observations further support the fat theory. Early studies observed that osteoporosis was strongly associated with bone marrow adipogenesis. Iliac crest biopsies showed that bone marrow from osteoporotic patients had a considerable accumulation of adipocytes in relation to that of healthy elderly women (Moerman et al., 2004; Meunier et al., 1971). More recently, increased bone marrow adiposity measured by in vivo proton magnetic resonance (1H-MRS) has been associated with decreased bone mineral density in patients with low bone density (Griffith et al., 2005; Yeung et al., 2005; Blake et al., 2008).

In newborn mammals there is no marrow fat; however the number of adipocytes increases with age such that in humans over 30 years of age, most of the femoral cavity is occupied by adipose tissue (Moore and Dawson, 1990). The function of marrow fat is largely unknown; in humans it was first considered to be ‘filler’ for the void left by trabecular bone during aging or after radiation. Later, these cells have been proposed to have a role as an energy source, or as modulators of adjacent tissue by the production of paracrine, and autocrine factors (reviewed in Rosen et al., 2009). In fact, adipokines, steroids, and cytokines (Lee et al., 2002; Pino et al., 2010; Rosen et al., 2009;) can exert profound effects on neighboring marrow cells, sustaining or suppressing hematopoietic and osteogenic processes (Omatsu et al., 2010; Krings et al., 2012; Rosen et al., 2009; Rodrguez et al., 2008).

Thus, the function of bone marrow adipose tissue may be similar to that of extra medullary fat. As such, it has been well established that unbalanced production of signaling products from subcutaneous or visceral fat modulates several human conditions including obesity, lipodystrophy, atherogenesis, diabetes and inflammation. Recent studies in mice, suggest a complex fat phenotype in the bone marrow, presenting mixed brown and white adipose properties (Lecka-Czernik, 2012). Further work is needed to find out whether differences in the quality or quantity of marrow fat, take part in deregulated bone remodelling in some bone diseases.


Because of their ability to self-renew, human MSCs can be expanded and differentiated in vitro, offering many perspectives for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches. However, there is scarce information on whether specific diseases affect the properties of MSCs, because of the difficult accessibility to human bone marrow in health and disease (Cipriani et al., 2011; Corey et al., 2007).

Our research has focused on the properties of MSCs isolated from bone marrow of control and osteoporotic post-menopausal women. We grouped our observations on functional characteristics of o-MSCs and c- MSCs in three categories, which are summarized in Table I, as follows:

General activities: h-MSCs isolated from osteoporotic and control donors have similar CFU-F, but different proliferation rates. O-MSCs showed significantly diminished proliferation rate and decreased mitogenic response to IGF-I. The pERK/ERK ratio is increased in o-MSCs, compared with control c-MSCs. In other cell types, activation of the MEK/ERK signalling pathway enhances the activity of adipogenic transcription factors (Prusty et al., 2002). We also observed decreased TGF- production by o-MSCs, as well as decreased capacity to generate and maintain a type I collagen-rich extracellular matrix, both conditions supporting cell differentiation into the adipocyte phenotype. Then, considering that the lineage fate of MSCs is dependent on early activation by specific BMPs, PPARy and Wnt signaling (Ross et al., 2000; Rawadi et al., 2003; Westendorf et al., 2004; Baron and Rawadi, 2007), we compared the expression level of some genes related to these pathways in c- and o- MSCs. Results obtained by RT-PCR showed that in c- and o-MSCs the expression level of mRNA for -catenin, Dkk-1, and BMPRIB was similar; while the level of mRNA for Wnt 3a was undetectable in both types of samples. The expression level of mRNA for GSK-3p, LRP6 and Osx was lower in o-MSCs than in c-MSCs, while the mRNA level for Ror2, Wnt 5a, BMPRIA showed doubtful. To further quantify the expression level of GSK-3P, LRP6, Osx, Ror2, Wnt 5a, BMPRIA real time RT-PCR was performed. As shown in Table I, statistically significant decreased mRNA levels for GSK-3p, LRP6 and Osx (0.64, 0.26 and 0.18 fold, respectively) were observed in o-MSCs, as compared to c-MSCs. In addition, mRNA levels for Ror2, Wnt 5a, and BMPRIA were similar in both types of cell samples.

These data suggest impaired regulation by the BMPs and Wnt pathways in o-MSCs, representing some intrinsic deviation from control cells that might underlie the impaired self-renewal, and adipogenic/osteogenic differentiation potential observed in o-MSCs. mRNA levels for Ror2, Wnt 5a, and BMPRIA were similar in both types of cell samples.


Distinctive environmental bone marrow conditions appear to support the development and maintenance of the balance between bone resorption and bone formation. Knowledge is scarce about the intramedullar concentration of compounds with recognized regulatory effects on bone formation or resorption and is limited to some pathologic conditions or estimated from measurements in plasma (Wiig et al., 2004; Iversen and Wiig, 2005; Lee et al., 2002; Khosla et al., 1994).

Measurement of soluble molecules found in human bone marrow has been particularly difficult, not only because of tissue seclusion, but also because of the complicated anatomy and blood perfusion of bone. Since it may be expected that concentrations measured in the bone marrow fluid (BMF) more reliably reflect the physiologically relevant levels in the interstitial compartment surrounding the bone cells than values found in blood, we isolated the extracellular bone marrow fluid by directly spinning bone marrow samples for 20 min at 900xg. Considering the complex organization in such a regulatory milieu, we opted for evaluating some molecules recognized as markers of adipocyte, proinflammatory or osteoclastic/osteoblastic activity (Pino et al., 2010).

The concentrations of cytokines or receptors measured in the bone marrow extracellular fluid from control and osteoporotic human donors are indicated in Table II. In addition, the concentrations of IGF-I and its IGFBPs were analyzed, as well as the C-terminal telopeptide cross-links of type I collagen (CTX). Results summarized in Table II indicate significantly different concentrations of regulatory molecules in the extracellular fluid of control versus osteoporotic women; this last group was characterized by higher content of proinflammatory and adipogenic cytokines. Also, osteoporotic samples showed decreased leptin bioavailability, suggesting that insufficient leptin action may characterize the osteoporotic bone marrow (Pino et al., 2010). In addition, bioavailability of IGF-I appears diminished in o-BMF, as shown by the increased IGFBP3/IGF-I ratio.


Regulatory activity in bone marrow fluid of post-menopausal women

Taken together our results and those of other researchers identify significant differences between functional properties of control and osteoporotic MSCs, displayed in vitro, in cells under basal or differentiating conditions. Moreover, it can be concluded that such divergence prevails also in vivo, because the bone marrow fluid of osteoporotic patients characterizes by unfavourable content of several regulatory molecules. Therefore, the properties of both MSCs and bone marrow microenvironment are significantly impaired in osteoporotic patients, negatively affecting bone formation.


In the pathogenesis of osteoporosis, impairment of both MSCs functionality and microenvironment add to the known detrimental effect of increased osteoclast activity, resulting in decreased bone formation.

O-MSCs are characterized by intrinsic functional alteration leading to poor osteogenic capability and increased adipogenesis. Osteoporotic bone marrow microenvironment differs from the control microenvironment by increased concentration of pro-adipogenic and pro-inflammatory regulatory factors.

The content and/or quality of adipocytes in the bone marrow appear critical to delineate impairing of MSCs; in this sense osteoporosis could be homologated to other age-related diseases such as obesity, atherogenesis and diabetes, which are characterized by extramedullar unbalanced adipocyte formation and signaling.

Currently it is not known how damaged o-MSCs emerge, further work is needed to ascertain the role of the microenvironment, and genetic and epigenetic factors, as proposed for other stem cells-related pathologies.

The conclusion that intrinsic properties of MSCs are altered in osteoporosis should be relevant for the therapeutic use of MSCs, which represent an interesting promise for regenerative medicine for several severe human diseases.

The possibility of reversing o-MSCs impairment opens new perspectives for osteoporosis therapy.


We thank Dr. Mariana Cifuentes for her critical review of the manuscript and valuable comments. This work was supported by a grant from the Fondo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologa (FONDECYT # 1090093)


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Bone marrow transplant – Doctor NDTV

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

Bone marrow transplant is a procedure in which healthy bone marrow is transplanted into a patient whose bone marrow is not functioning properly. Problems in bone marrow are often caused by chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer. This procedure can also be done to correct hereditary blood diseases. The healthy bone marrow may be taken from the patient prior to chemotherapy or radiation treatment (autograft), or it may be taken from a donor (allograft).

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

Bone marrow is the soft, sponge-like material found inside bones. It contains immature cells called stem cells that produce blood cells. There are three types of blood cells: white blood cells, which fight infection; red blood cells, which carry oxygen to and from organs and tissues; and platelets, which enable the blood to clot.

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

Alternatively, hereditary or acquired disorders may cause abnormal blood cell production. In these cases, transplantation of healthy bone marrow may save a patient’s life. Transplanted bone marrow will restore production of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

Donated bone marrow must match the patient’s tissue type. It can be taken from the patient, a living relative (usually a brother or a sister), or from an unrelated donor. Donors are matched through special blood tests called HLA tissue typing.

Bone marrow is taken from the donor in the operating room while one is unconscious and pain-free (under general anaesthesia). Some of the donor’s bone marrow is removed from the top of the hip bone. The bone marrow is filtered, treated, and transplanted immediately or frozen and stored for later use. Then, transplant material is transfused into the patient through a vein and is naturally transported back into the bone cavities where it grows to replace the old bone marrow.

Alternatively, blood cell precursors, called stem cells, can be induced to move from the bone marrow to the blood stream using special medications. These stem cells can then be taken from the bloodstream through a procedure called leukapheresis.

The patient is prepared for transplantation by administering high doses of chemotherapy or radiation (conditioning). This serves two purposes. First, it destroys the patient’s abnormal blood cells or cancer. Second, it inhibits the patient’s immune response against the donor bone marrow (graft rejection).

Following conditioning, the patient is ready for bone marrow infusion. After infusion, it takes 10 to 20 days for the bone marrow to establish itself. During this time, the patient requires support with blood cell transfusions.

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

The major problem with bone marrow transplants (when the marrow comes from a donor, not the patient) is graft-versus-host disease. The transplanted healthy bone marrow cells may attack the patient’s cells as though they were foreign organisms. In this case, drugs to suppress the immune system must be taken, but this also decreases the body’s ability to fight infections.

Other significant problems with a bone marrow transplant are those of all major organ transplants – finding a donor and the cost. The donor is usually a sibling with compatible tissue. The more siblings the patient has, the more chances there are of finding a compatible donor.

Wed,17 Dec 2003 05:30:00

The patient will require attentive follow-up care for 2 to 3 months after discharge from the hospital. It may take 6 months to a year for the immune system to fully recover from this procedure.

See the article here:
Bone marrow transplant – Doctor NDTV

Dr Con Man: the rise and fall of a celebrity scientist who fooled almost everyone – The Guardian

Scientific pioneer, superstar surgeon, miracle worker thats how Paolo Macchiarini was known for several years. Dressed in a white lab coat or in surgical scrubs, with his broad, handsome face and easy charm, he certainly looked the part. And fooled almost everyone.

Macchiarini shot to prominence back in 2008, when he created a new airway for Claudia Castillo, a young woman from Barcelona. He did this by chemically stripping away the cells of a windpipe taken from a deceased donor; he then seeded the bare scaffold with stem cells taken from Castillos own bone marrow. Castillo was soon back home, chasing after her kids. According to Macchiarini and his colleagues, her artificial organ was well on the way to looking and functioning liked a natural one. And because it was built from Castillos own cells, she didnt need to be on any risky immunosuppressant drugs.

This was Macchiarinis first big success. Countless news stories declared it a medical breakthrough. A life-saver and a game-changer. We now know that wasnt true. However, the serious complications that Castillo suffered were, for a long time, kept very quiet.

Meanwhile, Macchiarinis career soared. By 2011, he was working in Sweden at one of the worlds most prestigious medical universities, the Karolinska Institute, whose professors annually select the winner of the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine. There he reinvented his technique. Instead of stripping the cells from donor windpipes, Macchiarini had plastic scaffolds made to order. The first person to receive one of these was Andemariam Beyene, an Eritrean doctoral student in geology at the University of Iceland. His recovery put Macchiarini on the front page of the New York Times.

Macchiarini was turning the dream of regenerative medicine into a reality. This is how NBCs Meredith Vieira put it in her documentary about Macchiarini, appropriately called A Leap of Faith: Just imagine a world where any injured or diseased organ or body part you have is simply replaced by a new artificial one, literally manmade in the lab, just for you. This marvelous world was now within reach, thanks to Macchiarini.

Last year, however, the dream soured, exposing an ugly reality.

Macchiarini gave his regenerating windpipes to 17 or more patients worldwide. Most, including Andemariam Beyene, are now dead. Those few patients who are still alive including Castillo have survived in spite of the artificial windpipes they received.

In January 2016, Macchiarini received an extraordinary double dose of bad press. The first was a Vanity Fair article about his affair with Benita Alexander, an award-winning producer for NBC News. She met Macchiarini while producing A Leap of Faith and was soon breaking one of the cardinal rules of journalism: dont fall in love with the subject of your story.

By the time the program aired, in mid-2014, the couple were planning their marriage. It would be a star-studded event. Macchiarini had often boasted to Alexander of his famous friends. Now they were on the wedding guest list: the Obamas, the Clintons, Vladimir Putin, Nicolas Sarkozy and other world leaders. Andrea Bocelli was to sing at the ceremony. None other than Pope Francis would officiate, and his papal palace in Castel Gandolfo would serve as the venue. Thats what Macchiarini told his fiancee.

But as the big day approached, Alexander saw these plans unravel, and finally realised that her lover had lied about almost everything. The pope, the palace, the world leaders, the famous tenor they were all fantasies.

Likewise the whole idea of a wedding: Macchiarini was still married to his wife of 30 years.

Macchiarinis deceit was so outlandish, Vanity Fair sought the opinion of the Harvard professor Ronald Schouten, an expert on psychopaths, who gave this diagnosis-at-a-distance: Macchiarini is the extreme form of a con man. Hes clearly bright and has accomplishments, but he cant contain himself. Theres a void in his personality that he seems to want to fill by conning more and more people.

Which left a big, burning question in the air: if Macchiarini was a pathological liar in matters of love, what about his medical research? Was he conning his patients, his colleagues and the scientific community?

The answer came only a couple of weeks later, when Swedish television began broadcasting a three-part expos of Macchiarini and his work.

Called Experimenten (The Experiments), it argued convincingly that Macchiarinis artificial windpipes were not the life-saving wonders wed all been led to believe. On the contrary, they seemed to do more harm than good something that Macchiarini had for years concealed or downplayed in his scientific articles, press releases and interviews.

Faced with this public relations disaster, the Karolinska Institute immediately promised to investigate the allegations but then, within days, suddenly announced that Macchiarinis contract would not be extended.

Macchiarinis fall was swift, but troubling questions remain about why he was allowed to continue his experiments for so long. Some answers have emerged from the official inquiries into the Karolinska Institute and the Karolinska University hospital. They identified many problems with the way the twin organisations handled him.

Macchiarinis fame had won him well-placed backers. These included Harriet Wallberg, who was the vice-chancellor of the Karolinska Institute in 2010, when Macchiarini was recruited. She pushed through his appointment despite the fact that he had some very negative references and dubious claims on his rsum.

This set a dangerous example. It showed department heads and colleagues that they should give Macchiarini special treatment.

He could do pretty much as he pleased. In the first couple of years at Karolinska, he put plastic airways into three patients. Since this was radically new, Macchiarini and his colleagues should have tested it on animals first. They didnt.

Likewise, they didnt undertake a proper risk assessment of the procedure, nor did Macchiarinis team seek government permits for the plastic windpipes, stem cells, and chemical growth factors they used. They didnt even seek the approval of Stockholms ethical review board, which is based at Karolinska.

Though Macchiarini was in the public eye, he was able to sidestep the usual rules and regulations. Or rather, his celebrity status helped him do so. Karolinskas leadership expected big things from their superstar, things that would bring prestige and funding to the institute.

They also cited a loophole known as compassionate use. Macchiarini, they claimed, wasnt really doing clinical research. No, he was just caring for his patients who were, one and all, facing certain death with no other treatment options available and no time to waste. In such dire circumstances, new treatments can be tried as a last resort.

This argument didnt wash with those who later investigated the case. In their view, Macchiarini was certainly engaged in clinical research. Besides which, compassionate concerns dont override the basic principles of patient safety and informed consent. Macchiarini, meanwhile, said he did not accept the findings of the disciplinary board.

As it turned out, Macchiarinis patients werent all at deaths door at the time he treated them. Andemariam Beyene, for instance, had recurrent cancer of the windpipe but, aside from a cough, was still in good health. But even if his days had been numbered, this didnt necessarily justify what Macchiarini put him through.

Beyenes death two and a half years after the operation, caused by the failure of his artificial airway, was a grueling ordeal. According to Pierre Delaere, a professor of respiratory surgery at KU Leuven, Belgium, Macchiarinis experiments were bound to end badly. As he said in Experimenten: If I had the option of a synthetic trachea or a firing squad, Id choose the last option because it would be the least painful form of execution.

Delaere was one of the earliest and harshest critics of Macchiarinis engineered airways. Reports of their success always seemed like hot air to him. He could see no real evidence that the windpipe scaffolds were becoming living, functioning airways in which case, they were destined to fail. The only question was how long it would take weeks, months or a few years.

Delaeres damning criticisms appeared in major medical journals, including the Lancet, but werent taken seriously by Karolinskas leadership. Nor did they impress the institutes ethics council when Delaere lodged a formal complaint.

Support for Macchiarini remained strong, even as his patients began to die. In part, this is because the field of windpipe repair is a niche area. Few people at Karolinska, especially among those in power, knew enough about it to appreciate Delaeres claims. Also, in such a highly competitive environment, people are keen to show allegiance to their superiors and wary of criticising them. The official report into the matter dubbed this the bandwagon effect.

With Macchiarinis exploits endorsed by management and breathlessly reported in the media, it was all too easy to jump on that bandwagon.

And difficult to jump off. In early 2014, four Karolinska doctors defied the reigning culture of silence by complaining about Macchiarini. In their view, he was grossly misrepresenting his results and the health of his patients. An independent investigator agreed. But the vice-chancellor of Karolinska Institute, Anders Hamsten, wasnt bound by this judgement. He officially cleared Macchiarini of scientific misconduct, allowing merely that hed sometimes acted without due care.

For their efforts, the whistleblowers were punished. When Macchiarini accused one of them, Karl-Henrik Grinnemo, of stealing his work in a grant application, Hamsten found him guilty. As Grinnemo recalls, it nearly destroyed his career: I didnt receive any new grants. No one wanted to collaborate with me. We were doing good research, but it didnt matter I thought I was going to lose my lab, my staff everything.

This went on for three years until, just recently, Grinnemo was cleared of all wrongdoing.

The Macchiarini scandal claimed many of his powerful friends. The vice-chancellor, Anders Hamsten, resigned. So did Karolinskas dean of research. Likewise the secretary-general of the Nobel Committee. The university board was dismissed and even Harriet Wallberg, whod moved on to become the chancellor for all Swedish universities, lost her job.

Unfortunately, the scandal is much bigger than Karolinska, which accounts for only three of the patients who have received Macchiarinis regenerating windpipes.

The other patients were treated at hospitals in Barcelona, Florence, London, Moscow, Krasnodar, Chicago and Peoria. None of these institutions have faced the same kind of public scrutiny. None have been forced to hold full and independent inquiries. They should be.

If the sins of Karolinska have been committed elsewhere, it is partly because medical research facilities share a common milieu, which harbours common dangers. One of these is the hype surrounding stem cells.

Stem cell research is a hot field of science and, according to statistics, also a rather scandal-prone one. Articles in this area are retracted 2.4 times more often than the average for biomedicine, and over half of these retractions are due to fraud.

Does the heat of stem cell research the high levels of funding, prestige and media coverage it enjoys somehow encourage fraud? Thats what our experience of medical research leads us to suspect. While there isnt enough data to actually prove this, we do have some key indicators.

We have, for example, a growing list of scientific celebrities who have committed major stem cell fraud. There is South Koreas Hwang Woo-suk who, in 2004, falsely claimed to have created the first human embryonic stem cells by means of cloning. A few years ago, Japans Haruko Obokata pulled a similar con when she announced to the world a new and simple and fake method of turning ordinary body cells into stem cells.

Hwang, Obokata and Macchiarini were all attracted to the hottest regions of stem cell research, where hope for a medical breakthrough was greatest. In Macchiarinis case, the hope was that patients could be treated with stem cells taken from their own bone marrow.

Over the years, this possibility has generated great excitement and a huge amount of research. Yet, for the vast majority of such treatments, there is little solid evidence that they work. (The big exception is blood stem cell transplantation, which has been saving the lives of people with leukemia and other cancers of the blood for decades.)

Its enough to worry officials from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They recently published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine admitting that stem cell research has mostly failed to live up to its therapeutic promise.

An alarmingly wide gap has grown between what we expect from stem cells and what they deliver. Each new scientific discovery brings a flood of stories about how it will revolutionise medicine one day soon. But that day is always postponed.

An unhappy result of this is the rise of pseudo-scientific therapies. Stem cell clinics have sprung up like weeds, offering to treat just about any ailment you can name. In place of clinical data, there are gushing testimonials. There are also plenty of desperate patients who believe because theyve been told countless times that stem cells are the cure, and who cannot wait any longer for mainstream medicine. They and their loved ones fall victim to false hope.

Scientists can also suffer from false hope. To some extent, they believed Macchiarini because he told them what they wanted to hear. You can see this in the speed with which his breakthroughs were accepted. Only four months after Macchiarini operated on Claudia Castillo, his results provisional but very positive were published online by the Lancet. Thereafter it was all over the news.

The popular press also has a lot to answer for. Its love of human interest stories makes it sympathetic to unproven therapies. As studies have shown, the media often casts a positive light on stem cell tourism, suggesting that the treatments are effective and the risks low. It did much the same for Macchiarinis windpipe replacements. A good example is the NBC documentary A Leap of Faith. Its fascinating to rewatch as a lesson on how not to report on medical science.

It is fitting that Macchiarinis career unravelled at the Karolinska Institute. As the home of the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine, one of its ambitions is to create scientific celebrities. Every year, it gives science a show-business makeover, picking out from the mass of medical researchers those individuals deserving of superstardom. The idea is that scientific progress is driven by the genius of a few.

Its a problematic idea with unfortunate side effects. A genius is a revolutionary by definition, a risk-taker and a law-breaker. Wasnt something of this idea behind the special treatment Karolinska gave Macchiarini? Surely, he got away with so much because he was considered an exception to the rules with more than a whiff of the Nobel about him. At any rate, some of his most powerful friends were themselves Nobel judges until, with his fall from grace, they fell too.

If there is a moral to this tale, its that we need to be wary of medical messiahs with their promises of salvation.

Read the rest here:
Dr Con Man: the rise and fall of a celebrity scientist who fooled almost everyone – The Guardian

For Lowell native, stem cell match becomes a match as friends – Lowell Sun

From left to right: Richard Stone, a doctor at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, poses with Peter Karalekas (center), 76, and Matthew Churitch, 22. Churitch donated stem cells to Karalekas two years ago, and he visited Dana-Farber with Karalekas earlier this summer. (Courtesy photo)

BOSTON — After winding his way through Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine for 76 years, Peter Karalekas has a proclamation: He’s a Southerner now.

He still lives in Kittery, Maine, just about an hour from the Lowell middle school where he taught for 21 years.

He has no plans to move.

Rather, Karalekas considers himself a Southerner because of his stem cells.

He never exactly felt all that sick.

Karalekas worked tirelessly for decades, first as a teacher and coach at the James S. Daley Middle School in Lowell and then as the owner of a half-dozen T-Bones restaurants across New Hampshire.

Even despite the 12-hour days, seven days a week, in the grind of the restaurant industry, Karalekas felt healthy and rarely fell ill.

Peter Karalekas, left, a 76-year-old former Lowellian, smiles during his first meeting with Matthew Churitch, 22, of Nashville, Tennessee, who helped save Karalekas life by donating stem cells. (Courtesy photo)

The two, who do not have children, moved to Kittery 17 years ago.

Everything started to change in 2014.

Karalekas recalls being “short-winded,” but he had very few other symptoms when he was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare type of cancer in which the bone marrow is damaged and cannot produce enough blood cells.

The prognosis was not good.

“They said the only thing that would save me was a stem cell transplant,” Karalekas said. “Otherwise, I had a couple of months to live, because my cells were all dropping drastically.

He went onto a registry, hoping for a donor to pop up, but doctors told him it could take from six months to two years to find the right match. Even with a transplant, Karalekas said, his chances of success were “30 to 40 percent.”

The call came four weeks later.

Matthew Churitch got his call quickly, too.

He joined the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be the Match Registry in 2014, the summer between his freshman and sophomore years at Clemson University. His mother had been on the registry to donate for years. Churitch’s decision was simple: When a friend was diagnosed with leukemia, he knew he should sign up, too.

He did the requisite cheek swab, unsure if he would ever even be contacted to donate. By the time he had finished the following semester, he got the call.

A match was found.

Churitch went through several more levels of testing and preparation to donate stem cells to a stranger. He went to Clemson’s student health center to have blood drawn.

He returned to his native Nashville, Tennessee, going to a medical center 10 days in a row to receive shots in his stomach that would stimulate his bone marrow and prepare his cells for transplant.

He sat for eight hours, a needle in each arm as his stem cells were filtered out so they could be transferred to Boston.

“Getting the shots isn’t fun,” he said. “You’re pretty sore afterward for a few weeks. But knowing that the person on the other end is in hundreds and hundreds times more pain than any donor would ever go through — that kind of pushed me through.”

Karalekas and Churitch first connected via an anonymous letter, per the transplant registry’s rules, updating Churitch on Karalekas’s lengthy, isolated recovery. They were able to speak directly after a year.

Churitch dialed Karalekas’ number on a lengthy walk to class, took a deep breath and hit the call button. Moments later, both men were crying and laughing.

“That was really awesome, just being able to hear his voice and recognize that there’s somebody else on the other end of this,” Churitch said. “A lot of people don’t get the chance to connect with their recipients or their donors.”

Karalekas wanted more. He told his wife early on that he wanted to meet his “angel from heaven,” so when Churitch graduated Clemson earlier this year, Karalekas paid to bring the 22-year-old and his mother to New England.

In late June, Karalekas and his wife pulled into a pickup lane at Logan International Airport in Boston.

“I got out of the car, I charged over, and I gave them both a huge hug,” Karalekas said.

Karalekas showed Churitch and his mother around for five days.They went on a private tour of Fenway Park; they wandered the historic streets of Portsmouth, New Hampshire; they visited Dana-Farber together to meet the team that treated Karalekas.

Both families quickly bonded. Karalekas recalls his brother George asking Churitch about his portable phone charger, expressing curiosity about how convenient it was. A few weeks later, a brand-new portable charger arrived at George’s door, a gift from Churitch.

In January, Karalekas and his wife will vacation in Arizona and will cheer on Churitch’s mother — without Churitch even present — in the Phoenix Marathon.

Donor and recipient talk every week.

“It’s like we’re a very, very close-knit family now,” Karalekas said. “He’s the son we never had.”

Churitch is now in his first year at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville with hopes of becoming a physician. He hopes to use Karalekas’s experience as inspiration for any patients facing future hardship, and he hopes that others, especially young people, will see their success and join the registry.

“You never know where that will take you,” he said. “You can gain a friend for life, impact somebody and their family in need.”

Karalekas said he feels he has a new life: His chances of beating the disease are now 97 percent, he says, up from the 30 percent or 40 percent when he started treatment. Thanks to the transplant from a handsome, athletic college student in Tennessee.

“I said, ‘I’m a Southerner now,'” Karalekas said. “My stem cells are 99 percent this gentleman. I’m 99 percent him.”

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisLisinski.

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For Lowell native, stem cell match becomes a match as friends – Lowell Sun

Chemo-Boosting Drug Discovered for Leukemia – Futurism – Futurism

In BriefResearchers have discovered that acute myeloid leukemia causes leaking from the bone marrow that interferes with chemotherapy delivery. If chemotherapy for AML can be used together with drugs to treat this problem, outcomes may improve dramatically.

Researchers have discovered that the most common form of acute leukemia which strikes adults, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), prevents chemotherapy from being delivered properly by causing bone marrow to leak blood. This means that, by using drugs developed to treat blood vessel and heart problems in concert with chemotherapy, AML might be much more treatable. In this study, these drugs reversed bone marrow leaks in tissue from mice and humans, and also boosted chemotherapy effects. Since these drugs are already in clinical trials for other applications, the team hopes that they may be approved for use in the treatment of AML patients soon.

We found that the cancer was damaging the walls of blood vessels responsible for delivering oxygen, nutrients, and chemotherapy. When we used drugs to stop the leaks in mice, we were able to kill the cancer using conventional chemotherapy, Diana Passaro, Francis Crick Institute researcher and first author of the paper,said in a press release.

The team studied the ways in which AML affects bone marrow by injecting healthy mice with bone marrow from AML patients to create AML mice. They then used intravital microscopy to compare the bone marrow of AML mice with healthy mice and observed pre-loaded fluorescent dyes leaking from the bone marrow blood vessels into the AML mice. Next, they discovered that the cells lining the blood vessels in AML mice were oxygen-starved, which led to increases in nitric oxide (NO), a muscle relaxant. They realized this was probably causing the leaking, and provided NO blockers to the AML mice which slowed leukemia progress and extended remission.

The team not only helped chemotherapy drugs to reach their targets more effectively, but they also found that NO blockers increased stem cells in the bone marrow. This might help healthy cells out-compete cancerous cells, and improve treatment outcomes. Finally, the researchers found that an inability to reduce NO levels and chemotherapy failure were related.

With an average lifetime risk of less than half of one percent among the general population, AML is relatively rare. This is in addition to the fact that AML is a disease that primarily affects older people; the average age of AML patients in the US is 67, and the disease is even rarer before the age of 45. Despite this rarity, however, TheAmerican Cancer Society estimates that there will be around 21,380 new cases of AML in the US in 2017, and about 10,590 deaths, almost all in adults.

This high death rate is linked to the character of this form of cancer, which is particularly aggressive. This is in large part due to chemotherapy resistance and relapse, fewer than 25 percent of patients survive longer than five years after diagnosis. However, if this research leads to a new regimen of combined drug therapy, these numbers may change.

The team is optimistic about their findings and hopes to start clinical trials soon. Weve uncovered a biological marker for this type of leukemia as well as a possible drug target, Francis Crick Institute Group Leader and paper senior author Dominique Bonnet said in the press release. The next step will be clinical trials to see if NO blockers can help AML patients as much as our pre-clinical experiments suggest.

Chemo-Boosting Drug Discovered for Leukemia – Futurism – Futurism