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Archive for the ‘Skin Stem Cells’ Category

The 8 Newest Skin-Care Secrets of 2017 – Allure Magazine

The newest skin-care secrets of 2017 are blazing trails, blowing minds and changing the face of skin care. Here are the eight most important takeaways from the coolest breakthroughs happening right now.

It may not be the sexiest of anti-aging ingredients, but dermatologists are realizing that cholesterol a component of the material holding our skin cells together is one of the most important ingredients to look for in a moisturizer (especially by age 40, when levels can plummet as much as 40 percent). Its most effective when combined with fatty acids and ceramides, which also help hold skin cells firmly in place so your skin looks smoother and more radiant. Find the trio in __ Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum . But no one is suggesting you need to start eating butter by the stick: Theres no evidence that ingesting more cholesterol will do anything for the skin, says Jordana Herschthal, a dermatologist in Boca Raton, Florida.

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Were not throwing shade at walking or lifting weights they beat sitting on the couch but if you want smoother, fresher-looking skin, you need to get your heart rate up. In one study, people ages 20 to 86 who exercised at a high intensity (running, cycling, whatever youre into) for four or more hours a week for at least ten years had thinner stratum corneum layers and more energetic mitochondrial cells than participants who didnt regularly work out. In plain English: Their skin appeared and acted younger. And its never too late to reverse course. Even previously sedentary 65- to 86-year-olds who began moderate aerobic exercise for 45 minutes twice a week had a change in their skin signs of aging began to reverse on a molecular level after just three months.

We used to think UV rays were the main culprit for melasma, but data is also indicating that visible light and heat may cause dark patches, too, says Doris Day , a clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. This means that Bikram or standing over a hot stove can create inflammation and exacerbate hyperpigmentation . The risk for melasma is increased for anyone with a job where theyre exposed to constant heat, like bakers, says Herschthal. In addition to using sunscreen, she recommends incorporating a product that regulates skin temperature into your routine to minimize the damage; she likes Colorescience Even Up Clinical Pigment Perfector SPF 50 , which has a marine extract called venuceane. Its one of the few ingredients that keeps skin cool for an extended period of time, says Herschthal. (Studies suggest that applying it twice daily regulates skin temperature.) We also like running the metal ReFa S Carat roller over skin for a temporary cooling effect.

From left: Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum, SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2, ReFa S Carat roller, Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream, and Colorescience Even Up Clinical Pigment Perfector SPF 50. Photo by Josephine Schiele.

Theres no rule that says you have to use one product on your entire face. In fact, the new thinking is that you shouldnt. I have patients who use retinoids only on their cheeks and forehead and prescription Soolantra on their chin, where theyre prone to rosacea, says Dendy Engelman, a dermatologist in New York City. Another combo she recommends: Thick creams around the delicate eye area and on the lips, and salicylic acid or glycolic acid products on the T-zone to minimize breakouts (try Paulas Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ). Use anti- redness products only across the bridge of the nose, on the cheeks, and on the chin to soothe areas prone to flushing. (Engelman likes the Eau Thermale Avene Antirougeurs and Aveeno Ultra-Calming lines.)

When the bones in your face shrink with age yes, it happens it contributes to sagging and a generally flat appearance, says Ava Shamban, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills. Dermatologists have long turned to hyaluronic acid fillers to make the face look fuller, but inject too much of them in the wrong places and suddenly its hello, weird blowfish face. Now dermatologists are learning that injecting hyaluronic acid deeper onto the top layer of bone, instead of in wrinkles seems to reverse some of the bone shrinkage. For chins, if you inject on the top layer of bone, youre stimulating stem cells and actually getting chin augmentation over time, says Shamban, adding that the technique appears to work for the cheekbones and jawbone, as well.

Its an even better anti-ager than we thought. A study published in Dermatologic Surgery (and sponsored by the Johnson & Johnson Skin Research Center) found that when people applied a moisturizer with SPF 30 daily for a year without any other anti-aging products (in other words: zero, nada, nothing else), they ended up with clinically measured improvement in mottled skin tone (by 52 percent), texture (by 40 percent), and clarity (by 41 percent). And the self-reported results were even stronger, which means those numbers translated to younger- looking skin. Its some of the best evidence yet that sunscreen doesnt just prevent aging; it may actually reverse it.

A version of this article on the newest skin-care secrets of 2017 originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Allure. To get your copy, head to newsstands or subscribe now.

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The 8 Newest Skin-Care Secrets of 2017 – Allure Magazine

Japanese Man Is First to Receive ‘Reprogrammed’ Stem Cells from Another Person – Scientific American

On March 28, a Japanese man in his 60s became the first person to receive cells derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that had been donated by another person.

The surgery is expected to set the path for more applications of iPS cell technology, which offers the versatility of embryonic stem cells without the latters ethical taint. Banks of iPS cells from diverse donors could make stem cell transplants more convenient to perform, while slashing costs.

iPS cells are created by removing mature cells from an individual (from their skin, for example), reprogramming these cells backto an embryonic state, and then coaxing them to become a cell type useful for treating a disease.

In the recent procedure, performed on a man from Hyogo prefecture, skin cells from an anonymous donor were reprogrammed and then turned into a type of retinal cell that was transplanted onto the retina of thepatient who suffers from age-related macular degeneration. Doctors hope the cells will stop progression of the disease, which can lead to blindness.

In a procedure performed in September 2014at the Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital, a Japanese woman received retinal cells derived from iPS cells. They were taken from her own skin, though, and then reprogrammed. Such cells prepared for a second patient were found to contain genetic abnormalities and never implanted.

The team decided to redesign the study based on new regulations, and no other participants were recruited to the clinical study. In February 2017, the team reported that the one patient had fared well. The introduced cells remained intactand vision had not declined as would usually be expected with macular degeneration.

In todays procedure performed at the same hospital and by the same surgeon Yasuo Kurimoto doctors used iPS cells that had been taken from a donors skin cells, reprogrammed and banked. Japans health ministry approved the study, which plansto enroll 5 patients, on 1 February.

Using a donor’s iPS cells does not offer an exact genetic match, raising the prospect of immune rejection. But Shinya Yamanaka, the Nobel Prize-winning stem-cell scientist who pioneered iPS cells, has contended that banked cells should be a close enough match for most applications.

Yamanaka is establishing an iPS cell bank, which depends on matching donors to recipients via three genes that code for human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) proteins on the cell surface that are involved in triggering immune reactions. HisiPS Cell Stock for Regenerative Medicine currently has cell lines from just one donor. But by March 2018, they hope to create 5-10 HLA-characterized iPS cell lines, which should match 30%-50% of Japans population.

Use of these ready-made cells has advantages for offering stem cell transplants across an entire population, says Masayo Takahashi, an ophthalmologist at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology who devised the iPS cell protocol deployed in todays transplant. The cells are available immediately versus several months wait for a patients own cells and are much cheaper. Cells from patients, who tend to be elderly, might have also accumulated genetic defects that could increase the risk of the procedure.

At a press conference after the procedure, Takahashi said the surgery had gone well but that success could not be declaredwithout monitoring the fate of the introduced cells. She plans to make no further announcements about patient progress until all five procedures are finished. We are at the beginning, she says.

This article is reproduced with permission and wasfirst publishedon March 28, 2017.

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Japanese Man Is First to Receive ‘Reprogrammed’ Stem Cells from Another Person – Scientific American

Skin stem cells gain traction for skin repair and regeneration … – FinancialsTrend


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Skin stem cells gain traction for skin repair and regeneration …
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Although a tremendous progress has been made, large full-thickness skin defects are still associated with mortality due to a low availability of donor skin areas.

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Skin stem cells gain traction for skin repair and regeneration … – FinancialsTrend

Neural Crest Stem Cells From Skin Without Genetic Modifications – UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences News

Stelios Andreadis, PhD, is leading a team of researchers who have discovered how to convert adult skin cells into stem cells without modifying their genetics.

UB researchers have found that adult skin cells can be converted into neural crest cells without any genetic modification.

The discovery, which was several years in the making, proves that these stem cells can yield other cells that are present in the spinal cord and brain.

The applications could be very significant, ranging from studying genetic diseases in a dish to generating possible regenerative cures from a patients own cells.

Its actually quite remarkable that it happens, says Stelios Andreadis, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering, who recently published a paper on the results, titled Reprogramming Postnatal Human Epidermal Keratinocytes Toward Functional Neural Crest Fates, in the journal Stem Cells.

The identity of the cells was further confirmed by lineage tracing experiments, where the reprogrammed cells were implanted in chicken embryos and acted just as neural crest cells do.

This image shows Keratinocyte-derived neural crest stem cells turning into neurons as shown by typical neuronal morphology.

Stem cells have been derived from adult cells before, but not without adding genes to alter the cells. The new process yields neural crest cells without addition of foreign genetic material. The reprogrammed neural crest cells can become smooth muscle cells, melanocytes, Schwann cells or neurons.

In medical applications this has tremendous potential because you can always get a skin biopsy, says Andreadis, who is also professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

We can grow the cells to large numbers and reprogram them without genetic modification. So, autologous cells derived from the patient can be used to treat devastating neurogenic diseases that are currently hampered by the lack of easily accessible cell sources, he says.

The process can also be used to model disease. Skin cells from a person with a genetic disease of the nervous system can be reprogrammed into neural crest cells. These cells will have the disease-causing mutation in their chromosomes, but the genes that cause the mutation are not expressed in the skin.

The genes are likely to be expressed when cells differentiate into neural crest lineages, such as neurons or Schwann cells, thereby enabling researchers to study the disease in a dish. This is similar to induced pluripotent stem cells, but without genetic modification or reprogramming to the pluripotent state.

The discovery was a gradual process, taking almost five years, Andreadis says, as successive experiments kept leading to something new.

It was one step at a time. It was a very challenging task that involved a wide range of expertise and collaborators to bring it to fruition, he says.

Collaborators include:

Andreadis credits the persistence of his then-doctoral student, Vivek K. Bajpai, for sticking with it.

He is an excellent and persistent student, Andreadis says. Most students would have given up.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Andreadis also credits a seed grant from UBs Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Developments IMPACT program that enabled part of the work.

The work recently received a $1.7 million NIH grant to delve into the mechanisms that occur as the cells reprogram, and to employ the cells for treating the Parkinsons-like symptoms in a mouse model of hypomyelinating disease.

This work has the potential to provide a novel source of abundant, easily accessible and autologous cells for treatment of devastating neurodegenerative diseases, Andreadis says. We are excited about this discovery and its potential impact and are grateful to NIH for the opportunity to pursue it further.

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Neural Crest Stem Cells From Skin Without Genetic Modifications – UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences News

New stem cell method produces millions of human brain and muscle cells in days – Cambridge Network

This method opens the doors to producing all sorts of hard-to-access cells and tissues so we can better our understanding of diseases and the response of these tissues to newly developed therapeutics. – Mark Kotter

The results published in Stem Cell Reports open the door to producing a diversity of new cell types that could not be made before in order to study disease.

Human pluripotent stem cells are master cells that have the ability to develop into almost any type of tissue, including brain cells. They hold huge potential for studying human development and the impact of diseases, including cancer, Alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease.

In a human, it takes nine to twelve months for a single brain cell to develop fully. It can take between three and 20 weeks using current methods to create human brain cells, including grey matter (neurons) and white matter (oligodendrocytes) from an induced pluripotent stem cell that is, a stem cell generated by reprogramming a skin cell to its master stage. However, these methods are complex and time-consuming, often producing a mixed population of cells.

The new platform technology, OPTi-OX, optimises the way of switching on genes in human stem cells. Scientists applied OPTi-OX to the production of millions of nearly identical cells in a matter of days. In addition to the neurons, oligodendrocytes, and muscle cells the scientists created in the study, OPTi-OX holds the possibility of generating any cell type at unprecedented purities, in this short timeframe.

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Image:Oligodendrocyte Credit: Wikimedia

Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge _________________________________________________

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New stem cell method produces millions of human brain and muscle cells in days – Cambridge Network

Stem cells seem speedier in space – Concord Register

Cultured stem cells. Credit: BioServe Inc., University of Colorado

Growing significant numbers of human stem cells in a short time could lead to new treatments for stroke and other diseases. Scientists are sending stem cells to the International Space Station to test whether these cells proliferate faster in microgravity without suffering any side effects.

Therapeutic uses require hundreds of millions of stem cells and currently no efficient way exists to produce such quantities. Previous research suggests that could help, and the space station is home to the nations only national lab in microgravity.

Some types of stem cells grow faster in simulated microgravity, according to Abba Zubair, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. Zubair is principal investigator for the Microgravity Expanded Stem Cells investigation, which is cultivating human stem cells aboard the for use in clinical trials back on Earth. He holds a doctor of medicine degree in transfusion medicine and cell therapy and a doctorate of philosophy in tumor immunology.

Human stem cells are cells that have not yet specialized in function and can divide into a spectrum of cell types, rejuvenating and repairing tissue throughout a persons lifetime. Stem cells in every organ of the body, including skin and bones, maintain those organs and repair tissue by dividing and differentiating into specialized cells.

The Plate Habitat (PHAB) containing BioCell cassettes for the Expanded Stem Cell investigation aboard the space station. Credit: BioServe Inc., University of Colorado

Harvesting a persons stem cells and growing enough of them for use in therapies has proven difficult, though. Researchers have successfully grown , found in bone marrow, but growing sufficient quantities takes weeks. That could be too late for treatment of some conditions.

Stem cells are inherently designed to remain at a constant number, Zubair explains. We need to grow them faster, but without changing their characteristics.

The first phase of the investigation, he adds, is answering the question: Do stem cells grow faster in space and can we grow them in such a manner that they are safe to use in patients?

Investigators will examine the space-grown cells in an effort to understand the mechanism behind microgravitys effects on them. The long-term goal is to learn how to mimic those effects and develop a safe and reliable way to produce stem cells in the quantities needed.

Abba Zubair in his lab at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. Credit: BioServe Inc., University of Colorado

The second phase will involve testing clinical application of the cells in patients. Zubair has been studying treatment of stroke patients with lab-grown stem cells and plans to compare those results with use of the space-grown stem cells.

What is unique about this investigation is that we are not only looking at the biology of the and how they grow, but focusing on application, how we can use them to treat patients, he says.

The investigation expands existing knowledge of how microgravity affects stem cell growth and differentiation as well as advances future studies on how to produce large numbers of for treating stroke and other conditions.

The faster that happens, the better for those who could benefit from .

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Stem cells seem speedier in space – Concord Register

Man with 45% burns healed with stem cell treatment – ETHealthworld.com

Mumbai: A 45-year-old man — suffering from 45 per cent burns due to a chemical spill at work — has been healed with stem cell treatment, said the authorities at a hospital here on Friday.

Ram Naik (name changed) was brought to city-based StemRx Bioscience hospital after receiving first aid in another hospital. Nearly 45 per cent of his upper body was burned due to a chemical spill during work.

The impact of the burns led to a charred look on his face and body. Also, joint mobility due to the burns was reduced. The outer layer of the skin was affected, facial burns were of grade II level and in some instances grade III burns were also present, leading to deeper structures like the subcutaneous tissue also being affected.

According to the doctors, burn wound healing involves a series of complex processes, with healing time and scar tissue being the most important parameters that affect treatment outcomes. Burn injuries, especially severe ones, are proving to have devastating effects on the affected patients.

They said that stem cells have been recently applied in burn wounds to promote superior healing of the wounds. Not only have stem cells been shown to promote better and faster healing of the burn wounds, they are also capable of decreasing inflammation and prevent scar progression and fibrosis.

Therefore, the doctors decided to provide Naik stem cell treatment.

Regenerative Medicine researcher at Stemrx Bioscience hospital Pradeep Mahajan said that within two days, a notable improvement in his condition was observed and the swelling and charred appearance started reducing.

“Mild eyelid movements were noticed and on the third day the burns started drying on the face and he could open his mouth and eyes. Growth factors derived from platelets, cells, fibroblasts, collagen-based gel etc. was used during treatment. In addition, in areas with deep burns, sheets of PGLA coated with cells and growth factors were used,” said Mahajan, adding that different medication and treatments were imparted and closed dressing was avoided.

“Blood transfusion and supplementary fluids were given intravenously to maintain systemic homeostasis,” said Mahajan.

Stating that on 5th and 6th day following treatment, dry scales from the face and body started peeling off, the doctor’s team also observed impressive changes such as new skin forming within a week of treatment with cells and growth factors.

By conventional modalities, it takes more than eight weeks for the patient to heal and many additional months for the patient to be able to regain joint and facial movements.

“By the 10th day of the treatment, dry scales completely peeled off and by the 14th day the patient had no tenderness or burning pain. Joint movements became free as well, Steady rate of progression of healthy skin formation is being noticed. Areas with deep burns are also healing at a rapid rate and I am confident that within a month we will accomplish thorough healing and the patient will be back to normal,” Mahajan said.

Medical sciences say that such cases are challenging to manage considering the degree of impairment they result in due to prolonged healing period. Also, through conventional therapeutic modalities healing occurs with scar formation and results in contractures. Chances of systemic complications and infection are also high.

However according to the medical team, by using stem cells, the natural healing potential of the body is used, leading to reduction of healing time and promoting regeneration of affected tissues. This also reduces the mental trauma and financial burden that a patient goes through when under conventional management.

“Stem cell-based therapy has offered a novel and powerful strategy in almost every medical specialty including burns and wound management. Stem cells have proven to have tremendous potential in enhancing wound healing and facilitating skin regeneration,” Mahajan said.

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Man with 45% burns healed with stem cell treatment – ETHealthworld.com

Man with 45% burns healed with stem cell treatment | Zee News – Zee News

Mumbai:A 45-year-old man, who was suffering from 45 per cent burns due to a chemical spill at work, has been healed with stem cell treatment, said the authorities at a hospital here on Friday.

Ram Naik (name changed) was brought to city-based StemRx Bioscience hospital after receiving first aid in another hospital. Nearly 45 per cent of his upper body was burned due to a chemical spill during work.

The impact of the burns led to a charred look on his face and body. Also, joint mobility due to the burns was reduced. The outer layer of the skin was affected, facial burns were of grade II level and in some instances grade III burns were also present, leading to deeper structures like the subcutaneous tissue also being affected.

According to the doctors, burn wound healing involves a series of complex processes, with healing time and scar tissue being the most important parameters that affect treatment outcomes. Burn injuries, especially severe ones, are proving to have devastating effects on the affected patients.

They said that stem cells have been recently applied in burn wounds to promote superior healing of the wounds. Not only have stem cells been shown to promote better and faster healing of the burn wounds, they are also capable of decreasing inflammation and prevent scar progression and fibrosis.

Therefore, the doctors decided to provide Naik stem cell treatment.

Regenerative Medicine researcher at Stemrx Bioscience hospital Pradeep Mahajan said that within two days, a notable improvement in his condition was observed and the swelling and charred appearance started reducing.

“Mild eyelid movements were noticed and on the third day the burns started drying on the face and he could open his mouth and eyes. Growth factors derived from platelets, cells, fibroblasts, collagen-based gel etc. was used during treatment. In addition, in areas with deep burns, sheets of PGLA coated with cells and growth factors were used,” said Mahajan, adding that different medication and treatments were imparted and closed dressing was avoided.

“Blood transfusion and supplementary fluids were given intravenously to maintain systemic homeostasis,” said Mahajan.

Stating that on 5th and 6th day following treatment, dry scales from the face and body started peeling off, the doctor’s team also observed impressive changes such as new skin forming within a week of treatment with cells and growth factors.

By conventional modalities, it takes more than eight weeks for the patient to heal and many additional months for the patient to be able to regain joint and facial movements.

“By the 10th day of the treatment, dry scales completely peeled off and by the 14th day the patient had no tenderness or burning pain. Joint movements became free as well, Steady rate of progression of healthy skin formation is being noticed. Areas with deep burns are also healing at a rapid rate and I am confident that within a month we will accomplish thorough healing and the patient will be back to normal,” Mahajan said.

Medical sciences say that such cases are challenging to manage considering the degree of impairment they result in due to prolonged healing period. Also, through conventional therapeutic modalities healing occurs with scar formation and results in contractures. Chances of systemic complications and infection are also high.

However according to the medical team, by using stem cells, the natural healing potential of the body is used, leading to reduction of healing time and promoting regeneration of affected tissues. This also reduces the mental trauma and financial burden that a patient goes through when under conventional management.

“Stem cell-based therapy has offered a novel and powerful strategy in almost every medical specialty including burns and wound management. Stem cells have proven to have tremendous potential in enhancing wound healing and facilitating skin regeneration,” Mahajan said.

Originally posted here:
Man with 45% burns healed with stem cell treatment | Zee News – Zee News

Four Ways to Younger Skin Right Now – Forbes


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Four Ways to Younger Skin Right Now
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Her Hydrating and Plumping Serum No1 combats the environmental stressors that skin faces every day to detoxify and rejuvenate the face and subsequently enacting anti-aging properties. By using plant-stem cells, hyaluronic acid, marine snail peptides

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Four Ways to Younger Skin Right Now – Forbes

Sun Exposure Is No Joke. You Need to Get Your Skin Checked ASAP – Reader’s Digest

Elena-Rudakova/Shutterstock

Twice a year, I strip down to my underwear, don a paper gown and subject myself to a full-body examination at the dermatologists office. These are done twice as often as most other patientsand for good reason. Not only am I freckly and fair-skinned, Ive had an unhealthy relationship with the sun, which makes me more susceptible to skin cancer.

During my teens and 20s, when I was a lifeguard and camp counselor, I spent the majority of my summers outdoors. Like my peers, Id wanted to achieve the perfect tan. Id worn sunscreen, but it was SPF 4barely any protection, compared with what doctors recommend today.

Now, Im paying the price. This past decade, Ive had a handful of suspicious-looking moles removed. Recently, my dermatologist sent me to a medical photographer for a full-body photo session to document my moles, in case they change.

wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

My situation isnt unique. Countless people worldwide didnt protect themselves adequately from the suns ultraviolet rays during their youth. Decades ago, doctors didnt preach about sun protection, and researchers didnt realize that the suns ultraviolet rays could cause skin changes that can lead to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The most important reason for the increase in melanomas is thought to be due to increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sun and artificial tanning sources, says John J. DiGiovanna, staff clinician in the dermatology branch of the National Cancer Institutes Center for Cancer Research in Bethesda, Maryland.

Melanoma is only the ninth most commonly diagnosed cancer across Europe, but its rates have been rising sharply since the 1980s, six-fold among some groups.

Every year, 100,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in Europe, says John Haanen, head of medical oncology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. Caucasians are at greatest risk, especially those with fair skin, red hair and freckles. Risk rises after age 40especially sun worshippers. Many experts refer to the increased prevalence as an epidemic.

I would not call it a melanoma epidemic but a skin cancer epidemic, says Reinhard Dummer, director of the Skin Cancer Centre at University Hospital Zrich. We expect in Switzerland that one out of five persons will develop skin cancers once in their lives.

Cultural changes over several decades are likely to blame. Bathing suits have gotten skimpier, and seaside vacations have become more common, exposing pale office workers to intense sunlight for short periods.

In Europe, low-cost air travel has increased the ability for people to travel to sunny, warmer climates for a week here and there, says Alex Menzies, medical oncologist at Melanoma Institute Australia, the country with the highest melanoma rates in the world. Intermittent exposure to the sun with burning is a major risk for melanoma.

Even if youve endured decades worth of sun exposure, there is hope.

The earlier you notice melanoma, the greater your chances are of being cured. Surgery is the primary treatment. If you picked up an early-changing mole, you could have a virtually normal life expectancy, says Girish Patel, lead investigator for the Skin Cancer Stem Cell Research Program at Cardiff University.

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Regular skin checks and meaningful lifestyle changes to limit further damage from the sun help improve the odds. Since Imogen Cheese, 37, of Gloucestershire, England, was diagnosed with stage II melanoma in 2013, shes screened by her medical team every three months. I cover up to avoid the midday sun, says Imogen. I wear high factor SPF, I am active and eat a healthy balanced diet. So far, her cancer has not progressed.

Researchers have made great strides in the treatment of advanced melanoma. One option: Targeted therapy, which can be given to stage IV patients with specific genetic mutations.

Melanoma researchers in Australia have been involved with targeted therapy research since the beginning, about seven years ago. We do testing on their tumors to look if there are any mutations in certain genes in the tumor, says Menzies. We have targeted therapy that can attack the BRAF mutation, which is found in about 50 percent of tumors from patients. If we give tablets for BRAF-mutant melanoma, almost every patient will have shrinkage of the tumor. On average, it will keep things under control for one year, and the one-year survival rate has improved to 70 percent, from 30 percent five years ago.

Five years after John Ambrose, 67, of New South Wales, Australia, had a grade IV skin melanoma removed he began coughing up blood. His disease had spread to both lungs and his prognosis was poor. He joined a targeted therapy clinical trial in 2013, and within three months, his tumors shrank by 70 percent. After 18 months, he had clear scans. Today, John travels, plays golf and spends time with his grandchildren.

My situation has not stopped me living a normal life, he says.

Texas native Jesse Thomas, 57, also benefited from targeted therapy after being diagnosed with stage IV melanoma in 2013, with tumors on his neck, liver and spine. Genomic testing revealed Jesse had an uncommon V600K BRAF mutation, and his oncologist was able to pinpoint a targeted therapy for him.

They expected the cancer to stop growing, but it actually shrank, Jesse says. Theres no way to cure it, but I am controllable.

Targeted therapy is only for stage IV patients, but researchers are studying its effects on stage III patients. We should know within a couple of years whether these treatments are beneficial, says John Haanen.

Researchers have been able to stimulate the T-cells in some melanoma patients immune systems to fight cancer, with astounding results.

T-cells kill off viruses and other things, Menzies says, but with cancer, theyre sitting there around the tumor, asleep. They know that the tumor is foreign, but the tumor has turned them off, stopping them from killing it. Immunology drugs turn on the T-cells and they kill the tumor.

Melanoma researchers consider immunology the biggest breakthrough in decades.

This is our penicillin moment in oncology, Menzies says. Melanoma can be turned into a chronic disease, and many people will not die from it in the near future if we continue to go the way were going.

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Immunotherapy doesnt work for everyone, but it can be quite effective. Cardiff Universitys Patel says, In the 45 or so percent of people who respond, they can respond for very long periods of time.

In 2013, Cardiff resident Vicky Brown, 62, was shocked to learn that a lump in her breast was actually melanoma, not breast cancer. Shed had early-stage melanoma in 2006, which returned in her breast and lungs.

Through a clinical trial, Brown received intravenous doses of two immunotherapy drugs. Within weeks, her tumors shrank. She discontinued the drugs due to side effects, but it kept the melanoma in check for a year. In 2015, after new lung tumors appeared, she received more immunology treatments. The drugs again shrank her tumors.

I am hoping this couple of doses will give me more time again, Vicky says. My grandson is now nine months old. I want to be able to make memories for him, as well as my four-year-old granddaughter.

Researchers are working to get more patients to have a positive response to the treatment. The notion is that clearly, if we can do it in a few, we should be able to do it in the majority, says Patel.

For years, researchers tried creating a melanoma vaccine, to no avail. Now, researchers are combining the success of immunotherapy with the concept of vaccines, leading to personalized melanoma treatments.

As we better understand how the immune system recognizes the melanoma cells, we are developing so-called personalized vaccines, Haanen says. We are starting now in metastatic patients and if this concept works well move to earlier stages.

Hein Jambroers, 50, of Roermond, Netherlands, has benefited from a personalized treatment called adoptive cell therapy (ACT). He was diagnosed with stage II melanoma in 2009, but a year later, he had stage IV disease, with tumors on his right leg and liver, and was told that he had less than six months to live.

After getting some short-term benefit from targeted therapy, Hein was referred to an ACT clinical trial in 2011. Doctors at the Netherlands Cancer Institute harvested some of his white blood cells, then monitored them in a laboratory to identify the healthiest T-cells to fight melanoma. They were replicated in large numbers. Hein received chemotherapy to kill his existing T-cells, then got an infusion of the laboratory-created T-cells, which basically gave him a new immune system that shrank his tumors within three months.

Hes what doctors call a complete responder. Hes had clean scans ever since; no trace of melanoma.

Complete responders have an excellent prognosis, says Haanen, who treated Hein. Cure is always difficult to say, but very long-term remissions which could be cureare seen in the majority of complete responders and in some partial responders.

Hein, who expected to die, is cautiously optimistic. Im very positive about my future, but Im always on a state of alert, he says. I sit in the shade. I cream up with sunscreen. I even do it for my child and my wife. I dont want to tempt the fates.

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Soon, doctors may defeat cancer by attacking stem cells.

Skin stem cells make thousands of healthy skin cells. Melanoma stem cells work similarly, except they make thousands of malignant melanoma cells. Researchers are targeting melanoma stem cells to stop tumors from spreading.

Its like killing off the queen bee, Patel says. The whole hive then dies away, because youve gotten to the cell thats giving rise to everything.

This is vastly different from chemotherapy, which aims to kill as much cancer as possible. Stem cells make up only one to three per cent of some skin cancers.

If you got rid of the cancer stem cell population, the whole tumor could not proliferate, Patel says. If you take the bulk of a tumor and regrow it in a mouse without stem cells, it cant form. But if you take a small part of the cancer stem cell population, it grows back fully.

Researchers have begun clinical trials, and treatments could be available in a decade.

Despite sun damage that I endured during my youth, Im optimistic that Im doing everything that I can to stay ahead of any problems that may crop up. Ive got photos of all of my moles and freckles now, which I use for monthly self-exams. Ill bring them to my dermatologist for my next full-body examination. Ive also been raising my children with 21st century values for sun exposureplenty of high-SPF sunscreen, hats and time in the shadeso hopefully the next generation wont have the melanoma worries that my generation does.

If youve been diagnosed with advanced melanoma, heres what patient advocates recommend:

See a specialist

Seek a facility where doctors specialize in melanoma. Our recommendation for patients is to get into a melanoma center of excellence, says Bettina Ryll, founder of Melanoma Patient Network Europe in Uppsala, Sweden. The new immunotherapies have very different side effects from anything weve ever had before, so you dont want to have a physician who has never seen this.

Consider a clinical trial

Availability of immunotherapy and targeted therapy varies in Europe. Cost is a factor in many countries. Many patients enter clinical trials to receive these drugs. A promising clinical trial may be farther from home than youd prefer, but the extra drive could be worth it. Rory Bernard, 47, of Clermont-Ferrand, France, travels four hours to Paris for targeted therapy treatments, which have shrunk his tumors and extended his life. The dermatologist said, If you stay here, youre dead in six months, says Rorys wife, Gilly Spurrier-Bernard, founder of Melanoma France. My aim is to inform patients that if they want to get the best treatment, they may need to move around. Translation translation transl translation translation transl translation translation.

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Sun Exposure Is No Joke. You Need to Get Your Skin Checked ASAP – Reader’s Digest

Skin cells provide a new weapon against brain tumors – Blasting News

Scientists claim that #Stem Cells obtained from skin provide a new weapon against brain tumors. Jedd Wolchok, a cancer immunotherapy expert at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, says that nanoparticles are thinner than a human hair, and help to fight tumors. Previously, doctors used stem cells to target breast cancer tumors. Latest clinical trials show that the new therapy is useful for patients with brain tumors. According to a study published in the journal “Science Translational Medicine,” the treatment shrinks the tumors and extends the survival of victims.

Researcher says that it’s time to forget about drugs that spur the immune system to fight tumors. Stem cells will be used on a large scale to treat patients. Every year, pharmaceutical companies develop a number of antibodies and proteins that block the overexpressed molecules, enabling the immune system to target tumors. All these medicines are harmful to the nervous system. In contrast, the stem cells directly target a tumor without damaging the neurons. Jedd Wolchok believes that the current anti-cancer drugs work in only 10% to 40% of patients. There is no use of drugs that target only several cells of a tumor and fail to completely destroy it. Stem cells destroy a tumor within a few minutes. However, the process is very complicated and only experienced neurosurgeons should perform an operation. Once a patient receives radiation therapy to shrink a tumor, his immune system mounts an aggressive response that wipes out both the tumors and metastases throughout the body.

Jedd Wolchok will find out whether it is possible to use nontoxic nanoparticles to sensitize the immune system or not. He requires more time and further research before he publishes his findings. He says that it is not easy to pass the nanoparticles through the tumors as the particles are bigger than macrophages. However, specific blood proteins can be used to coat the nanoparticles, facilitating their uptake. Once these particles reach the brain tumor, they act as tumor killers. Jedd and his team will carry out an experiment on mice with breast cancer. Wolchok builds his study on an earlier discovery that brain stem cells have a weird affinity for cancers. #Beat The Clock

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Skin cells provide a new weapon against brain tumors – Blasting News

Borrowing from nature: UW-Madison scientists use plants to grow … – La Crosse Tribune

To grow clusters of human stem cells that mimic organs in the lab and might be used someday in tissue implants, Bill Murphy, a UW-Madison professor of biomedical engineering, creates tiny scaffolds made of plastic or rubber.

The three-dimensional scaffolds must support the cells and feed them, help them organize and allow them to communicate.

One spring day in 2014, Murphy looked out his office window near UW Hospital, onto the universitys Lakeshore Nature Preserve, and saw a structure that does those very things naturally: plants specifically, cellulose, the main component of the cell walls of green plants.

Now, Murphy and Gianluca Fontana, a UW-Madison post-doctoral fellow with help from Olbrich Botanical Gardens have grown skin, brain, bone marrow and blood vessel cells on cellulose from plants such as parsley, spinach, vanilla and bamboo.

Plants could be an alternative to artificial scaffolds for growing stem cells, the researchers reported Monday in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.

Rather than having to manufacture these devices using high-tech approaches, we could literally pick them off of a tree, said Murphy, co-director of the UW-Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center.

The strength, porosity and large surface area of plants could prove superior to making scaffolds using current methods, such as 3-D printing and injection molding, Murphy said.

Plants have a huge capacity to grow cell populations, he said. They can deliver fluids very efficiently to their leaves … At the microscale, theyre very well organized.

In addition, there are many plants to chose from. After Murphys inspirational gaze out the window, he and Fontana tested plants as scaffolds for stem cells using varieties they could easily obtain: parsley, spinach, jewelweed, water horsetail, summer lilac and, from the UW Arboretum, softstem bulrush.

Then Fontana asked John Wirth, Olbrichs conservatory curator, about other species that might work. Wirth invited Fontana to walk through the tropical greenhouse and take samples back to his lab.

I had never had a request like this before; it made me look at plant material in a different way, Wirth said. I think its a fantastic way of using these pieces of living tissue, to grow human tissue.

Olbrich plants that proved useful include vanilla, bamboo, wasabi, elephant ear, zebra plant and various orchids.

To use plants as scaffolds, the scientists strip away all of the cells, leaving husks of cellulose. Since human cells have no affinity for plants, they add peptides as biological fasteners.

Theyre like grappling hooks for the cells to attach to the plant, Murphy said.

To determine if plant scaffolds could really replace those made of plastic or rubber, the researchers hope to test the cellulose models in animal studies this year.

A major goal of tissue engineering is to develop implants that could regenerate tissue in people to repair bone or muscle damage after traumatic injuries, for example.

It is likely the human body wouldnt reject tissue implants formed on plant scaffolds because the plant cells would be removed, Murphy said.

Were crossing kingdoms, he said. But were optimistic that these materials would be well-tolerated.

Originally posted here:
Borrowing from nature: UW-Madison scientists use plants to grow … – La Crosse Tribune

Disruptive innovations – The News International

Neuroscientists at the Wisconsin-based Wicab Inc have developed a device called BrainPort that helps blind people see with their tongues. According to the late co-founder of the company, neuroscientist Paul Bach-y-Rita, we see with our brains and not with our eyes, so it should be possible to develop devices that allow the blind to see.

BrainPort involves collecting visual data using a small digital camera that the blind person wears on a pair of sunglasses. The digital optical signals are then converted by a central processing unit (CPU) about the size of a cell phone that the blind person carries in his/her pocket into electrical signals, simulating and replacing the function of the retina. The CPU then sends the signals to sensors on the surface of a lollipop-like device that the blind person carries in the mouth. The nerves on the tongue receive these signals and transmit them to the brain, thereby creating the images of the object being viewed. With a little learning, the user can distinguish between a knife and a fork on the dining table and read letters and numbers and decipher them on the buttons in an elevator.

The device originally announced in 2009 has been tested extensively at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centres UPMC Eye Centre and is now commercially available. In a subsequent development, the images can be transferred to the brain by an arm band through the nervous system in the arms. This avoids the use of lollipop devices.

Another way to restore vision for the blind has been developed by Prof. Michael Beauchamp at the University of Texas. He is exploring the possibility of electrically stimulating the visual cortex of the brain by means of electrical implants. He also believes that we see not with our eyes but with our brains and if electrical images generated from the visual objects can be transferred to the correct region of the brain, vision can be restored. About 10 percent of the blind people experience vivid hallucinations. This is attributed to the hyperactivity of the visual cortex of the brain and the images produced can be seen in exquisite detail. It is envisaged that a webcam fitted on the glasses of the blind person could be connected to an implant in the brain to restore vision.

The ability to record brain activity while seeing an image, and then play it back to reconstruct that image has been a matter of pure science fiction until now. Scientists working at the University of California, Berkeley, have succeeded in reconstructing visual images after recording the brain activity of people watching movie trailers. The scientists were able to see what peoples brains were seeing. They used a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scanner to record the flow of blood in certain parts of the brain. Using powerful computing techniques, it was possible to correlate the visual images with corresponding brain activities. This allowed the images to be reconstructed. The researchers hope to eventually read the thoughts of patients in a coma or those suffering from a paralysis after a stroke. They can even apply these techniques on spies who are trying to hide information. Researchers have now also succeeded in reconstructing words by detecting peoples corresponding brain activity.

Another area of intense research activity is that of regenerative medicine that involves the growth of human cells and tissues. Indeed stem cell therapy is heralding the advent of a revolution in medicine to repair damaged kidney and heart cells and to treat diabetes and other diseases. Stem cells can be differentiated into different types of specialised cells (heart, kidney, pancreas etc). Adult stem cell therapies have been used for a long time to treat leukaemia and other cancers by bone marrow transplants.

Now a special bandage, seeded with stem cells, has been developed by scientists at the Bristol University in the UK to repair cartilage tears that are otherwise difficult to heal. The bone marrow is extracted from the hip of the patient with a needle. Stem cells are obtained from it and multiplied separately before being embedded into a special membrane/bandage which is inserted into the torn cartilage. The stem cells present on the membrane are expected to help the healing process. The procedure can help repair meniscus tears that are particularly common in athletes.

Ink jet printers are commonly used for printing documents. An astounding breakthrough has been made by doctors at the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine in the US where a device that resembles an ink jet printer can be used to spray new skin cells on to burn wounds. This method results in rapid healing and can eventually replace the need for having skin grafts. The device resembles a colour ink jet printer and comprises a tank that contains skin cells, stem cells and nutrients. These are sprayed by a computer controlled nozzle directly on to the burnt area. In animal experiments, the wounds in mice were fully healed within two weeks using this technique compared to the five-week period that skin graft procedures took. The ink jet printer method also showed less scarring and better hair regeneration. The technology is being employed by the US army to print-shut bullet wounds and blast damage.

Magicians have been practising the art of making objects disappear for centuries. Now, science can take on that role. In 2006, Prof. John Pendry and his colleagues proposed the design of a cloak that could steer light around an object, making it invisible. Soon thereafter Dr David Smith at Duke University made a cloaking device that used certain metamaterials that had unusual electromagnetic properties. The invisible threads of these metamaterials are made of components smaller than the wavelength of light. This allows them to bend light waves and impart optical properties that are not present in normal substances. Computer models indicate that such threads should not be thicker than a micrometre. When these carpet cloaks are placed over an object, the object becomes invisible.

The technology has applications in defence: it may allow soldiers, weapons, warships and planes to appear invisible. Harry Potters cloak of invisibility is fast becoming a reality. Invisible armies, ships, planes and submarines cloaked by metamaterials seem like a possibility in the near future.

Countries investing in these cutting edge researches are making billions of dollars through such entrepreneurial ventures. If Pakistan is to prosper, we must give the highest national priority to education, science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. This requires a visionary government that understands the critical role of a knowledge-based economy in the rapidly changing world of today.

The writer is chairman of UN ESCAP Committee on Science Technology & Innovation and former chairman of the HEC.

Email: [emailprotected]

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Disruptive innovations – The News International

Borrowing from nature: UW-Madison scientists use plants to grow … – Madison.com

To grow clusters of human stem cells that mimic organs in the lab and might be used someday in tissue implants, Bill Murphy, a UW-Madison professor of biomedical engineering, creates tiny scaffolds made of plastic or rubber.

The three-dimensional scaffolds must support the cells and feed them, help them organize and allow them to communicate.

One spring day in 2014, Murphy looked out his office window near UW Hospital, onto the universitys Lakeshore Nature Preserve, and saw a structure that does those very things naturally: plants specifically, cellulose, the main component of the cell walls of green plants.

Now, Murphy and Gianluca Fontana, a UW-Madison post-doctoral fellow with help from Olbrich Botanical Gardens have grown skin, brain, bone marrow and blood vessel cells on cellulose from plants such as parsley, spinach, vanilla and bamboo.

Plants could be an alternative to artificial scaffolds for growing stem cells, the researchers reported Monday in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.

Rather than having to manufacture these devices using high-tech approaches, we could literally pick them off of a tree, said Murphy, co-director of the UW-Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center.

The strength, porosity and large surface area of plants could prove superior to making scaffolds using current methods, such as 3-D printing and injection molding, Murphy said.

Plants have a huge capacity to grow cell populations, he said. They can deliver fluids very efficiently to their leaves … At the microscale, theyre very well organized.

In addition, there are many plants to chose from. After Murphys inspirational gaze out the window, he and Fontana tested plants as scaffolds for stem cells using varieties they could easily obtain: parsley, spinach, jewelweed, water horsetail, summer lilac and, from the UW Arboretum, softstem bulrush.

Then Fontana asked John Wirth, Olbrichs conservatory curator, about other species that might work. Wirth invited Fontana to walk through the tropical greenhouse and take samples back to his lab.

I had never had a request like this before; it made me look at plant material in a different way, Wirth said. I think its a fantastic way of using these pieces of living tissue, to grow human tissue.

Olbrich plants that proved useful include vanilla, bamboo, wasabi, elephant ear, zebra plant and various orchids.

To use plants as scaffolds, the scientists strip away all of the cells, leaving husks of cellulose. Since human cells have no affinity for plants, they add peptides as biological fasteners.

Theyre like grappling hooks for the cells to attach to the plant, Murphy said.

To determine if plant scaffolds could really replace those made of plastic or rubber, the researchers hope to test the cellulose models in animal studies this year.

A major goal of tissue engineering is to develop implants that could regenerate tissue in people to repair bone or muscle damage after traumatic injuries, for example.

It is likely the human body wouldnt reject tissue implants formed on plant scaffolds because the plant cells would be removed, Murphy said.

Were crossing kingdoms, he said. But were optimistic that these materials would be well-tolerated.

More here:
Borrowing from nature: UW-Madison scientists use plants to grow … – Madison.com

Stem Cell-based Modelling can be Difficult for Rare Genetic Variants – Technology Networks

Some heritable but unstable genetic mutations that are passed from parent to affected offspring may not be easy to investigate using current human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) modeling techniques, according to research conducted at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The study serves to caution stem cell biologists that certain rare mutations, like the ones described in the study, are difficult to recreate in laboratory-produced stem cells.

Stem cell-based disease modeling involves taking cells from patients, such as skin cells, and introducing genes that reprogram the cells into human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). These master cells are unspecialized, meaning they can be pushed to become any type of mature cell needed for research, such as skin, liver or brain. The hiPSCs are capable of renewing themselves over a long period of time, and this emerging stem cell modeling technique is helping elucidate the genetic and cellular mechanisms of many different disorders.

Our study describes how a complex chromosomal rearrangement genetically passed by a patient with psychosis to her affected son was not well recreated in laboratory-produced stem cells, says Kristen Brennand, PhD, Associate Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine, and the studys senior investigator. As stem cell biologists dive into studying brain disorders, we all need to know that this type of rare mutation is very hard to model with induced stem cells.

To investigate the genetic underpinnings of psychosis, the research team used hiPSCs from a mother diagnosed with bipolar disease with psychosis, and her son, diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. In addition to the normal 46 chromosomes (23 pairs), the cells in mother and son had a very small extra chromosome, less than 1/10th normal size. This microduplication of genes is increasingly being linked to schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, and the extra chromosomal bit, known as a marker (mar) element, falls into the category of abnormally duplicated genes.

For the first time, the Mount Sinai research team tried to make stem cells from adult cells with this type of mar defect. Through the process, they discovered that the mar element was frequently lost during the reprogramming process.

While mar elements in the general population are rare (less than .05 percent in newborn infants), more than 30 percent of individuals with these defects are clinically abnormal, and mar elements are also significantly more likely to be found in patients with developmental delays.

The study found that the mothers cells were mosaic, meaning some cells were normal while others were not, and the hiPSCs the team created accurately replicated that condition: some were normal and some had the extra mar chromosome. But the technique did not work well with the sons cells. While all of his cells should have had the mar element, as with his mother, some of the reprogrammed stem cells did not contain the extra bit of chromosome.

We realized we kept losing the mutation in the stem cells we made, and the inability to recreate cells with mar elements may hamper some neuropsychiatric research, says Dr. Brennand. The bottom line is that it is essential that stem cell biologists look for existing mar elements in the cells they study, in order to check that they are retained in the new stem cells.

Reference:

Tcw, J., Carvalho, C. M., Yuan, B., Gu, S., Altheimer, A. N., Mccarthy, S., . . . Brennand, K. J. (2017). Divergent Levels of Marker Chromosomes in an hiPSC-Based Model of Psychosis. Stem Cell Reports. doi:10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.01.010

This article has been republished frommaterialsprovided by Mount Sinai Hospital. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

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Stem Cell-based Modelling can be Difficult for Rare Genetic Variants – Technology Networks

Science in Focus: Creating Neurons from Skin Cells to Understand … – UCSF News Services

Studying brain disorders is complicated for many reasons, not the least being the ethics of obtaining living neurons. To overcome that obstacle, UC San Francisco postdoc Aditi Deshpande, PhD, is starting with skin cells.

Thanks to developments in stem cell technology, new information about the human brain is now being gleaned from a simple cheek swab or skin sample. This technology is key to the kind of progress Despande and researchers like her are making. It allows them to work with cells otherwise unobtainable living brain cells that have the same genetics as the patients.

Deshpande begins with skin cells obtained from the Simons Foundation from volunteers whose DNA contains a specific deletion or duplication of one chromosome. She cultures these cells and then turns them into induced pluripotent stem cells cells that have been coaxed back to their embryonic state and are able to become any other type of cell. From there, she reprograms them to become a specific type of neuron thats involved in attention and information processing.

The deletion or duplication Deshpande is looking for stems from a 2008 finding by Lauren Weiss, PhD, an associate professor of neurology in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and the UCSF Institute for Human Genetics.

Weiss discovered a 29-gene region of DNA on chromosome 16 that is associated with autism, seizures and other brain disorders. Normally, a person has two copies of the region one on each copy of chromosome 16. In some of Deshpandes samples, the region is deleted from one chromosome, leaving one copy. In others, the region is duplicated, resulting in three copies. Subjects with only one copy of the region were more likely to have macrocephaly an enlarged brain than a typical subject, and those with three copies were more likely to have microcephaly a smaller brain.

Whats really interesting, said Deshpande, is that although these subjects seem to have opposite features in terms of brain size, we see a related effect, based on whether they have fewer or more copies of the region.

Some known models of autism show a connection between a neurons growth or appearance and macrocephaly, she explained. We wanted to know if the same thing is happening here.

To compare the effect of the mutation, Deshpande first stains the obtained skin cells so that she can visualize the neurons under a microscope. After staining, Deshpande used cell-counting software to assess several thousands of neurons from deletion and duplication samples and measure them against normal neurons. She found that the neurons missing the DNA region exhibited some differences compared to typical neurons.

Her next step in her research is to discern which of the regions 29 genes are involved in these differences.

The work is meticulous, but Deshpande doesnt mind. I simply love looking at neurons, she said. It really makes you appreciate the complexity of the brain.

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Science in Focus: Creating Neurons from Skin Cells to Understand … – UCSF News Services

Cellaria Adds Next-Generation RNA Reprogramming and Stem Cell Services – GlobeNewswire (press release)

March 20, 2017 08:43 ET | Source: Cellaria Bio

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 20, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Cellaria, LLC, a scientific innovator that develops revolutionary new cancer models for challenging tumors, today announced the expansion of its offerings to include a suite of stem cell services. The initiative advances Cellarias mission to provide more accurate patient and disease-specific cell models to help researchers focus and accelerate their research and discovery efforts.

Cellarias new stem cell division will provide RNA reprogramming and differentiation services in a comprehensive, yet modular workflow. The companys initial reprogramming focus will be on custom solutions for primary cell establishment, induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) generation, banking and characterization. Cellaria will also offer customizable differentiation services for various cell types such as neurons, hepatocytes and skeletal muscle.

By incorporating the most advanced RNA technology, Cellarias reprogramming platform will enable access to a broad set of patient cells, including cells derived from human skin and blood, for the development of the next generation of disease models. With the addition of an extremely flexible and tailored differentiation system, Cellaria provides a single source solution to stem cell services.

Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are generated from adult cells and have the ability to self-renew and differentiate into various different cells of the body. Human iPSCs have significantly impacted the scope of regenerative medicine and tools used to interrogate disease pathology. Cellarias comprehensive stem cell offerings, combined with over 20 years of in-house experience in RNA-iPS cell biology, will provide models that are easily translatable and impactful to disease research.

RNA Reprogramming is a valuable and necessary tool for creating disease-specific cell lines for modeling, said David Deems, chief executive officer at Cellaria. It is also increasingly being identified as a mechanism of tumor plasticity. We are genuinely excited to add a comprehensive suite of stem cell services and begin exploring the intersection between stem cell and cancer models.

More information on Cellarias stem cell services is available at cellariabio.com/stemcell.

About Cellaria Cellaria creates high quality, next generation in vitro disease models that reflect the unique nature of a patients biology. All models begin with tissue from a patient, capturing clinically relevant details that inform model characterization. For cancer, Cellarias cell models exhibit molecular and phenotypic characteristics that are highly concordant to the patient. For RNA-mediated iPS cell line derivation and stem cell services, Cellarias cell models enable interrogation of patient and disease-specific mechanisms of action. Cellarias innovative products and services help lead the research community to more personalized therapeutics, revolutionizing and accelerating the search for a cure. For more information, visitwww.cellariabio.com.

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Cellaria Adds Next-Generation RNA Reprogramming and Stem Cell Services – GlobeNewswire (press release)

Study Yields Neural Crest Cells from Adult Skin Cells Without Genetic Modification – Scicasts (press release) (blog)

Buffalo, NY (Scicasts) A discovery, several years in the making, by a University at Buffalo research team has proven that adult skin cells can be converted into neural crest cells (a type of stem cell) without any genetic modification, and that these stem cells can yield other cells that are present in the spinal cord and the brain.

The practical implications could be very significant, from studying genetic diseases in a dish to generating possible regenerative cures from the patient’s own cells.

“It’s actually quite remarkable that it happens,” says Dr. Stelios T. Andreadis, professor and chair of UB’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, who recently published a paper on the results in the journal Stem Cells.

The identity of the cells was further confirmed by lineage tracing experiments, where the reprogrammed cells were implanted in chicken embryos and acted just as neural crest cells do.

Stem cells have been derived from adult cells before, but not without adding genes to alter the cells. The new process yields neural crest cells without addition of foreign genetic material. The reprogrammed neural crest cells can become smooth muscle cells, melanocytes, Schwann cells or neurons.

“In medical applications this has tremendous potential because you can always get a skin biopsy,” Andreadis says. “We can grow the cells to large numbers and reprogram them, without genetic modification. So, autologous cells derived from the patient can be used to treat devastating neurogenic diseases that are currently hampered by the lack of easily accessible cell sources.”

The process can also be used to model disease. Skin cells from a person with a genetic disease of the nervous system can be reprogrammed into neural crest cells. These cells will have the disease-causing mutation in their chromosomes, but the genes that cause the mutation are not expressed in the skin. The genes are likely to be expressed when cells differentiate into neural crest lineages, such as neurons or Schwann cells, thereby enabling researchers to study the disease in a dish. This is similar to induced pluripotent stem cells, but without genetic modification or reprogramming to the pluripotent state.

The discovery was a gradual process, Andreadis says, as successive experiments kept leading to something new. “It was one step at a time. It was a very challenging task that took almost five years and involved a wide range of expertise and collaborators to bring it to fruition,” Andreadis says. Collaborators include Dr. Gabriella Popescu, professor in the Department of Biochemistry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB; Dr. Song Liu, vice chair of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and a research associate professor in biostatistics UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions; and Dr. Marianne Bronner, professor of biology and biological engineering, California Institute of Technology.

Andreadis credits the persistence of his then-PhD student, Vivek K. Bajpai, for sticking with it.

“He is an excellent and persistent student,” Andreadis says. “Most students would have given up.” Andreadis also credits a seed grant from UB’s office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development’s IMPACT program that enabled part of the work.

The work recently received a $1.7 million National Institutes of Health grant to delve into the mechanisms that occur as the cells reprogram, and to employ the cells for treating the Parkinson’s-like symptoms in a mouse model of hypomyelinating disease.

“This work has the potential to provide a novel source of abundant, easily accessible and autologous cells for treatment of devastating neurodegenerative diseases. We are excited about this discovery and its potential impact and are grateful to NIH for the opportunity to pursue it further,” Andreadis said.

Article adapted from a University at Buffalo news release.

Publication: Reprogramming Postnatal Human Epidermal Keratinocytes Toward Functional Neural Crest Fates. Stelios T. Andreadis et al. Stem Cells (2017): Click here to view.

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Study Yields Neural Crest Cells from Adult Skin Cells Without Genetic Modification – Scicasts (press release) (blog)

Electroacupuncture releases stem cells to relieve pain, promote tissue repair, study finds – Science Daily

A study led by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers demonstrates how electroacupuncture triggers a neurological mechanism that can help promote tissue repair and relieve injury-induced pain.

Their findings, published online March 16 in the journal Stem Cells, provide the most comprehensive picture yet of how electroacupuncture stimulates the brain to facilitate the release of stem cells and adds new insight relating to the cells’ healing properties.

Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture that uses a small electrical current to augment the ancient Chinese medical practice of inserting fine needles into the skin at pre-determined points throughout the body.

For the study, a team of more than 40 scientists at institutions in the United States and South Korea was led by four senior authors including IU School of Medicine’s Maria B. Grant, MD, Marilyn Glick Professor of Ophthalmology and co-corresponding author; Mervin C. Yoder, MD, IU Distinguished Professor, Richard and Pauline Klingler Professor of Pediatrics, associate dean for entrepreneurial research at IU School of Medicine, director of the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research and co-corresponding author; and Fletcher A. White, PhD, Vergil K. Stoelting Chair of Anesthesia, professor of anesthesia, pharmacology and toxicology.

“This work is a classic example of the power of team science, where investigators in different institutions with specific expertise worked together to unravel the complexity of how electroacupuncture works to help the body respond to stressors,” said Dr. Yoder.

The researchers performed a series of lab tests involving humans, horses and rodents that follow the effects of electroacupuncture from the stimulus of the needle all the way to the brain, resulting in the release of reparative mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into the bloodstream.

Depending on the species, electroacupuncture led to activation of the hypothalamus — a part of the brain that controls the nervous system and involuntary bodily functions such as heart rate and digestion — within nine to 22 minutes. The stem cells were mobilized within two hours.

“The acupuncture stimulus we’re giving these animals has a rapid effect on neuroanatomical pathways that connect the stimulus point in the arm to responsive neurons in the spinal cord and into a region in the brain called the hypothalamus. In turn, the hypothalamus directs outgoing signals to stem cell niches resulting in their release,” said Dr. White, who is a neuroscientist at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.

The researchers found electroacupuncture treatments resulted in higher thresholds for injury-induced pain, as well as considerable increases in the presence of a type of collagen that promotes tendon repair and anti-inflammatory cells known to be predictors of faster healing time.

Dr. White said these findings could lead to new strategies for tissue repair and pain management related to injuries.

“We could potentially capture the MSCs from an individual’s blood following electroacupuncture and save the cells for future re-introduction in the patient post-surgery or to treat chronic pain due to an injury,” he said.

The horses used in the study had been injured during training for international dressage competitions, and the six people who took part were healthy volunteers, who still showed activation of their hypothalamus through brain imaging.

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Electroacupuncture releases stem cells to relieve pain, promote tissue repair, study finds – Science Daily

From skin to brain: Stem cells without genetic modification – Science Daily

A discovery, several years in the making, by a University at Buffalo research team has demonstrated that adult skin cells can be converted into neural crest cells (a type of stem cell) without any genetic modification, and that these stem cells can yield other cells that are present in the spinal cord and the brain.

The practical implications could be very significant, from studying genetic diseases in a dish to generating possible regenerative cures from the patient’s own cells.

“It’s actually quite remarkable that it happens,” says Stelios T. Andreadis, PhD, professor and chair of UB’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, who recently published a paper on the results in the journal Stem Cells.

The identity of the cells was further confirmed by lineage tracing experiments, where the reprogrammed cells were implanted in chicken embryos and acted just as neural crest cells do.

Stem cells have been derived from adult cells before, but not without adding genes to alter the cells. The new process yields neural crest cells without addition of foreign genetic material. The reprogrammed neural crest cells can become smooth muscle cells, melanocytes, Schwann cells or neurons.

“In medical applications this has tremendous potential because you can always get a skin biopsy,” Andreadis says. “We can grow the cells to large numbers and reprogram them, without genetic modification. So, autologous cells derived from the patient can be used to treat devastating neurogenic diseases that are currently hampered by the lack of easily accessible cell sources.”

The process can also be used to model disease. Skin cells from a person with a genetic disease of the nervous system can be reprogrammed into neural crest cells. These cells will have the disease-causing mutation in their chromosomes, but the genes that cause the mutation are not expressed in the skin. The genes are likely to be expressed when cells differentiate into neural crest lineages, such as neurons or Schwann cells, thereby enabling researchers to study the disease in a dish. This is similar to induced pluripotent stem cells, but without genetic modification or reprograming to the pluripotent state.

The discovery was a gradual process, Andreadis says, as successive experiments kept leading to something new. “It was one step at a time. It was a very challenging task that took almost five years and involved a wide range of expertise and collaborators to bring it to fruition,” Andreadis says. Collaborators include Gabriella Popescu, PhD, professor in the Department of Biochemistry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB; Song Liu, PhD, vice chair of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and a research associate professor in biostatistics UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions; and Marianne Bronner, PhD, professor of biology and biological engineering, California Institute of Technology.

Andreadis credits the persistence of his then-PhD student, Vivek K. Bajpai, for sticking with it.

“He is an excellent and persistent student,” Andreadis says. “Most students would have given up.” Andreadis also credits a seed grant from UB’s office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development’s IMPACT program that enabled part of the work.

The work recently received a $1.7 million National Institutes of Health grant to delve into the mechanisms that occur as the cells reprogram, and to employ the cells for treating the Parkinson’s-like symptoms in a mouse model of hypomyelinating disease.

“This work has the potential to provide a novel source of abundant, easily accessible and autologous cells for treatment of devastating neurodegenerative diseases. We are excited about this discovery and its potential impact and are grateful to NIH for the opportunity to pursue it further,” Andreadis said.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University at Buffalo. Original written by Grove Potter. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

More:
From skin to brain: Stem cells without genetic modification – Science Daily

Abstracts: Stem Cells, Selfies, Whales, and More – Undark Magazine

Unregulated, for-profit stem cell clinics might be the next snake oil salesmen. Three women went blind following injections of stem cells extracted from liposuction treatments in a clinic in Florida. Though they paid for the treatment, they were led to believe that they were participating in a government-approved clinical trial. (New York Times)

Scientists used to think of groups of 10 to 20 humpback whales as large, but groups of up to 200 have been spotted off the coast of South Africa.

Visual by iStock.com/YinYang

Its better to have cystic fibrosis in Canada. More efficient lung transplant allocation, high-fat diets, and ultimately more comprehensive insurance increases the average life expectancy of Canadians living with the genetic disorder. (STAT)

Trumps first budget proposal would include a nearly 20 percent cut to the NIH budget and eliminate the Fogarty International Center, an organization dedicated to building partnerships with health researchers scientists in other countries. (Washington Post)

Humpback whales are also organizing at unprecedented rates. Researchers report huge pods of the usually solitary whales congregating around South Africa at a time of the year when the whales are usually feeding in Antarctica. (Popular Science)

Despite typhoons, rooftop farming and self-grown organic foods are taking off in Hong Kong. (The New Yorker)

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrates that patient-specific, induced pluripotent stem cells are safe for transplant into eyes, but are still far from effective or affordable. (Science)

NASA released satellite images detailing green slush ice around the Granite Harbor in Antarctica. The presence of so much phytoplankton in an icy region has worrisome implications for algal blooms in the spring. (The Huffington Post)

Startups and health care providers are increasingly looking for ways to standardize the selfie. By providing patients with a color card to include in photos of their urine sample, pregnancy pre-eclampsia and chronic kidney conditions are caught earlier. (The Economist)

In an effort to curb prescription opioid abuse, Endo Pharmaceuticals reformulated Opana into crush-resistance capsules. The new capsules are much easier to dissolve, leading to a rise in injection and subsequent HIV and Hepatitis C outbreaks. An FDA advisory panel concluded risks outweighed the benefits of prescribing Opana. (NPR)

And finally, a look at how the chemistry of how lithium-ion batteries turn into skin-searing firebombs. (Wired)

Original post:
Abstracts: Stem Cells, Selfies, Whales, and More – Undark Magazine

Science in Focus: Creating Neurons from Skin Cells to Understand Autism – UCSF News Services

Studying brain disorders is complicated for many reasons, not the least being the ethics of obtaining living neurons. To overcome that obstacle, UC San Francisco postdoc Aditi Deshpande, PhD, is starting with skin cells.

Thanks to developments in stem cell technology, new information about the human brain is now being gleaned from a simple cheek swab or skin sample. This technology is key to the kind of progress Despande and researchers like her are making. It allows them to work with cells otherwise unobtainable living brain cells that have the same genetics as the patients.

Deshpande begins with skin cells obtained from the Simons Foundation from volunteers whose DNA contains a specific deletion or duplication of one chromosome. She cultures these cells and then turns them into induced pluripotent stem cells cells that have been coaxed back to their embryonic state and are able to become any other type of cell. From there, she reprograms them to become a specific type of neuron thats involved in attention and information processing.

The deletion or duplication Deshpande is looking for stems from a 2008 finding by Lauren Weiss, PhD, an associate professor of neurology in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and the UCSF Institute for Human Genetics.

Weiss discovered a 29-gene region of DNA on chromosome 16 that is associated with autism, seizures and other brain disorders. Normally, a person has two copies of the region one on each copy of chromosome 16. In some of Deshpandes samples, the region is deleted from one chromosome, leaving one copy. In others, the region is duplicated, resulting in three copies. Subjects with only one copy of the region were more likely to have macrocephaly an enlarged brain than a typical subject, and those with three copies were more likely to have microcephaly a smaller brain.

Whats really interesting, said Deshpande, is that although these subjects seem to have opposite features in terms of brain size, we see a related effect, based on whether they have fewer or more copies of the region.

Some known models of autism show a connection between a neurons growth or appearance and macrocephaly, she explained. We wanted to know if the same thing is happening here.

To compare the effect of the mutation, Deshpande first stains the obtained skin cells so that she can visualize the neurons under a microscope. After staining, Deshpande used cell-counting software to assess several thousands of neurons from deletion and duplication samples and measure them against normal neurons. She found that the neurons missing the DNA region exhibited some differences compared to typical neurons.

Her next step in her research is to discern which of the regions 29 genes are involved in these differences.

The work is meticulous, but Deshpande doesnt mind. I simply love looking at neurons, she said. It really makes you appreciate the complexity of the brain.

Read the rest here:
Science in Focus: Creating Neurons from Skin Cells to Understand Autism – UCSF News Services

Three New Beauty Treatments To Whip Your Skin Into Tip Top Shape – Huffington Post Australia

Summer is behind us. But that’s not all bad, because autumn and winter are the ideal seasons for treating most skin concerns thanks to shorter days, which equal less sun exposure.

That’s because UVA and UVB rays damage the skin and many treatments can make the complexion more susceptible.

So as we say goodbye to summer, consider using the cooler months to address your skin concerns. Here are three new treatments which do exactly that.

Ultimate Renewal is a 90-minute procedure which first involves two types of laser to break up hyperpigmentation and resurface the skin, then dermal stamp micro needling to rejuvenate fresh collagen. The process stresses the skin so that it is forced to regenerate, much like putting stress on a muscle doing weights in order to make it bigger.

Dr Jeremy Cumpston from Ageless Clinics has been performing this special combination of treatments for the past few years, with great results.

In conjunction with the micro needling, Dr Cumpston draws some of the client’s blood and spins it in a special machine which separates out the platelets, known as platelet rich plasma, which is a honey coloured substance. Those platelets are then used on the skin while the dermal stamp is in operation as they stimulate cells to generate new tissue.

“Using a client’s own platelets is the fastest and most effective way to heal and rejuvenate the skin. The platelets speak a language the body naturally understands so they get to work to stimulate stem cells,” Cumpston told The Huffington Post Australia.

Leftover platelets that aren’t used at the time of derma stamping are mixed with an organic face cream and then frozen with nitrogen in order to maintain their biological activity. The client then takes small tub of this patent pending cream home to use on the skin as it heals over the following three days.

The last (optional) step of the treatment is called the Beauty Boost and is performed a week later. A gun-like device is used to distribute hyaluronic acid into the skin. Tiny molecules of hyaluronic acid can hold an impressive amount of water, which is why it’s so good at plumping the skin. The HA paired with antioxidants and collagen factors give an overall glow, radiance and fullness to the complexion.

The treatments together recently won the national Teosyal Blue Diamond Award 2017. The Ultimate Renewal alone costs $850 and the two combined cost $1500.

The RVR90 ‘journey’, which stands for Real Visible Results, is a custom combination of three months of at-home skincare combined with in-salon treatments, designed to correct your skin concern.

Ultraceuticals is an Australian made and owned cosmeceutical brand and is held in high regard in the skincare industry for its cutting edge research and development.

“Depending on their skin concern, clients can experience specific treatments for acne, loss of firmness, fine lines or hyperpigmentation,” Tracey Beeby, Head of Global Training for Ultraceuticals told HuffPost Australia.

The system involves a three step process. Firstly a skin technician identifies the client’s core skin concern and selects a specific hero treatment product to treat this problem.

Secondly, they select a matching skincare pack to suit the customer’s skin type and work with the hero product. Finally, the skin technician will prescribes a course of complete treatments to accelerate progress. It is advised that clients receive a treatment every three or four weeks depending on the severity of their skin concern.

Some pretty impressive results have been achieved in the 90-day time frame. Costs vary depending on the tailored program but the skincare packs are around $200.

The use of diamonds in skincare is nothing new. Diamond dust or diamond headed exfoliating devices have long been used to buff the skin, slothing away dead cells and revealing a fresh, smooth complexion.

“Our Diamond facial, called ‘Flawless’ takes 60 minutes and it’s our second most expensive treatment, at $349,” Magen Darel, skin technician from Verdem told HuffPost Australia.

“It is a detoxifying facial to balance the skin tone and improve the elasticity. Diamond powder is used to gently exfoliate dead skin while massaging in the mask with circular motions has the benefits of stimulating collagen production.”

The treatment is recommended for dry to combination skin that is too sensitive and can’t have other detoxifying facials, as this is gentle and mild. It’s also suggested for clients in their late 20s or older to correct accumulated sun damage.

“Highly recommend before special occasion, fine lines will diminish and you will gain a brighter skin complexion. The skin will be left soft and supple with a glow for the next upcoming days. This treatment gives similar results to diamond microdermabrasion, though the diamond cream applied as the last step offers sun protection to preserve results,” Darel said.

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Three New Beauty Treatments To Whip Your Skin Into Tip Top Shape – Huffington Post Australia

Electroacupuncture releases stem cells to relieve pain, promote tissue repair, study finds – Medical Xpress

March 16, 2017

A study led by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers demonstrates how electroacupuncture triggers a neurological mechanism that can help promote tissue repair and relieve injury-induced pain.

Their findings, published online March 16 in the journal Stem Cells, provide the most comprehensive picture yet of how electroacupuncture stimulates the brain to facilitate the release of stem cells and adds new insight relating to the cells’ healing properties.

Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture that uses a small electrical current to augment the ancient Chinese medical practice of inserting fine needles into the skin at pre-determined points throughout the body.

For the study, a team of more than 40 scientists at institutions in the United States and South Korea was led by four senior authors including IU School of Medicine’s Maria B. Grant, MD, Marilyn Glick Professor of Ophthalmology and co-corresponding author; Mervin C. Yoder, MD, IU Distinguished Professor, Richard and Pauline Klingler Professor of Pediatrics, associate dean for entrepreneurial research at IU School of Medicine, director of the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research and co-corresponding author; and Fletcher A. White, PhD, Vergil K. Stoelting Chair ofAnesthesia, professor of anesthesia, pharmacology and toxicology.

“This work is a classic example of the power of team science, where investigators in different institutions with specific expertise worked together to unravel the complexity of how electroacupuncture works to help the body respond to stressors,” said Dr. Yoder.

The researchers performed a series of lab tests involving humans, horses and rodents that follow the effects of electroacupuncture from the stimulus of the needle all the way to the brain, resulting in the release of reparative mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into the bloodstream.

Depending on the species, electroacupuncture led to activation of the hypothalamusa part of the brain that controls the nervous system and involuntary bodily functions such as heart rate and digestionwithin nine to 22 minutes. The stem cells were mobilized within two hours.

“The acupuncture stimulus we’re giving these animals has a rapid effect on neuroanatomical pathways that connect the stimulus point in the arm to responsive neurons in the spinal cord and into a region in the brain called the hypothalamus. In turn, the hypothalamus directs outgoing signals to stem cell niches resulting in their release,” said Dr. White, who is a neuroscientist at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.

The researchers found electroacupuncture treatments resulted in higher thresholds for injury-induced pain, as well as considerable increases in the presence of a type of collagen that promotes tendon repair and anti-inflammatory cells known to be predictors of faster healing time.

Dr. White said these findings could lead to new strategies for tissue repair and pain management related to injuries.

“We could potentially capture the MSCs from an individual’s blood following electroacupuncture and save the cells for future re-introduction in the patient post-surgery or to treat chronic pain due to an injury,” he said.

The horses used in the study had been injured during training for international dressage competitions, and the six people who took part were healthy volunteers, who still showed activation of their hypothalamus through brain imaging.

Explore further: Study finds acupuncture lowers hypertension by activating natural opioids

More information: Tatiana E. Salazar et al, Electroacupuncture Promotes CNS-Dependent Release of Mesenchymal Stem Cells, STEM CELLS (2017). DOI: 10.1002/stem.2613

Journal reference: Stem Cells

Provided by: Indiana University

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Appears to me to be approximately the same epigenetic process as high pressure – deep tissue massage work. Very interesting, I would hope some one would do a parallel study, and possible a study stacking the 2 together in the interest of quantifying a treatment method. With muscle and bone injuries estimated to cost $850 billion/year, – and to likely contribute to self medication and possible suicide we should get into the fray and assess what we know and how to incorporate what appears to work. Consultation with sports Med. docs, Massage Specialists, Osteopaths, and Chiropractors would result in development of a truly effective tool for treatment.

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Electroacupuncture releases stem cells to relieve pain, promote tissue repair, study finds – Medical Xpress

3 Women Blinded By Unproven Stem Cell Treatments – NPR

Scientists have long hoped that stem cells might have the power to treat diseases. But it’s always been clear that they could be dangerous too, especially if they’re not used carefully.

Now a pair of papers published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine is underscoring both the promise and the peril of using stem cells for therapy.

In one report, researchers document the cases of three elderly women who were blinded after getting stem cells derived from fat tissue at a for-profit clinic in Florida. The treatment was marketed as a treatment for macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness among the elderly. Each woman got cells injected into both eyes.

In a second report, a patient suffering from the same condition had a halt in the inexorable loss of vision patients usually experience, which may or may not have been related to the treatment. That patient got a different kind of stem cell derived from skin cells as part of a carefully designed Japanese study.

The Japanese case marks the first time anyone has given induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to a patient to treat any condition.

“These two reports are about as stark a contrast as it gets,” says George Q. Daley, Harvard Medical School’s dean and a leading stem cell researcher. He wrote an editorial accompanying the two papers. “It’s really striking.”

The report about the three women in their 70s and 80s who were blinded in Florida is renewing calls for the Food and Drug Administration to crack down on the hundreds of clinics that are selling unproven stem cell treatments for a wide variety of medical conditions, including arthritis, autism and stroke.

“One of the big mysteries about this particular case and the mushrooming stem cell clinic industry more generally is why the FDA has chosen to effectively sit itself out on the sidelines even as this situation overall grows increasingly risky to patients,” says Paul Knoepfler, a University of California, Davis, stem cell researcher who has studied the proliferation of stem cell clinics.

“The inaction by the FDA not only puts many patients at serious risk from unproven stem cell offerings, but also it undermines the agency’s credibility,” Knoepfler wrote in an email.

In response to a query from Shots, an FDA spokeswoman wrote in an email that the agency is in the process of finalizing four new guidelines aimed at clarifying how clinics could use stem cells as treatments. The agency also noted that it had previously issued a warning to patients.

In the meantime, “consumers are encouraged to contact FDA and the appropriate state authorities in their jurisdictions to report any potentially illegal or harmful activity related to stem cell based products,” the FDA email says.

Other researchers say the cases should stand as a warning to patients considering unproved stem cell treatments, especially those tried outside carefully designed research studies.

“Patients have to be wary and tell the difference between the snake oil salesmen who are going to exploit them and the kind of slow, painstaking legitimate clinical trials that are also going on,” Daley says.

The New England Journal of Medicine report did not name the Florida clinic, but noted that the treatment was listed on a government website that serves as a clearinghouse for research studies. The sponsor is listed as Bioheart, Inc., which is part of U.S. Stem Cell Inc. in Sunrise, Fla.

Kristen Comella, the scientific director of U.S. Stem Cell, would not discuss the cases. “There were legal cases associated with eye patients that were settled under confidentiality, so I am not permitted to speak on any details of those cases due to the confidentiality clause,” Comella said by phone.

She acknowledged, however, that the clinic had been performing the stem cell procedures. They were discontinued after at least two patients suffered detached retinas, she says.

But Comella defended the use of stem cells from fat tissue to treat a wide variety of other health problems.

“We have treated more than 7,000 patients and we’ve have had very few adverse events reported. So the safety track record is very strong,” Comella says. “We feel very confident about the procedures that we do, and we’ve had great success in many different indications.”

According to the New England Journal of Medicine report, The Florida clinic was using adult stem cells, which circulate in various parts of the body, including in fat tissue. While those cells may someday be turn out to be useful for treating disease, none have been proven to work.

The body produces a variety of stem cells. The kind that have generated the most excitement and controversy are human embryonic stem cells, which are derived from early human embryos and can be coaxed to become any kind of cell in the body.

Scientists are also excited about iPS cells, which can be made in the laboratory by turning any cell in the body, such as skin cells, into cells that resemble embryonic stem cells.

Those are the cells that were tested by the Japanese scientists. The stem cells were converted into retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells, which are the cells that are destroyed by macular degeneration.

“This represents a landmark,” says Daley. “It’s the first time any patient has been treated with cellular derivatives of iPS cells. So it’s definitely a world first.”

Daley noted that the scientists only treated one of the patient’s eyes in case something went wrong, to ensure remaining vision would not be threatened in the other eye.

After at least a year, no complications had occurred and the patient had not experienced any further deterioration of vision in the treated eye. While that is promising, more patients would have to be treated and followed for much longer to know whether that approach is successful, Daley says.

“Given that macular degeneration is the most frequent cause of vision loss and blindness in the elderly and our population is aging, the prevalence of macular degeneration is going up dramatically,” Daley says. “So to be able to preserve or even restore sight would be a really remarkable medical advance.”

Despite the potentially encouraging results with the first patient, Daley noted that the Japanese scientists decided not to treat a second patient and suspended the study. That’s because they discovered worrisome genetic variations in the RPE cells they had produced for the second patient.

“They weren’t certain these would cause problems for the patient, but they were restrained enough and cautious enough that they decided not to go forward,” Daley says. “That’s what contrasts so markedly with the approach of the second group, who treated the three patients with an unproven stem cell therapy that ended up have devastating effects on their vision.”

In this case, the New England Journal of Medicine report says, patients paid $5,000 each to receive injections of solutions that supposedly contained stem cells that were obtained from fat removed from their abdomens through liposuction.

Even though the safety and effectiveness of this procedure is unknown, all three patients received injections in both eyes.

“That’s what led to these horrible results,” says Thomas Albini, a retina specialist at the University of Florida’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, who helped write the report.

Before the procedure, all three women still had at least some vision. Afterwards, one woman was left completely blind while the other two were effectively blind, Albini and his colleagues reported.

The cases show that patients need to be warned that something that “sounds too good to be true may indeed be too good to be true and may even be horrible,” Albini says.

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3 Women Blinded By Unproven Stem Cell Treatments – NPR

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