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Archive for the ‘Skin Stem Cells’ Category

Peer-Reviewed Publication Validates RenovaCare Approach to Rapidly-Processing Stem Cells for Burns and Wounds – Business Wire (press release)

NEW YORK & PITTSBURGH–(BUSINESS WIRE)–RenovaCare, Inc., (OTCQB:RCAR), has announced that its approach to isolating a patients own stem cells for subsequent spray onto burns and wounds has been validated by researchers in Differentiation, a leading peer-reviewed scientific publication. According to their findings, the methodology, which has been adopted by RenovaCare, successfully isolates those specific cell populations with the greatest regenerative capacity to support the growth of fully-functioning skin.

Todays announcement follows recent highlights from an independent analysis of treatment results on a variety of wide-area and severe burn injuries published in Burns, the peer-reviewed Journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries. The treatment method, adopted by RenovaCare, involved isolating and spraying the patients own skin stem cells on the burn wounds, and it is the technology underlying the companys patented CellMist and SkinGun.

(Click here to see before-after photos of severe second-degree burn patients who received skin stem cell spray grafting treatment; Journal Burns.)

RenovaCare harvests a patients stem cells from a small area of skin, as little as one-inch square. These cells are placed in a water-based suspension and delicately sprayed onto the wound using the RenovaCare SkinGun, where the cells begin growing new skin.

As in the case of state trooper Matt Uram, one of dozens of burn victims treated with autologous skin stem cell spray, patients are able to leave the hospital within only a few days rather than the many weeks required by alternative treatments such as in-vitro cultured epithelial grafts.

In contrast to the speed and effectiveness of the RenovaCare procedure — taking as little as 90-minutes — in-vitro cultured grafts require harvesting cells from a patient, which are then transported to a specialized external laboratory where they take weeks to form sheets of skin. These fragile sheets must then be sent back to the hospital for surgical stitching onto a patients wounds, a process that is complicated, time-consuming and expensive.

Its very exciting to have this scientific validation that our approach is ideal for rapid and natural skin regeneration, explained Mr. Thomas Bold, President and CEO of RenovaCare, Inc. Weve always had confidence that our methodology isolates the bodys most regenerative cell population before spray application with our ultra-gentle SkinGun.

In the 2015 article published in Differentiation, researchers identified the advantages of freshly-isolated cells and compared their regenerative properties against the concept of culturing skin cells, used to grow sheets of skin.

Findings demonstrate that, under the tested conditions, freshly-isolated skin cells have far greater regenerative capacity than cells which have been repeatedly cultured. Cultured cells lose specific cell populations which support skin regeneration, necessary to healing.

In the RenovaCare approach, adopted from the study, freshly isolated cells derived from the basal layer grow both in size and number and include rapid-cycling cells responsible for quick healing. The high presence of these cells assures entirely natural regeneration of the skin without the use of external chemical support, growth factors, and drugs — important advantages highlighted by RenovaCare.

According to authors of the Differentiation publication, the approach of applying freshly isolated stem cells to the wound is, A concept that is thought to preserve the proliferative and regenerative capabilities of basal layer derived cells for the patient’s wound healing in a more physiological way than applying the cells to the same wound only after several weeks of in vitro culture.

The paper further concludes that by directly applying these freshly-isolated cells onto the wound, the patients own body can provide the nutrients and vascular support needed in order to promote skin regeneration.

The article titled, In vitro keratinocyte expansion for cell transplantation therapy is associated with differentiation and loss of basal layer derived progenitor population, by: Roger Esteban-Vives, Matthew T. Young, Patrick Over, Eva Schmeltzer, Alain Corcos, Jenny Ziembicki, and Jrg Gerlach, was published in June 2015 by Elsevier in Differentiation. (doi: 10.1016/j.diff.2015.05.002.)

Copies of the article are available to credentialed journalists upon request; please contact Elseviers Newsroom at or +31 20 485 2492.

Study authors, Dr. Roger Esteban-Vives and Dr. Jrg Gerlach currently have a financial interest in the SkinGun spray-grafting technology through payments from RenovaCare, Inc. Dr. Esteban-Vives, currently Director of Cell Sciences at RenovaCare, Inc., was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh when this work was conducted and did not have such financial interest at that time.

*RenovaCare products are currently in development.They are not available for sale in theUnited States.There is no assurance that the companys planned or filed submissions to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, if any, will be accepted or cleared by the FDA.


Burnsaims to foster the exchange of information among all engaged in preventing and treating the effects of burns. The journal focuses on clinical, scientific, and social aspects of these injuries and covers the prevention of the injury, the epidemiology of such injuries, and all aspects of treatment including development of new techniques and technologies and verification of existing ones. Regular features include clinical and scientific papers, state of the art reviews, and descriptions of burn-care in practice.

About RenovaCare, Inc.

RenovaCare, Inc. is developing first-of-its-kind autologous (self-donated) stem cell therapies for the regeneration of human organs. Its initial product under development targets the bodys largest organ, the skin. The companys flagship technology, the CellMist System, uses its patented SkinGun to spray a liquid suspension of a patients stem cells the CellMist Solution onto wounds. RenovaCare is developing its CellMist System as a promising new alternative for patients suffering from burns, chronic and acute wounds, and scars. In the US alone, this $45 billion market is greater than the spending on high-blood pressure management, cholesterol treatments, and back pain therapeutics.

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No statement herein should be considered an offer or a solicitation of an offer for the purchase or sale of any securities. This release contains forward-looking statements that are based upon current expectations or beliefs, as well as a number of assumptions about future events. Although RenovaCare, Inc. (the Company) believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements and the assumptions upon which they are based are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations and assumptions will prove to have been correct. Forward-looking statements, which involve assumptions and describe our future plans, strategies, and expectations, are generally identifiable by use of the words may, will, should, could, expect, anticipate, estimate, believe, intend, or project or the negative of these words or other variations on these words or comparable terminology. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, as these statements are subject to numerous factors and uncertainties, including but not limited to: the timing and success of clinical and preclinical studies of product candidates, the potential timing and success of the Companys product programs through their individual product development and regulatory approval processes, adverse economic conditions, intense competition, lack of meaningful research results, entry of new competitors and products, inadequate capital, unexpected costs and operating deficits, increases in general and administrative costs, termination of contracts or agreements, obsolescence of the Company’s technologies, technical problems with the Company’s research, price increases for supplies and components, litigation and administrative proceedings involving the Company, the possible acquisition of new businesses or technologies that result in operating losses or that do not perform as anticipated, unanticipated losses, the possible fluctuation and volatility of the Company’s operating results, financial condition and stock price, losses incurred in litigating and settling cases, dilution in the Company’s ownership of its business, adverse publicity and news coverage, inability to carry out research, development and commercialization plans, loss or retirement of key executives and research scientists, and other risks. There can be no assurance that further research and development will validate and support the results of our preliminary research and studies. Further, there can be no assurance that the necessary regulatory approvals will be obtained or that the Company will be able to develop commercially viable products on the basis of its technologies. In addition, other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are discussed in the Company’s most recent Form 10-Q and Form 10-K filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports and filings may be inspected and copied at the Public Reference Room maintained by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. You can obtain information about operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission at 1-800-SEC-0330. The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission also maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission at The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect the events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

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Peer-Reviewed Publication Validates RenovaCare Approach to Rapidly-Processing Stem Cells for Burns and Wounds – Business Wire (press release)

Stem cell-based therapy for targeting skin-to-brain cancer – Medical Xpress

July 10, 2017 Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute have a potential solution for how to kill tumor cells that have metastasized to the brain. The team has developed cancer-killing viruses that can deliver stem cells via the carotid artery, and applied them to metastatic tumors in the brain of clinically relevant mouse models. The investigators report the elimination of metastatic skin cancer cells from the brain of these preclinical models, resulting in prolonged survival. The study, published online this week in the journal PNAS, also describes a strategy of combining this therapy with immune check point inhibitors.

“Metastatic brain tumors – often from lung, breast or skin cancers – are the most commonly observed tumors within the brain and account for about 40 percent of advanced melanoma metastases. Current therapeutic options for such patients are limited, particularly when there are many metastases,” says Khalid Shah, MS, PhD, director of the Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging (CSTI) in the BWH Department of Neurosurgery, who led the study. “Our results are the first to provide insight into ways of targeting multiple brain metastatic deposits with stem-cell-loaded oncolytic viruses that specifically kill dividing tumor cells.”

In their search for novel, tumor-specific therapies that could target multiple brain metastases without damaging adjacent tissues, the research team first developed different BRAF wild type and mutant mouse models that more closely mimic what is seen in patients. They found that injecting patient-derived, brain-seeking melanoma cells into the carotid artery of these preclinical models resulted in the formation of many metastatic tumors throughout the brain, mimicking what is seen in advanced melanoma cancer patients. The injected cells express markers that allow them to enter the brain and are labelled with bioluminescent and fluorescent markers to enable tracking by imaging technologies.

To devise a potential new therapy, the investigators engineered a population of bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells loaded with oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV), which specifically kills dividing cancer cells while sparing normal cells. Previous research by Shah and his colleagues shows that different stem cell types are naturally attracted toward tumors in the brain. After first verifying that stem cells injected to the brain would travel to multiple metastatic sites and not to tumor-free areas in their model, the team injected stem cells loaded with oHSV into the carotid artery of metastasis-bearing mice.. Injecting the stem cells loaded with oHSV into the carotid artery, a likely strategy for clinical application, led to significantly slower tumor growth and increased survival, compared with the models that received unaltered stem cells or control injections. The oHSV loaded stem cells are ultimately killed by oHSV mediated oncolysis, preventing the engineered cells from persisting within the brain, which is an important safety component in the therapeutic use of these stem cells.

Due to an increasing body of evidence which suggests that the host immune response may be critical to the efficacy of oncolytic virotherapy, Shah and his colleagues also developed an immunocompetent melanoma mouse model and explored treating with both stem cell loaded oHSV and immune checkpoint blockers such as the ones that target the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway. They found that PD-L1 immune checkpoint blockade significantly improved the therapeutic efficacy of stem cell based oncolytic virotherapy in melanoma brain metastasis.

“We are currently developing similar animal models of brain metastasis from other cancer types as well as new oncolytic viruses that have the ability to specifically kill a wide variety of resistant tumor cells,” said Shah, who is also a professor at Harvard Medical School and a principal faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. “We are hopeful that our findings will overcome problems associated with current clinical procedures. This work will have direct implications for designing clinical trials using oncolytic viruses for metastatic tumors in the brain.”

Explore further: Stem-cell-based therapy promising for treatment of breast cancer metastases in the brain

More information: Wanlu Du el al., “In vivo imaging of the fate and therapeutic efficacy of stem cell-loaded oncolytic herpes simplex virus in advanced melanoma,” PNAS (2017).

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Stem cell-based therapy for targeting skin-to-brain cancer – Medical Xpress

Experts Call for Tighter Regulation of Stem Cell Therapies in Use at Clinics Worldwide – Multiple Sclerosis News Today

Advertising forstem cell therapies not supported by clinical researchoftenmadedirectly to patients and sometimes promoted as a cure for diseases like multiple sclerosis or Parkinsons is a growing problem that needs to be addressed and regulated, a team of leading experts say, calling suchstem cell tourism potentially unsafe.

Stem cell tourism is the unflattering name given to the practice of encouragingpatients totravel outside their home country to undergo suchtreatment, typicaly at a private clinic.

The article, titledMarketing of unproven stem cellbased interventions: A call to actionandrecently published inthe journal Science Translational Medicine, was co-authored by scientistswith universities and hospitals in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Belgium, Italy, Japan, and Australia. It focuses on the global problem of thecommercial promotion of stem cell therapies and ongoing resistance to regulatory efforts.

Its authors suggest that a coordinated approach, at national and international levels, be focused on engagement, harmonization, and enforcement in order to reduce risks associated with direct-to-consumer marketing of unproven stem cell treatments.

Treatments involving stem cell transplants are now being offered by hundreds of medical institutions worldwide, claiming efficacy in repairing tissue damaged by degenerative disorders like MS, even thoughthose claim often lack or are supported bylittle evidence .

They alsonoted that the continued availability of these treatments undermines the development of rigorously tested therapies, and potentially canendanger a patients life.

The researchers emphasizethat tighter regulations on stem cell therapy advertising are needed, especiallyregarding potential clinical benefits. They support the establishment ofinternational regulatory standards for the manufacture and testing of human cell and tissue-based therapies.

Many patients feel that potential cures are being held back by red tape and lengthy approval processes. Although this can be frustrating, these procedures are there to protect patients from undergoing needless treatments that could put their lives at risk, Sarah Chan, a University of Edinburgh Chancellors Fellow and report co-author, saidin anews release.

Chan and her colleagues are also calling for the World Health Organization to offer guidance on responsible clinical use of cells and tissues, as it does for medicines and medical devices.

Stem cell therapies hold a lot of promise, Chan said, but we need rigorous clinical trials and regulatory processes to determine whether a proposed treatment is safe, effective and better than existing treatments.

According to the release, the report and its recommendationsfollowed the death of two children at a German clinic in 2010. The clinichas since been shut down.

Certainstem cell therapies mostly involving blood and skin stem cells have undergone rigorous testing in clinical trials, the researchers noted. A number of theseresulted in aprovedtreatments for certain blood cancers, and to grow skin grafts for patients with severe burns.

Information about the current status of stem cell research andpotential uses of stem cell therapiesis availableon the websiteEuroStemCell.

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Experts Call for Tighter Regulation of Stem Cell Therapies in Use at Clinics Worldwide – Multiple Sclerosis News Today

Cells may hold key to treating Parkinson’s disease – Hindustan Times

According to recent study, advancements in materials from this study could potentially help patients requiring stem cell therapies for spinal cord injuries, stroke, Parkinsons disease, Alzheimers disease, arthritic joints or any other condition requiring tissue regeneration. Earlier research revolved around the role of autoimmunity in terms of a treatment.

Its important in the context of cell therapies for people to cure these diseases or regenerate tissues that are no longer functional, shared Samuel I. Stupp, director of Northwesterns Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology and Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Medicine and Biomedical Engineering.

Cells in our bodies are constantly being signalled with many types of instructions coming from proteins and other molecules present in the matrices that surround them. For example, these can be cues for cells to express specific genes so they can proliferate or differentiate into several types of cells leading to growth or regeneration of tissues. One of the marvels of this signalling machinery is the built-in capacity in living organisms to make signals stop and restart as needed, or to switch off one signal and activate a different one to orchestrate very complex processes.

The new technology manipulates cells by converting the skin cells to cure a patient with Parkinsons disease. (Shutterstock)

Building artificial materials with this type of dynamic capacity for regenerative therapies has been virtually impossible so far. The new work published today reports the development of the first synthetic material that has the capability to trigger reversibly this type of dynamic signalling. The platform could not only lead to materials that manage stem cells for more effective regenerative therapies, but will also allow scientists to explore and discover in the laboratory new ways to control the fate of cells and their functions.

One of the findings is the possibility of using the synthetic material to signal neural stem cells to proliferate, then at a specific time selected by the operator, trigger their differentiation into neurons and then return the stem cells back to a proliferative state on demand. The paper also reports that spinal cord neural stem cells, initially grouped into structures known as neurospheres, can be driven to spread out and differentiate using a signal.

But when this signal is switched off, the cells spontaneously regroup themselves into colonies. This uncovers strong interactions among these cells that could be important in understanding developmental and regenerative cues. The potential use of the new technology to manipulate cells could help cure a patient with Parkinsons disease. The patients own skin cells could be converted to stem cells using existing techniques.

The new technology could help expand the newly converted stem cells in vitro in the lab and then drive their differentiation into dopamine-producing neurons before transplantation back to the patient. In the new technology, materials are chemically decorated with different strands of DNA, each designed to display a different signal to cells.

People would love to have cell therapies that utilize stem cells derived from their own bodies to regenerate tissue. In principle, this will eventually be possible, but one needs procedures that are effective at expanding and differentiating cells in order to do so. Our technology does that, noted Stupp. While this process is currently only done in vitro with the vision of then transplanting cells, Stupp said in the future it might be possible to perform this process in vivo.

The stem cells would be implanted in the clinic, encapsulated in the type of material described in the new work, via an injection and targeted to a particular spot. Then the soluble molecules would be given to the patient to manipulate proliferation and differentiation of transplanted cells. The study was published in journal Nature Communications.

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Cells may hold key to treating Parkinson’s disease – Hindustan Times

Private clinics are peddling untested stem cell treatments it’s unethical and dangerous – Yahoo News UK

Getty Images/Spencer Platt

Stem cell science is an area of medical research that continues to offer great promise. But as this weeks paper in Science Translational Medicine highlights, a growing number of clinics around the globe, including in Australia, are exploiting regulatory gaps to sell so-called stem cell treatments without evidence that what they offer is effective or even safe.

Such unregulated direct-to-consumer advertising typically of cells obtained using liposuction-like methods not only places the health of individuals at risk, but could also undermine the legitimate development of stem cell-based therapies.

Many academic societies and professional medical organisations have raised concerns about these futile and often expensive cell therapies. Despite this, national regulators have typically been slow or ineffective in curtailing them.

As well as tighter regulations here, international regulators such as the World Health Organisation and the International Council on Harmonisation need to move on ensuring patients desperate for cures arent sold treatments with limited efficacy and unknown safety.

Hundreds of stem cell clinics post online claims that they have been able to treat patients suffering from a wide range of conditions. These include osteoarthritis, pain, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and infertility. The websites are high on rhetoric of science often using various accreditation, awards and other tokens to imply legitimacy but low on proof that they work.

osteoporosis strong bones workout old lady

Donna McWilliam/APRather than producing independently verified results, these clinics rely on patient testimonials or unsubstantiated claims of improvement. In so doing these shonky clinics understate the risks to patient health associated with these unproven stem cell-based interventions.

Properly administered informed consent is often overlooked or ignored, so patients can be misled about the likelihood of success. In addition to heavy financial burdens imposed on patients and their families, there is often an opportunity cost because the time wasted in receiving futile stem cells diverts patients away from proven medicines.

The many recent reports of adverse outcomes demonstrate the risks of receiving unproven cell therapies are not trivial. In the USA three women were blinded following experimental stem cell treatment for macular degeneration (a degenerative eye disease that can cause blindness). One man was rendered a quadriplegic following a stem cell intervention for stroke. And a woman whose family sought treatment for her dementia died in Australia.

Other notorious cases involving the deaths of patients include the German government shutting down the X-Cell Centre and the Italian government closing the Stamina Foundation it had previously supported.

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REUTERS/Juan Carlos UlateAt present, the only recognised stem cell treatments are those utilising blood stem cells isolated from bone marrow, peripheral blood (the cellular components of blood such as red and white blood cells and platelets) or umbilical cord blood.

Hundreds of thousand of lives have been saved over the last half-century in patients with cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, as well as rare inherited immune and metabolic disorders.

A few types of cancer and autoimmune diseases may also benefit from blood stem cells in the context of chemotherapy. Different stem cells are also successfully used for corneal and skin grafting.

All other applications remain in the preclinical research phase or are just starting to be evaluated in clinical trials.

Often dismissed by for-profit clinics as red tape hampering progress, the rigour of clinical trials allows for the collection of impartial evidence. Such information is usually required before a new drug or medical device is released into the marketplace. Unfortunately, in the case of for-profit stem cell clinics, their marketing has gazumped the scientific evidence.

Action is required on many fronts. Regulators at both an international and national level need to tackle regulatory loopholes and challenge unfounded marketing claims of businesses selling unproven stem cell interventions.

Researchers need to more clearly communicate their findings and the necessary next steps to responsibly take their science from the laboratory to the clinic. And they should acknowledge that this will take time.

Patients and their loved ones must be encouraged to seek advice from a trained reputable health care professional, someone who knows their medical history. They should think twice if someone is offering a treatment outside standards of practice.

The stakes are too high not to have these difficult conversations. If a stem cell treatment sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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Private clinics are peddling untested stem cell treatments it’s unethical and dangerous – Yahoo News UK

Treatment of Scars with Stem Cells :: Stem Cell Skin …

At a Glance

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We know from experience that patients having scars find them particularly unattractive and mentally stressful. Scars form after wounds have finished healing, when deeper skin layers have been injured. Skin injuries can be caused by an accident, a skin disease or burns. So-called pregnancy stretch marks are also scars.

At first, scars will be red due to the large number of blood vessels. The scar tissue then gradually lightens in color, because the amount of collagenous fibers increases over time. From a medical point of view, scar tissue is an inferior kind of tissue and if put under a certain amount of pressure, so-called scar hernias can be a result thereof.

The formation of scars cannot be prevented after the deeper skin layers have been injured. The chances of the scar healing without too many traces increase, if the wound is treated well during the healing process.

If your wound healing process is already completed and scar tissue has formed, further treatment depends on the cause of the injury and type of scarring. In any case, we require your autologous stem cells obtained from your body fat. It is necessary to extract a small amount of your bodys own fat in order to obtain the stem cells. In accordance with your wishes, liposuction is carried out with microcannulas or regular cannulas.

The question as to whether the scars will be treated with stem cells only or if scar tissue has to be removed depends on the scar itself:

Post-surgery care is minimal: Treatment is on an outpatient basis; afterwards, you are fully mobile and normally can go back to work without any restrictions. We will provide you with individual recommendations for your post-treatment care according to the extent and type of area treated and will give you support during the healing process.

Schedule consultation appointment

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Treatment of Scars with Stem Cells :: Stem Cell Skin …

Experts Warn Against Medical Tourism For Unproven Stem Cell Treatments – Huffington Post Australia

Sick people seeking unproven stem cell treatments are putting their lives at risk, experts warn, amid calls to urgently tighten global regulations on the potentially deadly “stem cell tourism treatments”.

Stem cell tourism sees patients buy heavily marketed but largely unproven and potentially dangerous treatments. Some travel overseas and several have died, including a woman in Australia.

Writing in Science Translational Medicine, 15 experts from Australia, the UK, U.S, Canada, Belgium, Italy and Japan say the global marketing of unproven stem cell based treatments is growing in the likes of Japan, Australia and the U.S.

This is despite a lack of clinical evidence and public concern expressed by scientific organisations.

“Moreover, often, providers acknowledge neither this deficit nor the potential harms to patients who receive them,” the paper read.

Contributors included Associate Professor Megan Munsie, a University of Melbourne stem cell scientist and co-author of ‘Stem Cell Tourism and the Political Economy of Hope’ (Palgrave Macmillan), and Professor Jane Kaye, a lawyer holding positions at Melbourne Law School and the University of Oxford.

Munsie said if a patient’s own cells are used, Australia’s industry is “virtually unregulated”.

“We need immediate action in Australia and a coordinated international regulatory effort to curb this exploitative but growing industry.”

Australian authorities issued warnings about unproven stem cell treatments in 2014 after Brisbane mother-of-two Kellie van Meurs died of a heart attack while undergoing the treatment for a rare neurological disorder in Moscow, Russia.

Some countries, such as Italy and Germany, have reportedly taken action against stem cell treatment providers. But the authors say such examples are rare.

“Effective measures for regulating this sector both nationally and internationally are urgently needed,” the paper read.

The authors said stem cell treatments must be fully evaluated and regulated before use. Most countries, however, do not have clear rules or regulations.

“Evidence standards in the context of commercial advertising, market authorisation, and standard of care often vary considerably, as do the enforcement options available to national regulators,” the paper read.

Some treatments using blood and skin stem cells have been rigorously tested and found they could treat certain types of cancer and grow skin grafts for burns patients.

But other potential therapies are only in the earliest stages of development and have not been approved.

“Stem cell therapies hold a lot of promise, but we need rigorous clinical trials and regulatory processes to determine whether a proposed treatment is safe, effective and better than existing treatments,” one of the 15 experts, Sarah Chan of Britain’s University of Edinburgh, told Reuters.


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Experts Warn Against Medical Tourism For Unproven Stem Cell Treatments – Huffington Post Australia

‘Stem-cell tourism’ needs tighter controls, say medical experts – Washington Post

By Reuters By Reuters July 8 at 8:47 AM

Stem cell tourism in which patients travel to developing countries for unproven and potentially risky therapies should be more tightly regulated, according to a group of international health experts.

With hundreds of medical centers around the world claiming to be able to repair tissue damaged by conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinsons disease, tackling unscrupulous advertising of such procedures is crucial.

These therapies are advertised directly to patients with the promise of a cure, but there is often little or no evidence to show they will help or that they will not cause harm, the 15 experts wrote in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Some types of stem cell transplant mainly using blood and skin stem cells have been approved by regulators after full clinical trials found they could treat certain types of cancer and grow skin grafts for burn patients.

But many other potential therapies are only in the earliest stages of development and have not been approved by regulators.

Stem cell therapies hold a lot of promise, but we need rigorous clinical trials and regulatory processes to determine whether a proposed treatment is safe, effective and better than existing treatments, said one of the 15, Sarah Chan of Britains University of Edinburgh.

The experts called for global action, led by the World Health Organization, to introduce controls on advertising and to agree on international standards for the manufacture and testing of cell- and tissue-based therapies.

The globalization of health markets and the specific tensions surrounding stem cell research and its applications have made this a difficult challenge, they wrote. However, the stakes are too high not to take a united stance.

‘Stem-cell tourism’ needs tighter controls, say medical experts – Washington Post

Cialis and penile size – High blood pressure specialists – Van Wert independent

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LIMA Employers in the greater West Central Ohio region will collect $33 million in rebates from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation in checks that will be mailed beginning next week.

BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison, in Lima to present a ceremonial check to local business leaders, said employers are free to spend their rebates as they wish, but she hopes they will consider investing in workplace safety.

We work with employers all over Ohio to prevent injuries and illness in the workplace, and they will tell you that investing in safety is a wise business decision, said Morrison, speaking at a press conference at the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce. Safe workplaces mean fewer injuries, fewer medical claims and a stable workforce, all of which leads to a healthy bottom line for a business.

Morrison was joined by chamber President/CEO Jed Metzger and Tony Daley of Limas Spallinger Millwright Services Inc. Metzger and Daley accepted the check on behalf of employers in the entire region, which includes Allen, Auglaize, Shelby, Hancock, Putnam, and Van Wert counties.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich proposed the rebate in March. Its the third such rebate in the last four years, made possible by an improving safety climate, prudent fiscal management and strong investment returns. The plan to distribute rebates to more than 200,000 Ohio employers during the month of July was approved by BWCs Board of Directors in April. Visitbwc.ohio.govfor more details and eligibility requirements.

The plan also includes a $44 million investment innew health and safety initiativesto promote a healthy workforce and a culture of safety in every Ohio workplace. This includes a new wellness program for small employers, funding for programs to help firefighters and those who work with children and adults with disabilities, and an education campaign to address common injuries at work and in the home.

A healthy economy depends on a strong and healthy workforce, Morrison continued. And when the economy is healthy, we all benefit.

Rebate checks will be mailed in phases starting July 10.

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Cialis and penile size – High blood pressure specialists – Van Wert independent

‘Stem-cell tourism’ needs tighter controls, say medical experts – Reuters

LONDON Stem-cell tourism involving patients who travel to developing countries for treatment with unproven and potentially risky therapies should be more tightly regulated, international health experts said on Wednesday.

With hundreds of medical centers around the world claiming to be able to repair damaged tissue in conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, tackling unscrupulous advertising of such procedures is crucial.

These therapies are advertised directly to patients with the promise of a cure, but there is often little or no evidence to show they will help, or that they will not cause harm, the 15 experts wrote in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Some types of stem cell transplant mainly using blood and skin stem cells have been approved by regulators after full clinical trials found they could treat certain types of cancer and grow skin grafts for burns patients.

But many other potential therapies are only in the earliest stages of development and have not been approved by international regulators.

“Stem cell therapies hold a lot of promise, but we need rigorous clinical trials and regulatory processes to determine whether a proposed treatment is safe, effective and better than existing treatments,” said one of the 15, Sarah Chan of Britain’s University of Edinburgh.

The experts called for global action, led by the World Health Organization, to introduce controls on advertising and agree international standards for the manufacture and testing of cell and tissue-based therapies.

“The globalization of health markets and the specific tensions surrounding stem cell research and its applications

have made this a difficult challenge,” they wrote. “However, the stakes are too high not to take a united stance.”

(Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by John Stonestreet)

LONDON, July 7 At least three people worldwide are infected with totally untreatable “superbug” strains of gonorrhoea which they are likely to be spreading to others through sex, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

(Reuters Health) – Young women who suffer a concussion may be at increased risk of menstrual irregularities, at least for a few months, suggests a new U.S. study.

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‘Stem-cell tourism’ needs tighter controls, say medical experts – Reuters

Mesenchymal stromal cells from horses show potential for healing skin wounds – Horsetalk

Equine mesenchymal stromal cells have been shown to have antibacterial properties, raising the possibility they could aid in healing troublesome skin wounds in humans and horses.

Mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs, are multipotent connective-tissue cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types, including bone cartilage, muscle and fat.

Chronic skin wounds in humans are common and their treatment is often complicated by pathogenic bacteria. Therefore, safe and innovative treatments to reduce the bacterial load in such wounds are needed.

MSCs have been reported to provide local hormonal signals that promote healing in skin wounds. However, the effects of equine MSCs on the growth of bacteria commonly found in skin wounds has not, until now, been explored.

Researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine at New Yorks Cornell University have been the first to show that equine MSCs possess antimicrobial properties which stymied the growth of Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus).

The MSCs did so in part by secreting antimicrobial peptides and depolarizing the bacterial cell membranes.

Rebecca Harman, Gerlinde Van de Walle, Steven Yang, and Megan He, writing in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy, said they focused on the antibacterial properties of MSCs from horses, as this animal model offered a readily translatable model for therapies in humans.

The study team described the laboratory experiment they set up, in which MSCs were isolated from the blood of healthy horses. The bacteria were cultured in the presence of MSCs and an MSC conditioned medium a processed fluid containing all factors secreted by the cells.

They found that both the MSCs and the MSC conditioning medium inhibited the growth of both bacteria, and that the conditioning medium depolarized the cell membranes of these bacteria.

The conditioning medium was found to contain four antimicrobial peptides, cystatin C, elafin, lipocalin 2, and cathelicidin. These appeared to be at least partially responsible for the antibacterial action.

They also looked for the presence of beta defensin 2 in equine MSCs since it has been found to be secreted by human umbilical cord-derived MSCs. It belongs to a widespread family of antimicrobial peptides found in most mammals, including horses. To the surprise of the research team, they could not detect beta defensin 2 in equine MSCs.

Our results, they concluded, demonstrate that equine MSCs inhibit bacterial growth and secrete factors that compromise the membrane integrity of bacteria commonly found in skin wounds.

There appeared to be a difference in the underlying mechanisms targeting each species, withdifferent secreted factors appearing to target different bacteria.

It will be interesting, they said, to study the effects of the MSC conditioning medium on additional bacterial species commonly found in equine skin wounds. The findings will likely be relevant to human as well as veterinary medicine, they said.

Since we found that equine MSCs secrete a variety of antimicrobial peptides that appear effective against both gram-positive [S. Aureus]and gram-negative [E.Coli] bacteria, these cells may serve as a broad-spectrum treatment to control bacterial growth and kill bacteria, without leading to resistance.

The study team said they now intended to evaluate the effectiveness of equine MSCs in healing both acute and chronic wounds.

Antimicrobial peptides secreted by equine mesenchymal stromal cells inhibit the growth of bacteria commonly found in skin wounds Rebecca M. Harman, Steven Yang, Megan K. He and Gerlinde R. Van de Walle Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2017 8:157 DOI: 10.1186/s13287-017-0610-6

The study, published under a Creative Commons License, can be read here.

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Mesenchymal stromal cells from horses show potential for healing skin wounds – Horsetalk

High-tech beauty products –

High-tech beauty tools on the market are going futuristic to help you look your best.

Here are some cutting-edge product recommendations:

Typically, only between 1 percent and 10 percent of skin care topicals are absorbed into the skin, and the rest is wasted. The JeNu PLUS Ultrasonic Infuser emits 365,000 pulses of ultrasonic energy per second to push more skin care product into skin for maximum absorption; increasing absorption by up to 75x. Use with a proprietary MicroSphere Gel (sold separately) to maximize skin care product absorption. You can purchase the infuser at

Create flawless curls and waves at the push of a button with the CHI Spin n Curl. Hair is drawn into the curl chamber with a ceramic rotating barrel, and its timed to create perfect curls. Ceramic heat technology helps distribute heat evenly across the barrel surface to help seal the cuticle, reducing styling damage while locking in moisture. The digital temperature display offers easily adjustable temperature settings each hair texture, creating a customizable styling experience. Available for purchase at

Finally, shapewear for your face! The OMG! Is this Really Me? Instant Face Shaper is a potent gel utilizing natural clay-derived compounds to instantly make skin feel tightened and lifted. Also contains plant-derived stem cell extracts to fight free radicals and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. You can purchase the product at

myCoolSlim is a natural way to reduce unwanted body fat by delivering a safe and effective cold temperature directly to stubborn areas of fat. Its specially designed based on science to freeze and naturally eliminate fat cells.Wear it for 30 minutes a day no more than that and watch the fat cells shrink away! It’s the #1 at home cold contouring solution and a much cheaper alternative to expensive plastic surgery. Available to buy at

HiMirror is the worlds first smart beauty mirror its like having a virtual beauty consultant! The intuitive, touch-free design gives you a beauty, skin, and health analysis. The Smart Body Scale is an accessory to the HiMirror, and it measures weight, body fat percentage, body mass index, total body water, skeletal muscle mass, bone mass, and basal metabolic rate. All data is displayed on a simple interface. You can purchase the products at

For more beauty tips, tricks and product recommendations, subscribe to Beauty News with Angela Cruz at

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High-tech beauty products –

Sex for procreation will be obsolete in 30 years, researcher says – CTV News

A U.S. biomedical researcher believes most babies will be made in the lab instead of the bedroom within the next two to three decades — a bold prediction that could halt genetic predisposition to certain diseases and introduce a new plane of biological inequality.

Hank Greely, the director of Stanford Law Schools Center for Law and the Biosciences, told attendees at the Aspen Ideas Festival earlier this week that replacing sex as the primary means of baby-making will save women from undergoing fertility treatments, reduce health care costs, and give non-traditional families more avenues to have children.

Greely predicts most prospective parents will soon opt to choose from a range of embryos created by taking female skin samples and using stem cells to create eggs, which are then fertilized with sperm.

The range of embryos would be audited for genetically transmitted diseases such as Huntingtons, and perhaps even DNA indicators for breast cancer and Alzheimers. The process could also allow for the selection of cosmetic features, like hair and eye colour, and even complex traits such as intelligence.

Some of this can already take place through costly pre-implantation genetic diagnostics and in vitro fertilization. But Greely imagines, in the future, such selection will become commonplace as the technology becomes cheaper and perhaps even subsidized due to the offset in other medical costs.

University of Toronto bioethicist Kerry Bowman warns that widespread adoption of multiple embryo selection would be quite a deviation from the status-quo, and would mark a shift that makes longstanding fears about genetic predetermination a reality.

It could lead to inequality. Who could afford such a technique? he asked CTV News Channel on Thursday. When we have some people that are selected to the point of almost being enhanced, weve got more inequality added on top of that.

Beyond the issue of cost and the ethical taboo of so-called designer babies, Bowman points to the moral implications of creating additional embryos with the knowledge that some will be discarded.

What are you going to do with them? He (Greely) seems to be talking about a very large amount of embryos. That is one concern, Bowman said.

With that in mind, however, he expects many people will embrace the rise of scientific intervention in human reproduction for the mere possibility of diminishing the risk of disease.

If you could prevent a child being born into a life of suffering, most people would be very supportive of that, Bowman said. Historically, weve thrown the dice.

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Sex for procreation will be obsolete in 30 years, researcher says – CTV News

Skin Stem Cells Used to Generate New Brain Cells – AANS …

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UCI-led study to advance understanding of the role of micoglia in Alzheimers disease

Using human skin cells, University of California, Irvine neurobiologists and their colleagues have created a method to generate one of the principle cell types of the brain called microglia, which play a key role in preserving the function of neural networks and responding to injury and disease. The finding marks an important step in the use of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells for targeted approaches to better understand and potentially treat neurological diseases such as Alzheimers. These iPS cells are derived from existing adult skin cells and show increasing utility as a promising approach for studying human disease and developing new therapies. Skin cells were donated from patients at the UCI Alzheimers Disease Research Center. The study, led by Edsel Abud, Wayne Poon and Mathew Blurton Jones of UCI, used a genetic process to reprogram these cells into a pluripotent state capable of developing into any type of cell or tissue of the body.

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Skin Stem Cells Used to Generate New Brain Cells – AANS …

Within 30 years we will no longer use sex to procreate, says Stanford professor – The Independent

Scientists have discovered that microscopic ‘vampire’ amoebae existed hundreds of millions of years ago, and they may have been some of the first predators on Earth. By examining ancient fossils with an electron microscope, paleobiologist Susannah Porter from UC Santa Barbara discovered tiny holes which may have been drilled by vampiric microbes. The tiny creatures are believed to be the ancestors of modern Vampyrellidae amoebae, and punctured holes in their prey before sucking out the contents of their cells

Susannah Porter

An Earth-like planet orbiting a star 1,200 light years away could have conditions suitable for life, say scientists. Kepler 62f is about 40 per cent larger than the Earth and may possess surface oceans. It is the outermost of five planets circling a star that is smaller and cooler than the sun discovered by the American space agency Nasa’s Kepler space telescope in 2013


Scientists have taken a leaf out of the script of The Martian by showing how easy it would be to grow your own veg on the Red Planet. In the hit Ridley Scott film, a stranded astronaut played by Matt Damon uses his botanical skills to cultivate potatoes. Now his success has been emulated by researchers in the Netherlands who harvested tomatoes, peas, rye, rocket, radish and cress raised on simulated Martian soil supplied by Nasa

An ancient Roman estate complete with its own wine press and bathhouse has been unearthed in Jerusalem. A series of buildings dating back at least 1,600 years were discovered underneath the city’s famous Schneller Orphanage which operated on the site from 1860 until the end of the Second World War, when it was turned into an army base. The ruins were discovered by archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority who were excavating the site ahead of building new flats for the city’s Orthodox Jewish community

Scientists believe they may have found a new species of octopus likened in appearance to Casper, the friendly cartoon ghost. Researchers with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made the discovery by chance as they searched the seabed on an unrelated mission collecting geological samples. Teams were operating an unmanned submarine on the Pacific Ocean floor at depths of more than four kilometres (two-and-a-half miles) in the Hawaiian Islands when they spotted the unusual creature

Astronomers have captured a black hole eating a star and then sicking a bit of it back up for the first time ever. The scientists tracked a star about as big as our sun as it was pulled from its normal path and into that of a supermassive black hole before being eaten up. They then saw a high-speed flare get thrust out, escaping from the rim of the black hole. Scientists have seen black holes killing and swallowing stars. And the jets have been seen before.But a new study shows the first time that they have captured the hot flare that comes out just afterwards. And the flare and then swallowed star have not been linked together before

Brains cannot be categorised into female and male, according to the first study to look at sex differences in the whole brain. Specific parts of the brain do show sex differences, but individual brains rarely have all male traits or all female traits. Some characteristics are more common in women, while some are more common in men, and some are common in both men and women, according to the study

A British scientist has uncovered the fossil of a dog-sized horned dinosaur that roamed eastern North America up to 100 million years ago. The fragment of jaw bone provides evidence of an east-west divide in the evolution of dinosaurs on the North American continent. During the Late Cretaceous period, 66 to 100 million years ago, the land mass was split into two continents by a shallow sea. This sea, the Western Interior Seaway, ran from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. Dinosaurs living in the western continent, called Laramidia, were similar to those found in Asia

A huge asteroid is set to skim by Earth on Halloween, just three weeks after it was first spotted. The rock is travelling through space at 78,000 miles per hour, and will fly past the Earth at a distance of only 300,000 miles only slightly further away than our moon, and easily close enough for Nasa to class it a potentially hazardous object. The asteroid is bigger than a skyscraper

Life may have come to earth 4.1 billion years ago, hundreds of millions of years earlier than we knew. The discovery, made using graphite that was trapped in ancient crystals, could mean that life began “almost instantaneously” after the Earth was formed. The researchers behind it have described the discovery as a potentially transformational scientific advance. Previously, life on Earth was understood to have begun when the inner solar system was hit by a massive bombardment from space, which also formed the moon’s craters

Earth could be in danger as our galaxy throws out comets that could hurtle towards us and wipe us out, scientists have warned. Scientists have previously presumed that we are in a relatively safe period for meteor impacts, which are linked with the journey of our sun and its planets, including Earth, through the Milky Way. But some orbits might be more upset than we know, and there is evidence of recent activity, which could mean that we are passing through another meteor shower. Showers of meteors periodically pass through the area where the Earth is, as gravitational disturbances upset the Oort Cloud, which is a shell of icy objects on the edge of the solar system. They happen on a 26-million year cycle, scientists have said, which coincide with mass extinctions over the last 260-million years

Chinese scientists have created genetically-engineered, extra-muscular dogs, after editing the genes of the animals for the first time. The scientists create beagles that have double the amount of muscle mass by deleting a certain gene, reports the MIT Technology Review. The mutant dogs have more muscles and are expected to have stronger running ability, which is good for hunting, police (military) applications, Liangxue Lai, one of the researchers on the project. Now the team hope to go on to create other modified dogs, including those that are engineered to have human diseases like muscular dystrophy or Parkinsons. Since dogs anatomy is similar to those of humans, intentionally creating dogs with certain human genetic traits could allow scientists to further understand how they occur

Nasa has announced that it has found evidence of flowing water on Mars. Scientists have long speculated that Recurring Slope Lineae or dark patches on Mars were made up of briny water but the new findings prove that those patches are caused by liquid water, which it has established by finding hydrated salts.

With warmer summers, flowers in the Rockies have become shallower and more suited to shorter-tongued bees

The titular alien character from 2011’s ‘Paul’ – a poll has found the majority of the public in Britain, Germany and the US believe that intelligent life is out there in the universe

Scientists say that the new dinosaur, known as Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis, challenges everything we thought about a dinosaurs physiology. Florida State University professor of biological science Greg Erickson said: It creates this natural question. How did they survive up here?

New research has become the first to isolate the particular scent of human death, describing the various chemicals that are emitted by corpses in an attempt to help find them in the future. The researchers hope that the findings are the first step towards working on a synthetic smell that could train cadaver dogs to be able to more accurately find human bodies, or to eventually developing electronic devices that can look for the scent themselves.

Researchers in the Middle East have asked for seeds including those of wheat, barley and grasses, all of which are chosen because especially resistant to dry conditions. It is the first withdrawal from the bank, which was built in 2008. Those researchers would normally request the seeds from a bank in Aleppo. But that centre has been damaged by the war while some of its functions continue, and its cold storage still works, it has been unable to provide the seeds that are needed by the rest of the Middle East, as it once did.

Illustrations of the Earth and moon show the two to be quite close together, Mr Overstreet said. This is inaccurate, the reason being that these images are not to scale.

People lie more convincingly if they have a full bladder, according to research by academics at California State University. Iris Blandn-Gitlin’s team asked 22 students to lie to a panel of interviewers. Half were given 700ml to drink before the interview and the other half, just 50ml. The students with the full bladders showed fewer signs that they were lying and their untrue answers were longer and more detailed, meaning interviewers were less able to detect that they were telling porkies. PM David Cameron has previously attested to giving speeches on a full bladder.

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Within 30 years we will no longer use sex to procreate, says Stanford professor – The Independent

In 30 years we won’t be having sex to make babies, says science – SHEmazing

Within three decades, we won’t be making babies naturally, apparently.

That’s the opinion of one Stanford University professor, who believes thatmaking a baby will be carried out in a lab.

Hank Greely, the director of Stanford’s Centre of Law and Biosciences claims that the reproductive process will start by parents choosing from a rangeof embryos with their DNA.

Even though this already takes place for people who struggle to conceive, Hank thinks it will become cheaper and the safest option in the long run.

The process would involve taking a female’s skin sample to make stem cells, which would then be used to create eggs.

The eggs are then fertilised by sperm cells, which produce the embryos.

“I think one of the hardest things about this will be all the divorces that come about when she wants embryo number 15 and he wants embryo number 64, Hanksaid at Aspen Ideas Festive,Tribunereported.

I think the decision making will be a real challenge for people. How do you weigh a slightly higher chance of diabetes with slightly lower risk of schizophrenia against better musical ability and a much lower risk of colon cancer? Good luck.

Well, it’ll certainly be interesting to see.

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In 30 years we won’t be having sex to make babies, says science – SHEmazing

In the future, we won’t have sex to procreate – Quartz

It doesnt take long for seemingly outlandish ideas to become normalized. Today, Stanford University professor Hank Greelys assertion that Americans will stop having sex to procreate sounds absurd. But in a couple of decades, he predicts, that will be the accepted reality.

Greely, director of Stanford Law Schools Center for Law and the Biosciences, believes that were 20 to 30 years away from a time when most American procreation will begin by selecting from a range of embryos created with the parents DNA in a lab. This already happens on a limited basis for disease prevention and occasionally sex selection, but he argues it will become far cheaper and widely available thanks to stem cell technology that will allow couples to make eggs and sperm out of stem cells from their skin.

Prospective parents will start by screening those embryos for genetic diseases such as Huntingtons, but quickly expand to other traits, he predicts. Perhaps theyll weed out the BRAC1 gene for breast cancer, predispositions for Alzheimers, or theyll be able to select cosmetic features such as hair and eye color, and even more complex traits such as intelligence.

I dont think were going to be able to say this embryo will get a 1550 on its two-part SAT, Greely said this week at Aspen Ideas Festival. But, this embryo has a 60% chance of being in the top half, this embryo has a 13% chance of being in the top 10%I think thats really possible.

And, though he recognizes that there are ethical issues, Greely views this scenario as far from dystopian. People say, How can we let this happen? I think we will, he said.

At times, he sounded flippant about the prospect. I think one of the hardest things about this will be all the divorces that come about when she wants embryo number 15 and he wants embryo number 64, he said. I think the decision making will be a real challenge for people. How do you weigh a slightly higher chance of diabetes with slightly lower risk of schizophrenia against better musical ability and a much lower risk of colon cancer? Good luck.

Greely brushed aside the concern that what hes describing meddles too much with nature. This is not designer babies or super babies, he said. This is selecting embryos. You take two people, all you can get out of a baby is what those two people have.

There are already concerns that CRISPR, the tool that scientists use to edit DNA, will be put to use to create perfect embryos. But Greely dismisses this as unlikely. He argues that the embryo selection process will simply begin as an infertility treatment before expanding. People, particularly where I live in Silicon Valley, will want to do it to get their perfect egg, he added.

Greely acknowledges that ethical issues will likely arise around safety, coercion, fairness, and family structure, but does not see any of these as obstacles that will halt the development of this practice.

And what of a world where the elites have perfectly selected children while those less well off are left to deal with the diseases and imperfections that no longer affect the wealthy? Greely has the answer: The whole thing will be free. The parents wont be charged.

The key is the health care cost savings, he said, pointing out that, should it cost $10,000 to make a baby this way, then 100 babies would cost $1 million dollars. Meanwhile, the cost of caring for a truly sick baby is so great, Greely said the births of just 0.3 sick babies would need to be avoided to save $1 million.

Greelys scenario could well prove overly optimistic in the US, and it certainly doesnt apply internationally. I think different cultures will pick it up at different rates. I think the US will be relatively accepting, Germany with its history is very anti any genetic interventions and I think theyre going to be slow, said Greely.

Should his vision come to pass, wealthy nations such as the US and China could begin this practice long before Somalia, for example. And so it seems almost inevitable that the world would become genetically divided between those who can breed out the flaws, and those who cannot.

Greely foresees a scenario where future generations will be much healthier, and possibly a little taller and smarter. From his telling, this unnerving prophesy sounds almost normalwhich is the most terrifying prospect of all.

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In the future, we won’t have sex to procreate – Quartz

Israeli doctors find link between Alzheimer’s and bedsores – ISRAEL21c

Dr. Efraim Jaul, director of geriatric skilled nursing at Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem, noticed that many patients with dementia and especially those with Alzheimers disease seemed more prone to developing pressure ulcers (bedsores).

It occurred to him that perhaps the significantly higher incidence of bedsores was not simply a result of the immobility of advanced dementia patients, as is commonly assumed.

I wondered if they were really distinct diseases or if there could be any connection between them, he tells ISRAEL21c.

Quantifying the phenomenon in his own hospital, Jaul found that 76 percent of geriatric patients with pressure ulcers had dementia, whereas only 32% of patients without pressure ulcers had dementia.

He has published three research papers over the past few years showing a clear link between dementia and pressure ulcers.

Jaul says that his groundbreaking discovery is unique.

Thats because we looked at advanced dementia, while almost all research is focused on early dementia and how to prevent its progression, he explains.

Its in the skin

Jaul was the lead author of papers about the dementia-pressure ulcers link that appeared in International Wound Journal in 2013 and in the Journal of Experimental Aging Research in 2016.

Earlier this year, Jaul and Oded Meiron a cognitive neuroscientist who heads the Electrophysiology and Neuro-cognition Lab in Herzogs Clinical Research Center for Brain Sciences published an article in the Journal of Alzheimers Disease outlining their theory about why the two seemingly unrelated conditions are related.

They suspected that the abnormal changes in the brain that lead to dementia are not localized but actually occur at the same time in other body systems. And thats exactly what some neurodiagnostic teams have found.

Working with NeuroDiagnostics in Baltimore, which is developing a test to identify a biomarker for abnormal cell density in the skin of dementia patients, Meiron and Jaul suggest that changes in the skin of dementia patients likely make them more susceptible to wounds.

We expect to see these changes happening even with mild cognitive impairment, Meiron tells ISRAEL21c.

This makes sense, he explains, because skin tissue and brain tissue derive from the same embryonic stem cells.

Jaul presented the theory at a recent conference of the Israel Gerontological Society. We got a lot of interest from other clinicians, he reports.

Two ways to use this information

The practical implications of Jaul and Meirons theory are two-fold.

For caregivers of mild or moderate dementia patients, understanding the heightened danger of developing bedsores will encourage a more aggressive preventative approach while dementia is still mild or moderate. Frequent changes of position and other measures can be taken to keep sores from forming.

From a research point of view, Meiron hopes to advance clinical studies of NeuroDiagnostics skin test for the purpose of pinpointing an individuals type and stage of dementia and noninvasively (and inexpensively) suppressing its progression using novel safe neuromodulation interventions.

If we look at peripheral biomarkers instead of inside the brain, we can identity or have a good idea of what is happening in the brain as well, on the cellular level, he says.

The biomarkers significantly differentiate between elderly controls and Alzheimers patients. There are also biomarkers for other types of dementia but that needs to be further validated.

If validated by clinical trials, the skin test could be a powerful tool for early detection and specific diagnosis since not all forms of dementia require the same treatment.

Having this information will help clinicians prescribe appropriate therapies to slow or stop dementia from advancing to the stage where pressure ulcers and debilitating cognitive impairments can have deadly consequences.

If we identify these early stages we can intervene and delay accelerated cognitive decline. The skin markers are important but the goal is increased quality of life, says Meiron, who also is involved in a few clinical studies that introduce this idea in the field of aging and pre-dementia research.

Israeli doctors find link between Alzheimer’s and bedsores – ISRAEL21c

What makes stem cells into perfect allrounders – – Phys.Org

June 27, 2017 Just a few days old embryonic cell clusters: with functional Pramel7 (left), without the protein (right) the development of the stem cells remains stuck and the embyos die. Credit: Paolo Cinelli, USZ

Researchers from the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich have discovered the protein that enables natural embryonic stem cells to form all body cells. In the case of embryonic stem cells maintained in cell cultures, this allrounder potential is limited. Scientists want to use this knowledge to treat large bone fractures with stem cells.

Stem cells are considered biological allrounders because they have the potential to develop into the various body cell types. For the majority of stem cells, however, this designation is too far-reaching. Adult stem cells, for example, can replace cells in their own tissue in case of injury, but a fat stem cell will never generate a nerve or liver cell. Scientists therefore distinguish between multipotent adult stem cells and the actual allrounders – the pluripotent embryonic stem cells.

Epigenetic marks determine potential for development

Differences exist even among the true allrounders, however. Embryonic stem cells that grow in laboratory cell cultures are in a different state than the pluripotent cells found inside the embryos in the first days of development. In a study in the journal Nature Cell Biology, researchers led by Paolo Cinelli of the University Hospital Zurich and Raffaella Santoro of the University of Zurich have now demonstrated the mechanism by which natural allrounders differ from embryonic stem cells in cultures.

At the center of their discovery is a protein called Pramel7 (for “preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma”-like 7) found in the cells of embryonic cell clusters that are just a few days old. This protein guarantees that the genetic material is freed from epigenetic marks consisting of chemical DNA tags in the form of methyl groups. “The more methyl groups are removed, the more open the Book of Life becomes,” Cinelli says. Since any cell of the human body can develop from an embryonic stem cell, all genes have to be freely accessible at the beginning. The more a cell develops or differentiates, the stronger its genetic material is methylated and “sealed closed” again. In a bone cell, for example, only those genes are active that the cell requires for its function, the biochemist explains.

Protein is responsible for perfect pluripotency

Despite its short action period of just a few days, Pramel7 seems to play a vital role: When the researchers headed up by Cinelli and Santoro switched off the gene for this protein using genetic tricks, development remained stuck in the embryonic cell cluster stage. In the cultivated stem cells, on the other hand, Pramel7 is rarely found. This circumstance could also explain why the genetic material of these cells contains more methyl groups than that of natural embryonic cells – the perfect allrounders, as Cinelli calls them.

Using the stem cell function to regenerate bone tissue

His interest in stem cells lies in the hope of one day being able to help people with complex bone fractures. “Bones are great at regenerating and they are the only tissue that does not build scars,” Paolo Cinelli says. The bone stumps must be touching, however, in order to grow together. When a bone breaks in multiple places and even through the skin, for example, in a motorcycle accident, the sections of bone in between are often no longer usable. For such cases, a bone replacement is required. His team is studying carrier materials that they want to populate with the body’s own stem cells in the future. “For this reason, we have to know how stem cells work,” Cinelli adds.

Explore further: New tools to study the origin of embryonic stem cells

More information: Urs Graf et al, Pramel7 mediates ground-state pluripotency through proteasomalepigenetic combined pathways, Nature Cell Biology (2017). DOI: 10.1038/ncb3554

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What makes stem cells into perfect allrounders – – Phys.Org

Making Babies, No Sex Necessary – The Atlantic

In the future, when a couple wants to reproduce, they will not make a baby in a bed or in the backseat or a car, or under a Keep Off the Grass sign, says Henry Greely, the director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford Law School.

Instead, they will go to a clinic. Using stem cells from the couples skin or other non-reproductive organs, scientists will be able to make eggs and sperm, which will be combined into embryos. Each of those embryos will have its own gene sequence, Greely says. The parents will be asked: What do you want to know about these embryos? And theyll be told.

Twenty or 30 years from now, parents will be able to screen their potential kids for genetic abnormalities, pre-disposal to disease, sex, and even cosmetic features like hair, eye, and skin color, Greely claims. The new way of baby-making will save women the pain of going through fertility treatments, he says, and it will prevent disease, save health-care costs, and give non-traditional families more chances to have children. If this reproductive future comes to pass, it will also come with a tangle of moral, legal, and medical questionsones that wont be easy to resolve, despite what Greely may think.

When Greely tells people about his theorywhich is the subject of his 2016 book, The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproductionthey tend to say, This is Gattica, or this is Brave New World, he said during an interview with the New York Times reporter Carl Zimmer on Monday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. Greely is skeptical of this argument. This is not designer babies. This is not super babies. This is selecting embryos, he said.

Greely gets some of his confidence from the limits of science. Geneticists likely wont be able to predict kids behavioral traits, he said, like their aptitude for math or agility on a sports field. But they may be able to anticipate some traits, like intelligence, in broad strokes. Being able to tell parents that this embryo has a 60 percent chance of being in the top half [of their school class], this embryo has a 13 percent chance of being in the top 10 percentI think thats really possible, he said.

Scientists have been screening embryos using a process called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, for two and half decades, Greely said. This allows for the detection of some genetic diseases, as well as determining the sex of the embryo. Up until now, it has been expensive and arduous, but with new technologyincluding the expanded use of stem cellsit will become easy, he said. The people most likely to lead the way on easy PGD are those with fertility trouble, he argues, or those who cant have their own biological kids, including same-sex couples. For these people, the process seems to be a clear potential win: Once hopeless, they may soon be able to have biological children of their own.

But if the process does indeed advance in the way Greely predicts, it will come with big ethical challenges. Safety is a big issue, he said. Coercion is a big issue: Will you be forced to do this? No matter how easy PGD becomes, it will always be expensive, meaning that babies from rich families would gain even more advantages over other people before they leave the womb. The procedure also challenges the disability-rights movement, Greely pointed out: It implicitly suggests that some traits, and thus some people, are preferable to others.

Theres very little about our modern lives that a God from 3000 years ago would have expected.

Some critics may also claim this process is against Gods will, Greely added. I dont have a lot of confidence in the intellectual strength of that argument, but I think it has a lot of visceral support.

Despite Greelys skepticism, this seems to be the greatest potential objection to a world of skin-cell babies and intensive genetic screening: It assumes that the creation of life is a matter of pipettes and petri dishes, not something greater. While the widespread use of contraceptives has largely divorced sex from procreation, this process would represent the final severing. As Greely pointed out, the very meaning of sex would change. Most people have sex and it doesnt result in a baby, he said. They do it because they like it. They do it as a token of love. They do it because theyre forced to. They do it to make money. Pleasure, ultimately, will be a main driver of sex, he added.

For the many peoplereligious or notwho believe that life is not ultimately a matter of science, the world of easy PGD may seem disorienting, even morally disturbing. But Greely didnt think religious or moral arguments could persuade someone like him, or society more broadly, that easy PGD isnt a good idea.

If you, coming from a Catholic background, try to convince me, coming from a non-Catholic background … that wouldnt work for me, he said. I need a more intellectual argument than one based on my faith or the tablets brought down from the mountain for me say this. Theres very little about our modern lives thats natural or what a God from 3000 years ago would have expected or wanted, including all of modern medicine.

As head-spinning as these theoretical ethical challenges are, perhaps easy PGD wont be as common as Greely thinks. After all, he joked, were never going to get rid of teenagers in the back seat of a car.

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Making Babies, No Sex Necessary – The Atlantic

Is doubling our life span desirable? – Price Sun Advocate

The times, they are a-changing.

Since Gregor Mendel unwittingly became the father of genetics by writing down his botanical observations, we have been progressing along swimmingly in our understanding and application of biology.

In the past few years, we ourselves have made some measured leaps forward in the field of biotechnology, some small someless so. Yet with the monumental achievements we have made thus-far from the advent of vaccines to our understanding of how our bodies age and degenerate, we have yet to make that quantum leap forward. That quantum leap may itself not be that far off and if anything is a good indicator of that its observable in the nature of the biotech we are currently developing.

With any huge leap forward, however, come new challenges and a slew of new questions that desperately need to be answered.

This next step in our journey isnt quite like when we eradicated major diseases or began transplanting organs because it isnt about extending human life a mere few additional years. We are taking about a doubling in the years a human may live. Thats right, double.

Now, before you write this off as sci-fi or wishful thinking, let me walk you through exactly what breakthroughs are currently occurring. It all has to do with CRISPR gene-line editing and 3-dimensional printing.

We are at the point where we can take normal somatic cells like the ones from your skin, coax them back into stem cells then re-engineer them into just about any type of cells we want. This means shortly we will be able to take skin cells and make them into heart tissue, or liver, or pancreatic or any number of different ones.

Next, the advances in 3-dimensional printing may shortly be able to take your newly minted cells and print them onto a blank scaffolding in the shape of just about any organ you may need.

Think of that: if you need a new heart it could be as simple as scratching some skin from your arm, reprogramming the cells and then printing you a whole new organ. Not a transplant from a donor, your own cells. This means no rejection and no waitlists. When an organ fails we replace it, again and again and again.

What is to become of a human race that is capable of living seemingly without end? This brings up some serious questions that would have to be answered quickly.

For starters, we see that the current population growth of our species is unsupportable as we resist green energies and advanced farming methods. If humans were to begin to live twice as long or longer we must figure out what we are going to do.

Now the radicals would suggest we simply control the populations but I dont believe that is necessary or even morally right. All we must do is increase our carrying capacity. I must admit that was not my own musing but one my father suggested to me.

If we are able to increase how much food and energy we produce without damaging the planet there is virtually no limit to how many humans can live at once. But the question is, will we resist it as we are now? Will the prospect of living healthily well over a century spur us to begin to accept scientific consensus? Or will we continue down our current path of selfishness and greed? Only time will tell.

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Is doubling our life span desirable? – Price Sun Advocate

Large-scale Production of Living Brain Cells Enables Entirely New Research – Laboratory Equipment

Important pieces of the puzzle to understand what drives diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are still missing today. One crucial obstacle for researchers is that it is impossible to examine a living brain cell in someone who is affected by the disease. With the help of a new method for cell conversion, researchers at Lund University in Sweden have found a way to produce diseased, aging brain cells on a large scale in a cell culture dish.

After performing a biopsy on the patient, the skin cells are transformed into brain cells that effectively imitate the disease and the age of the patient. The fact that the cells can now be produced in large quantities enables researchers to carry out a series of experiments that were previously not possible.

A few years ago, Malin Parmar’s research team was one of the first in the world to convert human skin cells directly into brain cells without passing the stem cell state. The discovery shocked the researchers and was perceived as almost impossible. The team is now approaching a point where the discovery is about to bear fruit on a wide scale. By following a new method that involves slightly changing the genetic code that triggers cell conversion, the researchers were able to multiply the production of disease-specific brain cells.

“Primarily, we inhibited a protein, REST, involved in establishing identity in cells that are not nerve cells. After limiting this protein’s impact in the cells during the conversion process, we’ve seen completely different results. Since then, we’ve been playing around with changing the dosage of the other components in the previous method, which also proved effective. Overall, the efficiency is remarkable. We can now generate almost unlimited amounts of neurons from one skin biopsy”, says Malin Parmar, professor of developmental and regenerative neurobiology at Lund University.

The increase in production will have far-reaching effects. The new volumes enable research projects that were simply not viable before. Among other things, it opens up research areas linked to new drug testing, the establishment of more accurate disease models and the development of diagnostics to detect the diseases at an earlier stage.

The new cells are not only able to imitate the disease but also the patient’s age. By studying the cell in the culture dish, the researchers can now monitor the mechanisms of the disease in an “old” brain cell over time. Neurodegenerative diseases are commonly referred to as “aging brain diseases” and in order to understand them, we must better appreciate how the age specifically affects the course of the disease. The Lund researchers’ discovery can hopefully contribute a crucial piece to the puzzle with regard to the connection between the onset of disease and cell aging, something which previous research based on animal experiments and stem cells has failed to provide.

“This takes us one step closer to reality, as we can now look inside the human neurons and see what goes on inside the cell in these diseases. If all goes well, this could fundamentally change the field of research, as it helps us better understand the real mechanisms of the disease. We believe that many laboratories around the world would like to start testing on these cells to get closer to the diseases”, says Johan Jakobsson, leader of the molecular neurogenetics research group at Lund University.

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Large-scale Production of Living Brain Cells Enables Entirely New Research – Laboratory Equipment

Say Goodbye to Hair Loss and Hello to Body Regeneration – TrendinTech

If youve ever been concerned about hair loss in the past, this could be your lucky day. A new experiment carried out by Michael Rosenblum, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of California has proved just how useful regulatory T cells (tregs) are when it comes to hair loss. Previously scientists were led to believe that these cells single task was to inform other cells when to attack. However, what Rosenblum discovered when he shaved the mouse he was experimenting on, he noticed that the hair never grew back.

From the study, Rosenblum and team discovered that tregs in the skin had high levels of Jagged 1 (Jag1) which has the duty of calling in the stem cells through a process called Notch signaling. Removing the tregs reduced the notch signaling and when Jag1 was added the stem cells were called which then activated the process of follicle regeneration.

This study will be of particular interest to one type of hair loss sufferer: those with alopecia areata. This is an autoimmune disease that impedes hair follicle regeneration and affects as many as 1.7 percents of the U.S. population. Until now, very little has been known about what causes hair loss, but this research will give doctors and scientists everywhere new direction and a potential cure.

As well as hair regeneration, this process could be used to correct other skin related problems such as wound repair. What we found here is that stem cells, and immune cells have to work together to make regeneration possible, says Rosenblum. So dont despair if youre losing your hair, help is on the way!

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Say Goodbye to Hair Loss and Hello to Body Regeneration – TrendinTech

After two stem cell transplants and several rounds of chemo, ‘now he’s just like a normal 2-year-old’ –

When Shannon DeAndrea saw a knot on her 18-month-old sons head last July, she thought he had just fallen.

But more popped up and wouldnt go away. He also began feeling sick.

I finally decided he needed to see a pediatrician, said DeAndrea, who lives in Blairs.

She was told he had ear infections and her son, Nathan, was put on rounds of antibiotics. The knots were normal, she was told.

Another medical provider said he looked anemic. Blood work revealed his hemoglobin was dangerously low.

We ended up in the ER, DeAndrea said. They couldnt figure out why he was anemic.

Shannon and Nathan were sent to Roanoke, where he was diagnosed with a stage 4 neuroblastoma on Aug. 23. He had a tumor in his abdomen that spread to his bone marrow. He had spots on his skull, ribs and spine.

Neuroblastomas are cancers that begin in early nerve cells of the sympathetic nervous system, according to the American Cancer Society.

Since his diagnosis, her son now 2 has had several rounds of chemotherapy and two stem cell transplants and is doing well.

Now hes just like a normal 2-year-old, DeAndrea said. Hes running around with his sister. Hes eating well.

Dr. William Clark is associate professor of medicine and attending physician at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center Stem Cell Transplantation Program. Clark said the procedure is used for conditions including multiple myeloma, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and leukemia.

Stem cell transplants are used to replace bone marrow that has been destroyed by cancer or destroyed by the chemo and/or radiation used to treat the cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

High doses of chemo (sometimes along with radiation), work better than standard doses to kill cancer cells. However, high doses can also kill the stem cells and cause the bone marrow to stop making blood cells, which are needed for life. The transplanted stem cells replace the bodys stem cells after the bone marrow and its stem cells have been destroyed by treatment, according to the American Cancer Society.

Two types of stem cell transplants include autologous, which uses stem cells from the patients own body, and allogeneic using stem cells from another person, Clark said.

For leukemia patients, most of the time, we give them stem cells from someone else, Clark said. Chemotherapy helps lower the leukemia disease burden, but the new immune system provided by the new stem cells can fight against the cancer cells and get rid of them, he said.

Virginia Commonwealth Universitys cancer center performs an average of about 160-195 stem cell transplants per year, Clark said. Slightly more than half are autologous procedures, and the rest are allogeneic, he said.

Whitt Clement, former delegate who represented the Danville area in the General Assembly, underwent a stem cell transplant for acute myeloid leukemia in September 2015.

The most important aspect for patients is being self-aware and their own best advocates, Clement said.

My experience was that the patient has to ask a lot of questions throughout the process, he said.

He suspected something was wrong when he noticed his platelet count declining over seven years. He went to a hematologist and had a bone marrow biopsy that revealed his condition.

If I had not taken the initiative myself and gone to see a hematologist, matters would have progressed to the point where I would have been symptomatic, Clement said.

Finding the perfect match in a donor is also important, Clement said. Fortunately, he had a sibling who met all the criteria and donated stem cells.

A person can get great matches from unrelated donors, but its preferable for a donor to be a sibling, said Clement, partner at Hunton & Williams law firm in Richmond.

Your body has an easier time tolerating the new stem cells, he said.

Clement served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1988-2002, and as Virginias secretary of transportation from 2002-2005 under Gov. Mark Warner.

For someone with multiple myeloma, the transplant does not cure the disease but delays the time it returns by up to seven and a half years, Clark said.

Lymphoma, leukemia and sickle cell anemia can be cured with the procedure, Clark said. Lymphoma can be cured in about 50 to 80 percent of cases, depending on the lymphoma, Clark said.

The first 30 days after the transplant are the most critical, Clement said. During that time, different organs can have varying reactions to the new cells. It can affect the kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and cause other side effects.

The idea is that the closer the match, the less likely youll have those adverse reactions, he said.

The process includes being put on an immunosuppressant to prevent the immune system from attacking the new cells, Clement said.

He credits the quality of his recovery to asking lots of questions and being his own advocate tape recording conversations with medical providers, coming in with written questions.

Ive been able to recover better because of that, he said.

Its a long journey and so a person confronted with the transplant situation has got to prepare himself for a long journey that requires a lot of questions along the way, Clement said.

There are about 20 million potential stem cell/bone marrow donors in the BeTheMatch Registry in the United States, Clark said.

Stem cell transplants began in the late 50s/early 60s with the first successful procedure done in an identical twin, Clark said. However, stem cell transplants were limited until medicines that prevent rejections became available.

The number of procedures increased in the 1980s, Clark said.

Danville resident Susan Mathena, cancer patient navigator at Danville Regional Medical Center, became a donor about 20 years ago because she wanted to help people. Mathena has also been an organ donor since she got her drivers license.

I see patients all the time that need stem cell transplants, Mathena said. We always need a source of bone marrow donation.

Though she will age out of the stem cell donor list soon, she could still be contacted if she is the only match for someone in need, she said.

Clark will speak next month on stem cell/bone marrow transplants at Ballou Recreation Center at an event held by the Cancer Research and Resource Center of Southern Virginia in Danville.

Thousands of patients with blood cancers like leukemia or other diseases like sickle cell anemia need a bone marrow/stem cell transplant to survive, including some of our own community members, said Kate Stokely Powell, coordinator at the center.

Clarks presentation offers an opportunity in Southside for people battling illness, medical students and professionals and the public to learn from an expert in the field of stem cell transplants, Powell said.

Doctors, hospitals and families affected by a blood cancer disease have done a great job of building a massive database of blood types for potential donor matches, Clement said.

For DeAndrea and her son, Nathan, the first transplant included four or five days of chemo. The new stem cells following the chemo that killed off his old stem cells from the transplant were like a rescue, she said.

Its wiping you out and then giving you your cells back to restart your immune system, DeAndrea said.

A second round of heavy chemo was to try to kill what was left of the cancer and replenish cells, she said.

It was rough, it was a nightmare, DeAndrea said. It was by far the worst phase of his treatment, but I believe, in the long run, its worth it.

She said the procedures should increase Nathans chances for survival and prevent a relapse.

Nathan just finished radiation Tuesday and will go in for a biopsy of his bone marrow this week, DeAndrea said.

Well find out next week where we stand as far as the cancer goes, she said.

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After two stem cell transplants and several rounds of chemo, ‘now he’s just like a normal 2-year-old’ –

Jonathan Pitre still ailing as doctors search for answers – Ottawa Citizen

Photo of Jonathan Pitre and his mother, Tina Boileau, taken in Minnesota. Tina Boileau / –

Doctors in a Minnesota hospital continue to search for answers to a mysterious infection that has left Jonathan Pitre feverish, nauseated and short of breath.

Pitre, 17, of Russell, has been in the University of Minnesota Masonic Childrens Hospital for the past two weeks, suffering from an array of complications more two months after his stem cell transplant. Doctors are also trying to adjust his medications to better deal with his increased pain levels.

Hes having a tough run, said his mother, Tina Boileau, and I really dont know when it will get better.

The teenager suffers from a severe form of epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a painful and progressive skin disease that has left deep, open wounds on his body.

Last week, Pitres face and neck became swollen in response to what doctors believed was some kind of viral infection. That swelling has been brought under control, but a battery of tests has yet to reveal the source of the infection, which continues to cause problems.

Pitres breathing is laboured and hes running a high-grade fever of about 104 F (40 C); he has also developed bleeding and painful sores in his mouth.

We still have no idea what were dealing with, said Boileau. Its frustrating because Im at the point where it would be nice to see that all that Jonathan has gone through has been worth it.

Doctors are monitoring Pitre for graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), but all of his tests have so far been inconclusive.Anyone who receives stem cells from another person is at risk of developing GVHD, a condition in which the donors white blood cells turn on the patients own tissues and attack them as foreign. It can range from mild to life-threatening.

About one-third of the almost 50 EB patients who have had a stem cell transplant at the Masonic Childrens Hospital have experienced the condition.

Pitre checked back into hospital earlier this month just three days after being released following a stem cell transplant that had successfully taken root in his bone marrow. Bone marrow stem cells produce most of the bodys blood cells, and are responsible for arming its immune system.

Pitre has been in Minnesota since mid-February to undergo the transplant, his second. The first ended in disappointment on Thanksgiving Day last year.

Tests show Pitres latest transplant remains fully engrafted, and there are signs that it has started to improve the condition of his skin.

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Jonathan Pitre still ailing as doctors search for answers – Ottawa Citizen