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Archive for the ‘Cardiac Stem Cells’ Category

Researcher Invents 'Mini Heart' to Help Return Venous Blood

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Newswise WASHINGTON (March 27, 2014) George Washington University (GW) researcher Narine Sarvazyan, Ph.D., has invented a new organ to help return blood flow from veins lacking functional valves. A rhythmically contracting cuff made of cardiac muscle cells surrounds the vein acting as a ‘mini heart’ to aid blood flow through venous segments. The cuff can be made of a patients own adult stem cells, eliminating the chance of implant rejection.

We are suggesting, for the first time, to use stem cells to create, rather than just repair damaged organs, said Sarvazyan, professor of pharmacology and physiology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. We can make a new heart outside of ones own heart, and by placing it in the lower extremities, significantly improve venous blood flow.

The novel approach of creating mini hearts’ may help to solve a chronic widespread disease. Chronic venous insufficiency is one of the most pervasive diseases, particularly in developed countries. Its incidence can reach 20 to 30 percent in people over 50 years of age. It is also responsible for about 2 percent of health care costs in the United States. Additionally, sluggish venous blood flow is an issue for those with diseases such as diabetes, and for those with paralysis or recovering from surgery.

This potential new treatment option, outlined in a recently published paper in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, represents a leap for the tissue engineering field, advancing from organ repair to organ creation. Sarvazyan, together with members of her team, has demonstrated the feasibility of this novel approach in vitro and is currently working toward testing these devices in vivo.

The study, titled Thinking Outside the Heart: Use of Engineered Cardiac Tissue for the Treatment of Chronic Deep Venous Insufficiency, is available at http://cpt.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/01/20/1074248413520343.full.

Media: To interview Dr. Sarvazyan about her research, please contact Lisa Anderson at lisama2@gwu.edu or 202-994-3121.

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Researcher Invents 'Mini Heart' to Help Return Venous Blood

Two Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute Physicians Honored by American College of Cardiology

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Newswise LOS ANGELES (March 27, 2014) Two Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute physician-researchers have been named recipients of prestigious awards from the American College of Cardiology.

Eduardo Marbn, MD, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and a pioneer in developing cardiac stem cell treatments, will be awarded the 2014 Distinguished Scientist Award (Basic Domain) by the 40,000-member medical society during its 63rd Annual Scientific Session on March 31.

Sumeet Chugh, MD, associate director of the Heart Institute and a leading expert on heart rhythm disorders such as sudden cardiac arrest and atrial fibrillation, is to receive the Simon Dack Award for Outstanding Scholarship in recognition of Chughs contributions to the organizations peer-reviewed medical journals.

Dr. Marbn has earned the prestigious title of Distinguished Scientist by pioneering the development of stem cell treatments that can regenerate healthy heart muscle, said Shlomo Melmed, MD, senior vice president of Academic Affairs, dean of the Cedars-Sinai medical faculty and the Helene A. and Philip E. Hixon Chair in Investigative Medicine. Dr. Chugh is leading the quest to unlock the mysteries of how to prevent sudden cardiac arrest, which is 99 percent fatal. Their work is advancing life-saving treatments for patients all over the world and is a testament to the outstanding work of the Heart Institute.

Using techniques that he invented to isolate and grow stem cells from a patient’s own heart tissue, Marbn designed and completed the first-in-human cardiac stem cell trial, called CADUCEUS, funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study was the first to show that stem cell therapy can repair damage to the heart muscle caused by a heart attack. Currently, a new, multicenter stem cell clinical trial called ALLSTAR is measuring the effectiveness of donor heart stem cells in treating heart attack patients.

A native of Cuba, Marbn came to the United States with his parents at age 6 as a political refugee. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Wilkes College in Pennsylvania, and then attended the Yale University School of Medicine in a combined MD/PhD program. Among the many honors Marbn has received are the Basic Research Prize of the American Heart Association the Research Achievement Award of the International Society for Heart Research, the Gill Heart Institute Award and the Distinguished Scientist Award of the American Heart Association.

Chugh, the Pauline and Harold Price Chair in Cardiac Electrophysiology, is an expert in the performance of radio frequency ablation procedures as well as the use of pacemakers, defibrillators and biventricular devices to correct heart rhythm problems. The author of more than 250 articles and abstracts in professional journals, Chugh initiated and directs the ongoing Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study, a large, comprehensive assessment of sudden cardiac arrest in a community of 1 million residents. Chugh leads the World Health Organization panel that is charged with performing a worldwide assessment of heart rhythm disorders for the Global Burden of Disease Study.

After earning his medical degree from Government Medical College Patiala, India, Chugh spent the first year of his internal medicine residency at Tufts Newton Wellesley Hospital in Boston and the next two years at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. He completed a fellowship in cardiology at the University of Minnesota and a fellowship in clinical cardiac electrophysiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

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Two Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute Physicians Honored by American College of Cardiology

Pioneers in Adult Stem Cell Therapy Honored

The Alliance for the Advancement of Adult Stem Cell Therapy and Research hosted an awards luncheon for doctors and patients from around the world to recognize and honor their outstanding contributions and achievements in adult stem cell therapy. The Stem Cell Alliance event celebrated the revolutionary strides in the field of adult stem cell treatments for cardiac, pulmonary, neurological, spinal cord injuries and vascular diseases.

The Stem Cell Alliance event celebrated the revolutionary strides in the field of adult stem cell treatments for cardiac, pulmonary, neurological, spinal cord injuries and vascular diseases. Kelly Drouin of the Stem Cell Alliance, conferred awards to the Regenocyte medical team including Doctors Zannos Grekos, Hector Rosario, Eduardo Mejia and, in absentia, Victor Matos for their work and dedication in adult stem cell research and treatment.

These doctors are pioneers in clinical application of adult stem cell therapy and heroes to the many patients in attendance. Some of the patients had lost all hope after being told by their own doctors that they were out of options in the treatment of their disease, said Drouin.

The Stem Cell Alliance also recognized and awarded each of the attending patients for their courage and for leading the way for others to follow by undergoing adult stem cell treatment. Each patient spoke with heartfelt conviction; describing their prognosis and the life-saving benefits of the adult stem cell therapy they received.

Quality of life improvements measured by being able to independently transfer or dress yourself or walking without a cane, not needing an oxygen tank, or no longer requiring a defibrillator are priceless, stated Jonathan Fields, adult stem cell recipient and founder of the Jonathan Fields Save a Life Heal a Heart Foundation, dedicated to the advancement of adult stem cells for the treatment of heart disease.

The Alliance for the Advancement of Adult Stem Cell Therapy and Researchs mission is to educate the public on the process and the benefits of non-controversial adult stem cell therapy, to promote the use of adult stem cells in the research and treatment of life-altering diseases and, lastly, to provide financial assistance to those who medically qualify and cannot otherwise afford treatment.

Contact: Kelly Drouin The Alliance for the Advancement of Adult Stem Cell Therapy and Research Phone: (888)663-9974 Email: KellyDrouin@thestemcellalliance.org

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Leading Surgeons Warn Against Media Hype About Tracheal Regeneration

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Newswise Beverly, MA, March 24, 2014 Reports of the two earliest tissue-engineered whole organ transplants using a windpipe, or trachea, created using the patient’s own stem cells, were hailed as a breakthrough for regenerative medicine and widely publicized in the press. However, two leading transplant surgeons in Belgium warn of the dangers of media attention, and urge that tracheal bioengineering be demonstrated as both effective and safe before further transplants take place. Their views are published in an Editorial in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, an official publication of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

In 2008, surgeons repopulated a donor trachea with cells from a 30-year-old woman, which they then transplanted into the patient. In 2011, a 36-year-old man who had been suffering from late-stage tracheal cancer was given a new trachea made from a synthetic scaffold seeded with his own stem cells. Both procedures were carried out by Professor Paolo Macchiarini and colleagues (Barcelona, 2008, and Sweden, 2011).

In 2012, an article in The New York Times, A First: Organs Tailor-Made With Bodys Own Cells, recognized tracheal regeneration as the first regenerative medicine procedure designed to implant bioartificial organs. The achievement was touted as the beginning of complex organ engineering for the heart, liver, and kidneys, and it was suggested that allotransplantation along with immunosuppression might become problems of the past.

Major medical breakthroughs deserve the necessary press attention to inform the medical community and public of the news, say Pierre R. Delaere, MD, PhD, and Dirk Van Raemdonck, MD, PhD, from the Department of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery and the Department of Thoracic Surgery, University Hospital Leuven, Belgium. Unfortunately, misrepresentation of medical information can occur and is particularly problematic when members of the professional and public press are misled to believe unrealistic medical breakthroughs.

The authors raise doubts regarding whether a synthetic tube can transform into a viable airway tube, pointing out that the mechanism behind the transformation from nonviable construct to viable airway cannot be explained with our current knowledge of tissue healing, tissue transplantation, and tissue regeneration. Cells have never been observed to adhere, grow, and regenerate into complex tissues when applied to an avascular or synthetic scaffold and, moreover, this advanced form of tissue regeneration has never been observed in laboratory-based research, say the authors.

Delaere and Van Raemdonck reviewed the information gathered from published reports on three patients who received bioengineered tracheas and unpublished reports on an additional 11 patients. Although there were differences between the techniques used, production of the bioengineered trachea in all cases produced similar results, and the different approaches worked in comparable ways.

The results show that mortality and morbidity were very high. Several patients died within a three-month period, and the patients who survived longer functioned with an airway stent that preserved the airway lumen, they observe.

They also question whether the trachea can really be considered to be the first bioengineered organ. From the 14 reports reviewed, they concluded that the bioengineered tracheal replacements were in fact airway replacements that functioned only as scaffolds, behaving in a similar way to synthetic tracheal prostheses.

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Leading Surgeons Warn Against Media Hype About Tracheal Regeneration

Joseph Purita, M.D. and Maritza Novas, R.N., M.S.N. of Global Stem Cells Group, Inc. and Bioheart CSO Kristin Comella …

Miami (PRWEB) March 20, 2014

Joseph Purita, M.D. and Maritza Novas, R.N., M.S.N. of Global Stem Cells Group Inc., and Bioheart, Inc. Chief Scientific Officer Kristin Comella will be featured speakers at the 31st American Association of Orthopedic Medicine Annual Conference (AAOM) Conference and Scientific Seminar in Clearwater Beach, Florida April 9-12, 2014. Co-sponsored by the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians, Inc. (ABQAURP), the conference, titled Sports, Spine and Beyond: Latest Advances in Regenerative Orthopedic Medicine, will focus on the newest breakthroughs in the field of orthopedic medicine.

Purita, Novas and Comella will present the latest advances in stem cell therapies in sports medicine, regenerative orthopedic medicine and interventional pain medicine, including techniques for extracting stem cells from adipose tissue to use in patient treatments. Purita is a pioneer in the use of stem cells in orthopedics and founder of the Institute of Regenerative and Molecular Orthopedics in Boca Raton, Florida. Novas is a lead trainer and part of the research and development team for Stem Cell Training, a Global Stem Cells Group subsidiary.

Comella has more than 15 years experience in cell culturing and developing stem cell therapies for degenerative diseases and experience in corporate entities, with expertise in regenerative medicine, training and education, research, product development and senior management.

The conference will explore advances in other non-traditional treatments in sports and regenerative orthopedic medicine including manual medicine, nutrition, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, musculoskeletal ultrasound and more. The goal of the AAOM Conference is to bring sports medicine physicians, PM&R specialists (physiatrists), family medicine physicians, orthopedic surgeons, neurologists and interventional pain physiciansincluding anesthesiologists and osteopathic pain physiciansthe latest state-of-the-art techniques and technologies to help treat their patients performance-related pain and injuries, overuse syndromes and chronic pain.

For more information on the 31st AAOM Annual Conference and Scientific Seminar, visit the AAOM website.

About the Global Stem Cells Group:

Global Stem Cells Group, Inc. is the parent company of six wholly owned operating companies dedicated entirely to stem cell research, training, products and solutions. Founded in 2012, the company combines dedicated researchers, physician and patient educators and solution providers with the shared goal of meeting the growing worldwide need for leading edge stem cell treatments and solutions. With a singular focus on this exciting new area of medical research, Global Stem Cells Group and its subsidiaries are uniquely positioned to become global leaders in cellular medicine.

Global Stem Cells Groups corporate mission is to make the promise of stem cell medicine a reality for patients around the world. With each of GSCGs six operating companies focused on a separate research-based mission, the result is a global network of state-of-the-art stem cell treatments.

To learn more about Global Stem Cells Group, Inc.s companies and for investor information, visit the Global Stem Cells Group website, email bnovas(at)regenestem(dot)com, or call 305-224-1858.

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Joseph Purita, M.D. and Maritza Novas, R.N., M.S.N. of Global Stem Cells Group, Inc. and Bioheart CSO Kristin Comella …

Cellular 'counting' of rhythmic signals synchronizes changes in cell fate

Mar 20, 2014 Levels of the regulatory protein GtaC, tagged with green fluorescent protein, increase in the nucleus every six minutes. GtaC turns on genes that prepare cells to move. The image is a compilation of eight photos, taken at 3.5 minute intervals, showing GtaC’s location in a single cell as it moves. Credit: Huaqing Cai

Johns Hopkins biologists have discovered that when biological signals hit cells in rhythmic waves, the magnitude of the cells’ response can depend on the number of signaling cyclesnot their strength or duration. Because such so-called “oscillating signaling cycles” are common in many biological systems, the scientists expect their findings in single-celled organisms to help explain the molecular workings of phenomena such as tissue and organ formation and fundamental forms of learning.

In a report to be published online in the journal Science on March 21, the investigators say their experiments in amoebae show how repeated pulses of a signal cause short bursts of specific gene activity, the products of which linger and build with each new pulse. The cumulative amount of these gene products ultimately affects changes in cell fate.

“The mechanism we discovered here illustrates how a single cell can keep track of the number of times it has received a signal,” says Peter Devreotes, Ph.D., professor and director of the Department of Cell Biology. “In most signaling systems, the cellular response depends on the strength or duration of the signal. This system allows the cells to count.”

The Devreotes team says they figured out this signaling system in the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, a single-celled organism that can cluster to form a multi-celled structure that helps it survive when resources are scarce. At the heart of this process, they say, is a communication molecule called cAMP, a chemical released by starving cells in periodic spurtsevery six minutesthat is sensed by other cells nearby. The signal triggers a series of steps needed for the cells to join together and form specialized types of cells within the group makeup.

Devreotes says, “We have known since the 1970s that the cAMP signals achieve their best effect when they arrive every six minutesnot more and not lessbut we had no idea why.”

To find out, the Johns Hopkins team focused on the behavior of a regulatory protein called GtaC, which is similar to the human GATA genes known to control stem cell fate in many tissues. Amoebae that lack GtaC can’t activate the genes that enable the initially similar cells to cluster and to become the specialized cell types of the multicellular structure.

When the researchers attached GtaC to a protein that glows green, they saw that it entered the amoeba cell nucleus, left the nucleus and then entered again at a pace like the six-minute pulses of cAMP. If the researchers gave the cells a continuous supply of cAMP, GtaC would leave the nucleus after a brief lag and remain outside of it for as long as cAMP was present. When they removed cAMP, GtaC would re-enter the nucleus.

The researchers then engineered GtaC to stay put in the nucleus and found that the cells began to come together and specialize prematurely. However, in cells that lacked cAMP, the team found that these processes were not turned on even with GtaC in the nucleus.

To better understand the role of GtaC, the researchers used a protein that can glow to show when GtaC turned on a particular gene. What they found was another rhythmic, six-minute pattern of activity: The glowing spots indicating gene activity peaked in intensity approximately every six minutes and lagged about three minutes behind the peak of GtaC accumulation in the nucleus. According to Devreotes, this three-minute lag is likely due to the time it takes for the gene to be turned on and seen.

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Cellular 'counting' of rhythmic signals synchronizes changes in cell fate

Catching the early spread of breast cancer

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When cancer spreads from one part of the body to another, it becomes even more deadly. It moves with stealth and can go undetected for months or years. But a new technology that uses “nano-flares” has the potential to catch these lurking, mobilized tumor cells early on. Today, scientists presented the latest advances in nano-flare technology as it applies to the detection of metastatic breast cancer cells.

The report was one of more than 10,000 at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

“We’ve taken perhaps the world’s most important molecule, DNA, rearranged it into a spherical shape and modified it to detect specific molecules inside cells. These structures naturally enter cells and light up when they detect disease-causing molecules,” said Chad Mirkin, Ph.D., who is collaborating with C. Shad Thaxton, M.D., Ph.D., to develop the new technology. “We’re seeing if we can use nano-flares to create a new type of breast cancer diagnostic, and the early results are remarkable. Nano-flares could completely and radically change how we diagnose breast cancer.”

Earlier is better when it comes to cancer detection, but sometimes, by the time a patient notices symptoms and visits a doctor, the first tumor has already spread from its original location in the body to another. It has undergone “metastasis,” a state that causes many deaths related to cancer. Cancer took the lives of more than 8 million people worldwide in 2012.

To catch breast cancerand possibly other types of cancersearlier, the research groups built upon Mirkin’s ongoing program that kicked off in the 1990s with the invention of “spherical nucleic acids” (SNAs). SNAs are usually made out of a gold nanoparticle core covered with densely packed, short strands of DNA.

“We thought that if we could get large amounts of nucleic acids to go inside cells, we could manipulate and measure things inside cells,” said Mirkin, of Northwestern University. “Most people said we were wasting our time, but then out of curiosity, we put these particles in cell culture. Not only did we find that they go in, they went in better than any material known to man.”

Taking advantage of their ability to enter cells easily, Mirkin’s group set out to turn SNAs into a diagnostic toolthe nano-flare. Recently, he and Thaxton designed these particles, which enter circulating healthy and unhealthy cells in blood samples, but light up only inside breast cancer cells.

“Nano-flares can detect just a few cancer cells in a sea of healthy cells,” Mirkin said. “That’s important because when cancer spreads, only a few cells may break off from the original tumor and go into the bloodstream. An added bonus of these particles is that scientists may be able to sample the live cancerous cells and figure out what therapies they might respond to.”

The groups have successfully tested the nano-flares’ ability to identify metastatic breast cancer cells in blood samples from animals and are currently experimenting with human samples.

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Okyanos Heart Institute Announces Completion of Investment Funding

Freeport, Bahamas (PRWEB) March 18, 2014

Okyanos Heart Institute, whose mission it is to bring a new standard of care and a better quality of life to patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) using adult stem cell therapy, announced today it has raised $8.9 million in its Series B offering. Passion Group founder Ali Shawkat led the round and is a visionary entrepreneur-investor with success in a diverse set of industries including cellular services, telecom, media and healthcare.

Okyanos has the vision, medical leadership, adult stem cell technology and business model to better the lives of millions of patients, their families and society, said Shawkat. Cell therapy promises to be a new pillar of medicine as it is based on the natural biology of the body.

“This funding brings Okyanos’ total funding to $14.2 million. Financial strength is integral to our commitment to treat patients with cardiac cell therapy at the highest standards of safety and care, stated Matthew Feshbach, co-founder and CEO of Okyanos.

Okyanos’ cardiac cell therapy utilizes cells known as adipose-derived stem and regenerative cells (ADRCs), processed by Cytori Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CYTX) Celution system, a technology which has been approved and is commercially available in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and other international jurisdictions for various indications of use.

The company has procured a state-of-the-art Philips cath lab and is building out a center of excellence capable of treating over 1000 patients per year in Freeport, The Bahamas. Based on the recommendations of the Bahamas Stem Cell Task Force, which thoroughly studied the safety and efficacy of adult stem cell therapy, the Bahamas passed stem cell legislation in August, 2013.

Feshbach further stated, We have a sophisticated, entrepreneurial group of investors who are like-minded in our purpose to safely improve the quality of life of patients suffering from illnesses such as CAD, using adult stem cells derived from adipose (fat) tissue, added Feshbach. We appreciate the significant leadership and support of Mr. Shawkat who shares the Okyanos commitment.

The company will begin treating patients with coronary artery disease using their own stem cells in the summer of 2014.

About Okyanos Heart Institute: (Oh key AH nos) Based in Freeport, The Bahamas, Okyanos Heart Institutes mission is to bring a new standard of care and a better quality of life to patients with coronary artery disease using cardiac stem cell therapy. Okyanos adheres to U.S. surgical center standards and is led by Chief Medical Officer Howard T. Walpole Jr., M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A.I. Okyanos Treatment utilizes a unique blend of stem and regenerative cells derived from ones own adipose (fat) tissue. The cells, when placed into the heart via a minimally-invasive procedure, can stimulate the growth of new blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis. Angiogenesis facilitates blood flow in the heart, which supports intake and use of oxygen (as demonstrated in rigorous clinical trials such as the PRECISE trial). The literary name Okyanos, the Greek god of rivers, symbolizes restoration of blood flow. For more information, go to http://www.okyanos.com.

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Okyanos Heart Institute Announces Completion of Investment Funding

Effect of receptor activity-modifying protein-1 on vascular smooth muscle cells

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18-Mar-2014

Contact: Bei Shi shi_bei2147@126.com Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine

Bei Shi, Xianping Long, Ranzun Zhao, Zhijiang Liu, Dongmei Wang and Guanxue Xu, researchers at the First Affiliated Hospital of Zunyi Medical College within the Guizhou Province of China, have reported an approach for improving the use of stem cells for improvement of infarcted heart function and damage to the arteries in the March 2013 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine. They have discovered that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) transfected with a recombinant adenovirus containing the human receptor activity-modifying protein 1 (hRAMP1) gene (EGFP-hRAMP1-MSCs) when transplanted into rabbit models for both Myocardial infarction (MI) and carotid artery injury inhibit vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation within the neointima, and greatly improved both infarcted heart function and endothelial recovery from artery injury more efficiently than the control EGFP-MSCs.

MSCs have good applicability for cell transplantation because they possess self-renewal and multiple differentiation potential. With addition of either environmental or chemical substances, MSCs can differentiate into a variety of cell types. Numerous animal experiments and small clinical trials have shown that MSC transplantation can promote the formation of new blood vessels and reduce myocardial infarct size, and diminish the formation of scar tissue and ventricular remodeling, and improve cardiac functions. Nevertheless, MSCs have the potential to differentiate into VSMCs and may be the source of proliferating VSMCs during neointima formation after vascular injury. Recently, genetically modified MSCs, such as heme oxygenase-1(HO-1), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) over-expressing MSCs, have proven to be more efficient at ameliorating infarcted myocardium than administering MSCs alone.

Calcitonin gene related protein (CGRP) is one of the most well-known potent vasodilators and can regulate vascular tone and other aspects of vascular function. The receptors for CGRP include the calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CRLR), RAMP1, and the receptor component protein. RAMP1 confers ligand specificity for CGRP. The relaxation of the artery in response to CGRP is dependent on RAMP1 expression. The response to CGRP is augmented after the increased expression of RAMP1 in VSMCs in culture.

RAMP1 over-expression increased CGRP-induced vasodilation and protected against angiotensin II-induced endothelial dysfunction as well as prevented VSMCs proliferation. In this study, we tested the effects of human RAMP1-over-expressing MSCs on infarcted heart function and intimal hyperplasia by means of cell transplantation in rabbit models for MI reperfusion and carotid artery injury. Bei Shi said “Our data has shown that hRAMP1 over-expression in MSCs through genetic modification significantly inhibits neointimal proliferation and improves infarcted heart function.”

Dr. Steven R. Goodman, Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Biology and Medicine said “The effect of stem cell therapy with the RAMP1 expressing MSCs has been shown, by Bei Shi and colleagues, to reduce neointimal proliferation in the carotid angioplasty and myocardial infarction animal models. This approach could be important for the treatment of damaged vessels and the infracted heart”.

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Effect of receptor activity-modifying protein-1 on vascular smooth muscle cells

New nanoparticle that only attacks cervical cancer cells

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One of the most promising technologies for the treatment of various cancers is nanotechnology, creating drugs that directly attack the cancer cells without damaging other tissues’ development. The Laboratory of Cellular Oncology at the Research Unit in Cell Differentiation and Cancer, of the Faculty of Higher Studies (FES) Zaragoza UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) have developed a therapy to attack cervical cancer tumors.

The treatment, which has been tested in animal models, consists of a nanostructured composition encapsulating a protein called interleukin-2 (IL -2), lethal to cancer cells.

According to the researcher Rosalva Rangel Corona, head of the project, the antitumor effect of interleukin in cervical cancer is because their cells express receptors for interleukin-2 that “fit together” like puzzle pieces with the protein to activate an antitumor response .

The scientist explains that the nanoparticle works as a bridge of antitumor activation between tumor cells and T lymphocytes. The nanoparticle has interleukin 2 on its surface, so when the protein is around it acts as a switch, a contact with the cancer cell to bind to the receptor and to carry out its biological action.

Furthermore, the nanoparticle concentrates interleukin 2 in the tumor site, which allows its accumulation near the tumor growth. It is not circulating in the blood stream, is “out there” in action.

The administration of IL-2 using the nanovector reduces the side effects caused by this protein if administered in large amounts to the body. These effects can be fever, low blood pressure, fluid retention and attack to the central nervous system, among others.

It is known that interleukin -2 is a protein (a cytokine, a product of the cell) generated by active T cells. The nanoparticle, the vector for IL-2, carries the substance to the receptors in cancer cells, then saturates them and kills them, besides generating an immune T cells bridge (in charge of activating the immune response of the organism). This is like a guided missile acting within tumor cells and activating the immune system cells that kill them.

A woman immunosuppressed by disease produces even less interleukin. For this reason, the use of the nanoparticle would be very beneficial for female patients.

The researcher emphasized that his group must meet the pharmaceutical regulations to carry their research beyond published studies and thus benefit the population.

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New nanoparticle that only attacks cervical cancer cells

Heart cells respond to stiff environments

Mar 14, 2014 Schematic illustrating how mechanical properties of substrates affect where YAP/TAZ protein localization in cardiac stem cells (left) and how this affects stem cell development and function (right).

Proteins associated with the regulation of organ size and shape have been found to respond to the mechanics of the microenvironment in ways that specifically affect the decision of adult cardiac stem cells to generate muscular or vascular cells.

Cell development for specific functionsso-called cell differentiationis crucial for maintaining healthy tissue and organs. Two proteins in particularthe Yes-associated protein (YAP) and WW domain-containing transcription regulator protein 1 (WWTR1 or TAZ)have been linked with control of cell differentiation in the tissues of the lymphatic, circulatory, intestinal and neural systems, as well as regulating embryonic stem cell renewal. An international collaboration of researchers has now identified that changes in the elasticity and nanotopography of the cellular environment of these proteins can affect how heart stem cells differentiate with implications for the onset of heart diseases.

Researchers at the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA), National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) collaborated with researchers in Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and the Czech Republic in the study.

They engineered YAP and TAZ proteins that expressed green fluorescent protein so that their location within the cell could be tracked. They then prepared cell substrates from smart biomaterials displaying dynamic control of elasticity and nanostructure with temperature. “Our data provide the first evidence for YAP/TAZ shuttling activity between the nucleus and the cytoplasm being promptly activated in response to dynamic modifications in substrate stiffness or nanostructure,” explain the researchers.

Observations of gene expression highlighted the key role of YAP/TAZ proteins in cell differentiation. In further investigations on the effect of substrate stiffness they also found that cell differentiation was most efficient for substrates displaying stiffness similar to that found in the heart.

The authors suggest that understanding the effects of microenvironment nanostructure and mechanics on how these proteins affect cell differentiation could be used to aid processes that maintain a healthy heart. They conclude, “These proteins are indicated as potential targets to control cardiac progenitor cell fate by materials design.”

Explore further: Study identifies gene important to breast development and breast cancer

More information: Hippo pathway effectors control cardiac progenitor cell fate by acting as dynamic sensors of substrate mechanics and nanostructure. Diogo Mosqueira, et al. 2014 ACS Nano; DOI: 10.1021/nn4058984

A new study in Cell Reports identifies a gene important to breast development and breast cancer, providing a potential new target for drug therapies to treat aggressive types of breast cancer.

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Heart cells respond to stiff environments

Nasty nanoinjectors pose a new target for antibiotic research

Mar 14, 2014 by Brendan M. Lynch Parts of nanoinjectors from Salmonella as seen under an electron microscope. Credit: Dr. Matthew Lefebre and Professor Jorge Galan (Yale University)

If you’ve ever suffered the misery of food poisoning from a bacterium like Shigella or Salmonella, then your cells have been on the receiving end of “nanoinjectors”microscopic spikes made from proteins through which pathogens secrete effector proteins into human host cells, causing infection.

Many bacteria use nanoinjectors to infect millions of people around the world every year.

Today, Roberto De Guzman, associate professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Kansas, is leading a research group that is evaluating the potential of nanoinjectors as a target for a new class of antibiotics. Their work is funded by a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

“This grant will support our studies on elucidating how bacterial nanoinjectors are assembled,” said De Guzman. “Nanoinjectors are protein machinery used by bacterial pathogens to inject virulence proteins into human cells to cause infectious diseases. They are nanoscale is sizethey look like needles and bacteria use them to inject virulence proteins into host cellsso I called them nanoinjectors. In microbiology, they are known as part of the type III secretion system, a protein delivery machinery.”

The KU researcher said nanoinjectors are unique to pathogenic bacteria and are absolutely required for infectivity. Most people have heard of the diseases caused by bacterial pathogens that employ nanoinjectorsseveral of which have changed the course of the human experience for the worse.

“Examples are Yersinia pestis, which caused the Black Death in Europe and altered world history,” said De Guzman. “Also, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the number one cause of mortality among cystic fibrosis patients and a major source of secondary hospital infections, and Chlamydia, a major source of bacterial sexually transmitted disease.”

Because an increasing number of pathogens have evolved strains that are unaffected by antibiotics now on the market, De Guzman said that new approaches in drug development are necessaryand nanoinjectors could present a worthwhile target.

“The problem is that all of these pathogens have developed resistance to current antibiotics,” he said. “Further, antibiotics are not as profitable as other drugs, so pharmaceutical companies have disfavored developing them. Hence, there is a dearth of new antibiotics in the pipeline. We’re in for a perfect storm when the age of antibiotics is no longer assured.”

A major factor in NIH awarding this grant to KU is a $1.9 million nuclear magnetic resonance or NMR spectrometeressentially a huge magnetthat the university bought in 2004 through a bond approved by the Kansas Legislature.

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Nasty nanoinjectors pose a new target for antibiotic research

Stem cell therapy may help severe congestive heart failure

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13-Mar-2014

Contact: Toni Baker tbaker@gru.edu 706-721-4421 Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University

Augusta, Ga. Researchers want to know whether patients with debilitating heart failure can benefit by having their own stem cells injected into their ailing heart muscle.

The severe condition is ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy, a currently incurable condition resulting from significantly compromised blood flow to the heart muscle as well as heart attacks, which leave the muscle bulky and inefficient and patients unable to carry out routine activities.

“We want to know if stem cell therapy is an option for patients who have essentially run out of options,” said Dr. Adam Berman, electrophysiologist at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University and Director of Cardiac Arrhythmia Ablation Services at Georgia Regents Health System. “It’s a very exciting potential therapy, and these studies are designed to see if it works to help these patients.”

Berman is a Principal Investigator on the multi-site study in which stem cells are removed from the bone marrow, their numbers significantly increased by technology developed by Aastrom Biosciences, then injected into multiple weak points in the heart. At GR Health System, the procedure is performed in the Electrophysiology Lab where Berman threads a catheter into an artery from the groin into the heart. Three-dimensional maps of the heart are created to provide a clear picture of its natural geography as well as major sites of damage.

“Everyone’s heart is different, their scar burden is different, everything is different,” Berman said. From that vantage point, small needles – similar in size to those used for skin testing – are used to make about 12 to 20 strategic injections of mesenchymal stem cells, which can differentiate into a variety of cell types. In this case, researchers hope the cells will improve blood flow and function of the heart.

Half of the study participants receive the stem cell treatment called ixmyelocel-T and the remainder a saline placebo. Patients go home the next day but researchers follow all participants for 12 months to assess heart function and quality of life. GR Health System plans to enroll a handful of patients in the clinical trial.

Treatment options for heart failure include frontline therapies such as diuretics to more extreme measures such as implantable ventricular assist devices and heart transplants.

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Stem cell therapy may help severe congestive heart failure

Okyanos CEO Matt Feshbach Announces Appointment of Institutes Marketing Executive Erika Rosenthal to International …

Freeport, The Bahamas (PRWEB) March 10, 2014

Matt Feshbach, CEO of Okyanos Heart Institute whose mission it is to bring a new standard of care and better quality of life to patients with coronary artery disease using cardiac stem cell therapy has announced the appointment of Okyanos senior vice president of marketing, Erika Rosenthal, to the International Stem Cell Society (STEMSO) Advisory Board. She will advise the trade organization in a communications capacity to benefit the membership and the mission.

STEMSO is a member-based, international, non-profit 501(c) 6 trade association which promotes the interests of organizational members of the global, adult stem cell healthcare community. STEMSO provides information, education, resources, advocacy and public awareness for the advancement of adult stem cell research and therapy. The organization recently hosted a global regenerative medicine conference in Freeport, The Bahamas, entitled, Bridging the Gap: Research to Point of Care which brought together experts in adult stem cell therapy and regulations to discuss commercialization of therapies for chronic disease in a safe, ethical, and compliant manner.

STEMSO is an important organization to the field of stem cell therapy and research, said Feshbach. Communications and healthcare are both fields in which Erika excels, and so I am pleased to see her lend her expertise for an important cause. I look forward to the Okyanos Heart Institute executive team continuing with such efforts for the greater good of medicine.

Rosenthal was a 2008 recipient of the National Association of Women Business Owners Business Woman of the Year award, and was recognized in Business Leader Magazine as a Woman Extraordinaire, for her business accomplishments and contributions to the non-profit community. She is a former faculty member of the University of California where she taught Marketing and Hospitality Management.

It is indeed an honor to work with STEMSO to advance their cause to help advance adult stem cell research and therapy worldwide, and to bring together leading researchers, physicians, regulators and scientists to set standards for ethical and responsible delivery of therapies as they become available to the public worldwide, said Rosenthal. It is an exciting time in medicine, and STEMSO is greatly needed to bring collaboration and guidance between this impressive member group of thought leaders.

STEMSO is pleased to have Erika Rosenthal participate on STEMSOs Advisory Board, said Douglas Hammond, president of STEMSO. Non-profit trade associations are only as strong as their member participation and leadership allows. If other members or prospective organizational members were to support STEMSO as Okyanos Heart Institute and Erika Rosenthal, there would be no limit to STEMSOs impact in the Regenerative Medicine Industry.

About Okyanos Heart Institute: (Oh key AH nos) Based in Freeport, The Bahamas, Okyanos Heart Institutes mission is to bring a new standard of care and a better quality of life to patients with coronary artery disease using cardiac stem cell therapy. Okyanos adheres to U.S. surgical center standards and is led by Chief Medical Officer Howard T. Walpole Jr., M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A.I. Okyanos Treatment utilizes a unique blend of stem and regenerative cells derived from ones own adipose (fat) tissue. The cells, when placed into the heart via a minimally-invasive procedure, can stimulate the growth of new blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis. Angiogenesis facilitates blood flow in the heart, which supports intake and use of oxygen (as demonstrated in rigorous clinical trials such as the PRECISE trial). The literary name Okyanos, the Greek god of rivers, symbolizes restoration of blood flow.

END

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Okyanos CEO Matt Feshbach Announces Appointment of Institutes Marketing Executive Erika Rosenthal to International …

A Change of Heart: Stem Cells May Transform Treatment for Heart Failure

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Stem cells may transform the way doctors treat heart failure

In early 2009 Mike Jones bought a newspaper at a convenience store in Louisville, Ky., and read about a local doctor who wanted to try something unprecedented: healing an ailing heart by harvesting and multiplying its native stem cellsimmature cells with regenerative powers. Jones, then 65, had congestive heart failure: his heart was no longer pumping blood efficiently. He contacted the doctor, Roberto Bolli of the University of Louisville, and in July of that year Jones became the first person in the world to receive an infusion of his own cardiac stem cells.

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A Change of Heart: Stem Cells May Transform Treatment for Heart Failure

Transplanted human umbilical cord blood cells improved heart function in rat model of MI

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

6-Mar-2014

Contact: Robert Miranda cogcomm@aol.com Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair

Putnam Valley, NY. (Mar. 6, 2014) When human umbilical cord blood cells were transplanted into rats that had undergone a simulated myocardial infarction (MI), researchers investigating the long term effects of the transplantation found that left ventricular (LV) heart function in the treated rats was improved over those that did not get the stem cells. The animals were maintained without immunosuppressive therapy.

The study will be published in a future issue of Cell Transplantation but is currently freely available on-line as an unedited early e-pub at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/pre-prints/content-ct0860Chen.

“Myocardial infarction induced by coronary artery disease is one of the major causes of heart attack,” said study co-author Dr. Jianyi Zhang of the University of Minnesota Health Science Center. “Because of the loss of viable myocardium after an MI, the heart works under elevated wall stress, which results in progressive myocardial hypertrophy and left ventricular dilation that leads to heart failure. We investigated the long term effects of stem cell therapy using human non-hematopoietic umbilical cord blood stem cells (nh-UCBCs). These cells have previously exhibited neuro-restorative effects in a rodent model of ischemic brain injury in terms of improved LV function and myocardial fiber structure, the three-dimensional architecture of which make the heart an efficient pump.”

According to the authors, stem cell therapy for myocardial repair has been investigated extensively for the last decade, with researchers using a variety of different animal models, delivery modes, cells types and doses, all with varying levels of LV functional response. They also note that the underlying mechanisms for improvement are “poorly understood,” and that the overall regeneration of muscle cells is “low.”

To investigate the heart’s remodeling processes and to characterize alterations in the cardiac fiber architecture, the research team used diffusion tensor MRI (DTMRI), used previously to study myofiber structure in both humans and animals.

While most previous studies have been focused on the short term effects of UCBCs, their study on long term effects not only demonstrated evidence of significantly improved heart function in the treated rats, but also showed evidence of delay and prevention in terms of myocardial fiber structural remodeling, alterations that could have resulted in heart failure.

When compared to the age-matched but untreated rat hearts with MI, the regional myocardial function of nh-UCBC-treated hearts was significantly improved and the preserved myocardial fiber structure may have served as an “underlying mechanism for the observed function improvements.”

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Transplanted human umbilical cord blood cells improved heart function in rat model of MI

3D printing helps create tailor-made wrap-around heart sensor array

Researchers have used 3D-printed models of the heart to create a personalized wrap-around heart sensor array which can transmit highly detailed information on a patients cardiac health and may thus help to predict and prevent serious medical problems.

The buzz surrounding 3D printing sometimes gives the impression that the technology provides a miracle solution for making any manufactured product more cheaply. In fact the main advantage of the technology is to be able to produce prototypes cheaper and faster or to customize products and components. The medical sector may well be among the first to benefit from this latter approach by using the technique, formally known as additive layer manufacturing (ALM), to produce tailor-made surgical implants. At the moment, medical researchers are focusing on highly ambitious projects such as printing replacement organs from a persons own stem cells, but this procedure will take years of development before it can be widely used on patients. Recently researchers have used 3D printing to help create a rather more modest device which could be incorporated fairly quickly into treatment procedures. Every heart has its own unique size and shape, and medical procedures need to be adjusted accordingly in order to deliver fully personalised treatment. Now researchers Igor Efimov of WashingtonUniversity in St Louisand John Rogers at the University of Illinoishave demonstrated a new type of tailor-made cardiac sensor array which increases the quantity and improves the quality of the information gathered, and thus help prevent certain cardiac problems.

Efimov, a cardiac physiologist and bioengineer, and Rogers, a materials scientist, used optical images of rabbits hearts to demonstrate the concept of creating an ALM model of the heart in order to make the sensor array. In fact CT or MRI scans of each persons heart would be used to make devices for human patients. Having 3D-printed the model of the heart, they then built a stretchy electronic mesh structure a sort of envelope to wrap round the model. The stretchy material can then be peeled off the printed model and wrapped around the real heart in a perfect fit. This technique enables a far more precise approach than has hitherto been feasible and the research team were able to integrate an unprecedented number of components into the device, including embedded sensors, oxygenation detectors, thermometers and electrodes that can, if need be, deliver electric shocks to stimulate a flagging heart. Although the device has been developed specifically to treat ventricular deformation andcardiacarrhythmia, it could incorporate different types of sensors in order to improve treatment for a number of other heart conditions, inter alia enabling medicines to be delivered to the exact spot where they are needed.

Igor Efimov reveals that the next step is a device with multiple sensors, and not just more electrical sensors. Sensors that measure acidity, for instance, could provide an early warning of a blocked coronary artery. So far, the researchers have tested their technology on beating rabbit hearts outside the body. The next stage will be to demonstrate that this approach can work in live animals before it can be tested on people. Although devices made in this kind of custom-manufacturing process would probably be more expensive than mass-produced medical implants, using ALM to print the basic heart model will bring the cost down considerably and help to ensure that the technology becomes available to patients who need it. In any case, argues Stanford University materials scientist Zhenan Bao, for these kinds of life-or-death applications, the market is likely to bear the cost, given the rich information that the device will provide, enabling early treatment of potentially serious conditions. The idea of incorporating IT devices into organs is becoming more commonplace and there could be many medical applications, such as devices to assist bladder control or mitigate conditions of the nervous system. In a less life-and-death field, the technology could also be used for body digitisation with a view to producing tailor-made clothing.

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3D printing helps create tailor-made wrap-around heart sensor array

Establishing standards where none exist; Harvard researchers define 'good' stem cells

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

6-Mar-2014

Contact: B.D. Colen bd_colen@harvard.edu 617-413-1224 Harvard University

After more than a decade of incremental and paradigm shifting, advances in stem cell biology, almost anyone with a basic understanding of life sciences knows that stem cells are the basic form of cell from which all specialized cells, and eventually organs and body parts, derive.

But what makes a “good” stem cell, one that can reliably be used in drug development, and for disease study? Researchers have made enormous strides in understanding the process of cellular reprogramming, and how and why stem cells commit to becoming various types of adult cells. But until now, there have been no standards, no criteria, by which to test these ubiquitous cells for their ability to faithfully adopt characteristics that make them suitable substitutes for patients for drug testing. And the need for such quality control standards becomes ever more critical as industry looks toward manufacturing products and treatments using stem cells.

Now a research team lead by Kevin Kit Parker, a Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) Principal Faculty member has identified a set of 64 crucial parameters from more than 1,000 by which to judge stem cell-derived cardiac myocytes, making it possible for perhaps the first time for scientists and pharmaceutical companies to quantitatively judge and compare the value of the countless commercially available lines of stem cells.

“We have an entire industry without a single quality control standard,” said Parker, the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics in Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a Core Member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

HSCI Co-director Doug Melton, who also is co-chair of Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, called the standard-setting study “very important. This addresses a critical issue,” Melton said. “It provides a standardized method to test whether differentiated cells, produced from stem cells, have the properties needed to function. This approach provides a standard for the field to move toward reproducible tests for cell function, an important precursor to getting cells into patients or using them for drug screening.”

Parker said that starting in 2009, he and Sean P. Sheehy, a graduate student in Parker’s lab and the first author on a paper just given early on-line release by the journal Stem Cell Reports, “visited a lot of these companies (commercially producing stem cells), and I’d never seen a dedicated quality control department, never saw a separate effort for quality control.” Parker explained many companies seemed to assume that it was sufficient simply to produce beating cardiac cells from stem cells, without asking any deeper questions about their functions and quality.

“We put out a call to different companies in 2010 asking for cells to start testing,” Parker says, “some we got were so bad we couldn’t even get a baseline curve on them; we couldn’t even do a calibration on them.”

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Establishing standards where none exist; Harvard researchers define 'good' stem cells

Researchers Find Protein 'Switch' Central to Heart Cell Division

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Newswise In a study that began in a pair of infant siblings with a rare heart defect, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have identified a key molecular switch that regulates heart cell division and normally turns the process off around the time of birth. Their research, they report, could advance efforts to turn the process back on and regenerate heart tissue damaged by heart attacks or disease.

This study offers hope that we can someday find a way to restore the ability of heart cells to divide in response to injury and to help patients recover from many kinds of cardiac dysfunction, says cardiologist Daniel P. Judge, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institutes Center for Inherited Heart Diseases. Things usually heal up well in many parts of the body through cell division, except in the heart and the brain. Although other work has generated a lot of excitement about the possibility of treatment with stem cells, our research offers an entirely different direction to pursue in finding ways to repair a damaged heart.

Unlike most other cells in the body that regularly die off and regenerate, heart cells rarely divide after birth. When those cells are damaged by heart attack, infection or other means, the injury is irreparable.

Judges new findings, reported online March 4 in the journal Nature Communications, emerged from insights into a genetic mutation that appears responsible for allowing cells to continue replicating in the heart in very rare cases.

The discovery, Judge says, began with the tale of two infants, siblings born years apart but each diagnosed in their earliest weeks with heart failure. One underwent a heart transplant at three months of age; the other at five months. When pathologists examined their damaged hearts after they were removed, they were intrigued to find that the babies heart cells continued to divide a process that wasnt supposed to happen at their ages.

The researchers then hunted for genetic abnormalities that might account for the phenomenon by scanning the small percent of their entire genome responsible for coding proteins. One stood out: ALMS1, in which each of the affected children had two abnormal copies.

The Johns Hopkins researchers also contacted colleagues at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, who had found the same heart cell proliferation in five of its infant patients, including two sets of siblings. Genetic analysis showed those children had mutations in the same ALMS1 gene, which appears to cause a deficiency in the Alstrm protein that impairs the ability of heart cells to stop dividing on schedule. The runaway division may be responsible for the devastating heart damage in all of the infants, Judge says.

These mutations, it turned out, were also linked to a known rare recessive disorder called Alstrm syndrome, a condition associated with obesity, diabetes, blindness, hearing loss and heart disease.

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Experimental Biology 2014 Programming at a Glance

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Newswise BETHESDA, Md., February 27, 2014 Six scientific societies will hold their joint scientific sessions and annual meetings, known as Experimental Biology (EB), from April 26-30, 2014, in San Diego. This meeting, EB 2014, brings together the leading researchers from dozens of life-science disciplines. The societies represented at the meeting will be: the American Association of Anatomists (AAA), the American Physiological Society (APS), the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP), the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).

Below are some programming highlights:

Productive Public-Private Partnerships for Pharmacological Progress (ASPET) This timely symposium will explore new models of productive relationships used by pharmaceutical companies, academia, government and foundations to foster the discovery and development of new therapeutics to address unmet medical needs. Among the topics discussed will be the role of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health in helping to speed delivery of new drugs to patients, how public-private partnerships in the United States and the European Union are carrying out basic science that is relevant to drug discovery and how industry can build successful partnerships with academic institutions while avoiding the usual pitfalls. (Tues., 4/29)

Stem Cells for Heart Repair (ASIP) Heart failure is a leading cause of death, but most of todays therapies only delay the progression of disease. Recent clinical trials and laboratory experiments have conceptually demonstrated how stem cells could be used to repair the heart and improve cardiac function. In this session, leading investigators talk about using cardiac progenitor cells to regenerate contractile heart muscle cells in both developing and aging hearts as well as the potential use of stem cells for forming new vessels in the injured heart. (Sun., 4/27)

Molecular Basis of Addiction: Neurocognitive Deficits and Memory (ASBMB) This symposium will address the emerging idea that addiction is a disease of learning and memory. The general consensus is that the rewarding properties of addictive drugs depend on their ability to ultimately increase dopamine in the brain, but current research does not adequately explain the molecular mechanisms of drug addiction, how repeated dopamine release leads to compulsive use, why the risk of relapse can persist for years and how drug-related cues come to control behavior. This symposium will present new data providing evidence that addiction partly represents a pathological usurpation of processes involved in long-term memory. (Mon., 4/28)

Neurocognition: The Food-Brain Connection (ASN) Does food addiction exist? This double session will take a trans-disciplinary view of the emerging evidence on cognitive neuroscience, nutrition and food/sensory factors involved in understanding the brains role in food consumption. Topics include current perspectives and misunderstandings related to food and the brain as well as methods for studying food reward and control of food intake. (Mon., 4/28)

Signaling by Natural and Engineered Extracellular Matrices (AAA) This mini-meeting will explore how cells and tissues respond to the physical structure and biological properties of natural and engineered extracellular matrices. The presentations will show how interplay and bi-directional interaction between cells and their surrounding extracellular matrix scaffold play a pivotal role in the formation of new organs and tissues. Plenary speakers will discuss matrix-dependent mechanical regulation of organ development; the microenvironment of aging muscle stem cells as a therapeutic target; and how growth factors, the extracellular matrix and microRNAs regulate vessel formation. (Sun., 4/27)

Sex Differences in Physiology and Pathophysiology (APS) Scientists are discovering significant differences between males and females that affect health, illness and how the body responds to therapeutics. This symposium will discuss the latest animal and clinical research on sex differences in both disease and non-disease physiology. Topics include sex differences in chronic kidney disease, sex-specific signaling in heart muscle cells, mechanisms of hypertension in the transition to menopause, and a newly discovered peptide that controls hormonal release from the pituitary gland with differing effects in males and females. (Sun., 4/27)

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Experimental Biology 2014 Programming at a Glance

Okyanos Heart Institute Inks Deal with Cytori Therapeutics For Long-Term Supply Agreement

Freeport, The Bahamas (PRWEB) February 21, 2014

Okyanos Heart Institute, whose mission it is to bring a new standard of care and a better quality of life to patients with coronary artery disease using adult stem cell therapy, and Cytori Therapeutics have announced that they have established a ten year supply agreement for the Celution System family of products to be utilized by the Okyanos Heart Institute.

Cytoris Celution system is a CE-marked device that is compliant with the European Medical Device Directive, has a well established safety record and will be used by Okyanos to treat patients with coronary artery disease and other ischemic conditions, stated Matthew Feshbach, CEO and co-founder of Okyanos. In a small but rigorous double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial, strong signals of efficacy from the placement of adipose-derived stem and regenerative cells (ADRCs) in the heart were reported, added Feshbach.

For Cytori, this agreement represents our expanding customer base and an important new customer focused on utilizing the global standard CelutionTM System to process ADRCs to treat patients, stated Christopher Calhoun, CEO of Cytori.

The Bahamas Parliament passed stem cell legislation and regulations in August, 2013, which focus on patient safety and require scientific and clinical trial data supporting the treatment being provided. Okyanos is building out a state-of-the-art cath lab capable of treating more than 1,000 patients per year in Freeport, The Bahamas.

ABOUT OKYANOS HEART INSTITUTE: (Oh key AH nos) Based in Freeport, The Bahamas, Okyanos Heart Institutes mission is to bring a new standard of care and a better quality of life to patients with coronary artery disease using cardiac stem cell therapy. Okyanos adheres to U.S. surgical center standards and is led by Chief Medical Officer Howard T. Walpole Jr., M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A.I. Okyanos Treatment utilizes a unique blend of stem and regenerative cells derived from ones own adipose (fat) tissue. The cells, when placed into the heart via a minimally-invasive procedure, can stimulate the growth of new blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis. Angiogenesis facilitates blood flow in the heart, which supports intake and use of oxygen (as demonstrated in rigorous clinical trials such as the PRECISE trial). The literary name Okyanos, the Greek god of rivers, symbolizes restoration of blood flow.

Okyanos LinkedIn Page: http://www.linkedin.com/company/okyanos-heart-institute

Okyanos Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OKYANOS

Okyanos Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/#!/OkyanosHeart

Okyanos Google+ Page: https://plus.google.com/+Okyanos/posts

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Even before they can pump blood, baby hearts need rhythm

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A study published in the journal Biomaterials finds that the rhythmic pulsation of cardiac muscle cells is a driving force in the initial formation of heart valves.

The heart forms as a simple U-shaped tube of tissue, comprised of three layers.

A layer of cardiac muscle cells begin to pulse even before blood vessels are formed. Beneath the muscle is a layer of “cardiac jelly,” and below that is a layer of endothelial cells that will transform into valvular interstitial cells (VICs).

Where the heart valves form, endothelial cells embed themselves into cushions of cardiac jelly.

The endothelial cells transform into VICs, and these cells co-ordinate the transformation of the cardiac jelly into the two or three flaps (called “leaflets”) that comprise the valve and control the flow of blood to the heart by opening and closing.

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Even before they can pump blood, baby hearts need rhythm

Baby Hearts Need Rhythm to Develop Correctly

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Newswise NASHVILLE, Tenn. To develop correctly, baby hearts need rhythm…even before they have blood to pump.

We have discovered that mechanical forces are important when making baby hearts, said Mary Kathryn Sewell-Loftin, a Vanderbilt graduate student working with a team of Vanderbilt engineers, scientists and clinicians attempting to grow replacement heart valves from a patients own cells.

In an article published last month in the journal Biomaterials the team reported that they have taken an important step toward this goal by determining that the mechanical forces generated by the rhythmic expansion and contraction of cardiac muscle cells play an active role in the initial stage of heart valve formation.

A heart valve is a marvelous device. It consists of two or three flaps, called leaflets, which open and close to control the flow of blood through the heart. It is designed well enough to cycle two to three billion times in a persons lifetime. (Humans and chickens are outliers: Most other animals, large and small, have hearts that beat about one billion times in their lives.) However, heart valves can be damaged by diseases such as rheumatic fever and cancer, aging, heart attacks and birth defects.

For the last 15 years, people have been trying to create a heart valve out of artificial tissue using brute-force engineering methods without any success, said Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering W. David Merryman. We decided to take a step back and study how heart valves develop naturally so we can figure out how to duplicate the process. To do so, they designed a series of experiments with chickens, whose hearts develop in a fashion similar to the human heart.

The discovery that the deformations produced by the beating cardiac muscle cells are important provides an entirely new perspective on the process, said Merryman, who directed the three-year study.

The Vanderbilt effort is part of a broader program to develop artificial organs named the Systems-based Consortium for Organ Design and Engineering (SysCODE). It is a National Institutes of Health Roadmap initiative to speed the movement of scientific discoveries from the bench to the bedside.

This is the second major advance that weve made, said Professor of Pharmacology Joey Barnett, co-principal investigator of the heart valve project.

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Baby Hearts Need Rhythm to Develop Correctly

Over 5,000 Cubans receive stem cell treatment: Expert

Havana, Feb 16 (IANS): More than 5,000 patients have received stem cell treatment in Cuba since its procedure was introduced in 2004, a medical expert said.

Porfirio Hernandez, researcher and vice director at the Hematology and Immunology Institute in Cuba, said the stem cell treatment method has been implemented in 13 of the 15 provinces in Cuba.

As a widely acknowledged pioneer of this practice, Hernandez said that more than 60 percent of patients receiving the treatment had suffered from severe ischemia at lower limbs and other blood vessel related ailments, reported Xinhua.

The therapy has also been used to reduce the sufferings of patients with severe orthopedic and cardiac problems, Hernandez added.

Stem cells are capable of self-renewing, regenerating tissues damaged by diverse disease, traumas, and ageing, and stimulating the creation of new blood vessels.

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Media Lab to focus on heart research

ONEIDA >> There is an abundance of groundbreaking research going on at the Cardiac Research Institute, or Masonic Medical Research Laboratory in Utica. Myron Thurston III, the assistant director of development and communications at the institute, will host the next Community Media Lab to share some of the experimental cardiology projects and research with the public, as well as educate them on heart health.

The Community Media Lab will take place Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Oneida Daily Dispatch office, 130 Broad St. in Oneida. It is free and open to the public.

Thurston will explain what were doing in the area of cardiac arrhythmias and irregular heartbeats. An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm caused by electrical instability within the heart.

Some of the most significant work done at the lab is with stem cell research and bio-engineering. Scientists at the lab are working on using skin cells to create genetically-matching heart cells that can ideally be used for regenerative therapy for failing hearts.

Thurston says the idea is that if the scientists can create a heart or organ made from the persons cells the body wouldnt reject it.

The lab is also pioneering efforts in cloning a human heart. In the beginning of 2013, scientists at the institute began to look into replicating a heart in their revolutionary bioreactor, or bio-engineering chamber, which provides a space for the growth and maturity of cloned organs. They have been testing with rabbit hearts, and hope to scale up from there.

The process begins with removing all of the genetic material from the heart, leaving a shell of the muscle, commonly called a ghost heart because it has a white appearance after decellularization. The goal is to put pluripotent stem cells, or stem cells capable of separating into one of many cell types, into the ghost heart to generate a cloned heart from the patients own cells. Scientist are in the process of putting cells back into the heart, and Thurston says so far its working.

This gets rid of the need for donor hearts, said Thurston. Donor hearts have to be harvested within minutes to be viable for a transplant, he said, which is less time than it takes to harvest most other organs.

Thurston says the next step is for scientists to test pig hearts, which are identical to human hearts once all the genetic material is removed.

While the lab has made several scientific accomplishments including producing revolutionary drugs and treatments for cardiac arrhythmias, it boasts the discovery and naming of the M cell as its most significant breakthrough in heart research. Through the finding of the M cell, researchers were able to determine that the heart was a heterogeneous organ, meaning differences exist in the organs function and drug interaction. The cells were found to be the main reason for many types of arrhythmias, leading to the development of new strategies to fight the irregular heartbeats by targeting the M cells. Continued…

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Media Lab to focus on heart research

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