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Archive for the ‘Bone Marrow Stem Cells’ Category

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kick Blood Cancer


Sunday, Aug. 13

1-4 p.m.


The Grove

189 The Grove Drive

Los Angeles, CA 90036

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

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

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

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

About the new Stem Cell Therapy

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

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

Why the new Stem Cell Therapy is Important

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

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

The Next Step

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

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

IN-DEPTH: Fighting for your life – Leavenworth Times

Julie Gould was heartbroken to learn that there was no cure for diffuse scleroderma, the chronic disease that she was diagnosed with in 2016.

Julie Gould was heartbroken to learn that there was no cure for diffuse scleroderma, the chronic disease that she was diagnosed with in 2016.The life-threatening auto-immune disease affects connective tissue in the body by producing too much collagen and hardening cartilage, tendons and skin.

I was depressed when I received the initial diagnosis, she said. It's difficult to hear that you may be dead in five years time. According to the Scleroderma Foundation, A person newly diagnosed with scleroderma may feel alone and uncertain about where to turn for help. He or she may experience a number of other feelings and emotional reactions from time to time, including initial shock or disbelief, fear, anger, denial, self-blame, guilt, grief, sadness or depression. Family members may have similar feelings.

When Julie first consulted a doctor in 2015, she was concerned that she might have picked up an infectious disease, such as a mosquito-born illness, or as she described it, the worst flu ever, during a vacation to Mexico. But she was told that diabetic neuropathy was causing the pins and needles tingling in her hands and feet.

My hands and feet continued to swell and I thought I had heart failure, said Julie. I went to a cardiologist to see if that was the problem. Those tests and lab work came back normal too.When the pain and swelling became excruciating, she consulted with a rheumatologist. When diabetic neuropathy was ruled out, she was told it could be rheumatoid arthritis. Although the lab tests were within normal limits, her doctor thought the labs werent correlating yet because it was so early in diagnosis. She was given medication and told to come back in six weeks, but saw no alleviation of the pain.

When her rheumatologist told her she might have scleroderma and ordered lab work, those tests too were normal.My physical therapist thought I should go to the Mayo Clinic, said Julie. I got online and requested an appointment. Three months later at the clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, she was diagnosed with diffuse scleroderma but it was a rare type that doesnt test positive in the usual lab test. Her total diagnosis wait had been a year and eight months, and she was more than ready to begin treatment. She was given multiple medications for pain and symptom control.After diagnosis, I got online and started searching for information about scleroderma, said Julie. It was dismal. I had to step away from the computer.Current treatments for the disease are varied, but basically treat the organs being affected. When lung tissue is hardened, patients are tube-fed and given oxygen. Sometimes lung transplants are required. Some patients need gastrointestinal surgery and some have operations to decrease ulcers on their fingers, while some must have their fingers and toes amputated.

Medication for high blood pressure and chemotherapy to suppress the disease are common with the disease and stiff joints and skin can result in patients not being able to stand upright and wheelchair-bound. Physical and occupational therapy is required to save body functions.Julies mother and sister, who is a nurse, also began scouring the internet for treatments. When they read about stem cell transplant they both felt this was the answer to Julies prayers.

Overcome with depression and pain, Julie began taking an antidepressant. With the help of the drug and limitless help and support from her family, the research on transplant gave her much needed hope. When I found out about the transplant, I was scared, said Julie. I feared for my life being taken by this disease.

This disease literally affects every organ system in the body. Transplant offered a chance to stop the disease in its tracks and stop further progression and damage to my body. I had been recently diagnosed, so the doctor said I could wait until I was worse, then have the transplant at a later date. I did not wait. I already had heart, lung, GI, and musculoskeletal systems involved. This approach was proactive, not reactive. It offered me hope.To qualify for stem cell treatment a patient must be sick enough toneed it, but not so sick that they would not benefit from the procedure.

We were able to find many groups to help us learn about scleroderma, she said. Inspire and Facebook were invaluable. There were specific groups for people who had scleroderma. Groups for people who needed a stem cell transplant. Groups for people with scleroderma, who wanted, or who already had a transplant.I started to read all the testimonials. I looked at the NIH website. This was productive research. I was finding out information on how to save my life not on how I was going to die.

After Julie applied for evaluation by Dr. Richard Burt at Northwestern in Chicago, she had scores of tests, including a CT scan of her lungs, MRI of her chest, EKG, sonogram of her heart, heart cath, colonoscopy, EGD, lab work, stress tests, psychological exam, dental exam, and 24-hour urine collection.

After all the anxious waiting during almost two years of doctor visits and tests, Julie was informed that she had passed the evaluation and had been approved for stem cell transplant.I came home to mentally prepare myself, said Julie. I returned to Chicago for the mobilization phase. I received a dose of chemo overnight in the hospital to suppress my immune disease. A week later I then started to give myself injections to produce white blood cells using neupogen. This medication forces the bone marrow to put out extra white blood cells, from which stem cells originate.

After six days of injections, Julie returned to the hospital to have the stem cells removed from her blood for use at a later date. She had to stay in Chicago during this part of treatment in case she had complications from the procedure. The process was similar to dialysis, said Julie. I was at the hospital all day, 12 hours. My own stem cells had been harvested to heal me. After two weeks of rest at home in Leavenworth, Julie returned to Chicago for the transplant. And after five days of more chemo, her stem cells were returned to her body. Now we only had to wait for the transplant to work, said Julie. I stayed in the hospital until the cells engrafted and my immune system started working again. Eight days.I had been in the hospital for 16 days. The transplant is a reboot to your diseased immune system like a reboot to your computer.Julie returned to Leavenworth to rest and recover. My entire family have been tremendously supportive, she said. They offered and provided all of the help that I needed to achieve this treatment.

She is also grateful to the community of Leavenworth for reaching out to help her. They donated money for my out-of-pocket expenses, said Julie. They provided food upon my return from Chicago. I didn't have to cook, nor did my husband for six weeks. Family cleaned my home and watched my children. I was grateful.

Social media also provided support during Julies treatment. She discovered a network of people on Facebook who had already had a transplant, or were waiting to have one. Stem cells are used to treat many auto-immune disorders like multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohns disease, and many others, said Julie. I could pose any question to this forum and receive an answer. I started my own Facebook page to document my medical treatment so that I too could share my information. It has been wonderful to help others who are experiencing what I have been through.

Julie has just returned from her one-year checkup in Chicago and learned that the progression of the disease has stopped. Stem cell transplant has saved my life, said Julie. I am living, not merely existing.Not only has the disease been stopped in its tracks, Julie has seen physical improvements such as full motion in her shoulder, which was frozen from hardened tissue for much of the last few years. Her contracted hands are also more mobile and she has gained 40 degrees movement in some of her fingers.

I have Raynaud's syndrome, said Julie. It has improved. It was a constant struggle to keep my hands and feet warm. The pain in my hands is mostly gone. The all-over joint pain is gone. The fatigue and malaise are gone. I feel good. I feel happy.As she has regained her back strength and dexterity she is now able to enjoy the routine of normal days, like rising from a chair without pain, sleeping and eating well and even doing simple tasks such as opening a jar, which was difficult after her diagnosis.Everyday tasks were difficult, said Julie. Deodorant, flossing, brushing teeth or hair, dressing. All of the daily activities have gotten easier everyday. The pain is mostly gone.My body feels healthy.

Julie has gained much more than flexibility and relief from constant pain during her long medical challenge, and she emphasizes, I learned to not sweat the small stuff. I learned to live every day. I learned to love every day.

IN-DEPTH: Fighting for your life - Leavenworth Times

Benefit event planned for Palmer man – Grand Island Independent

WORMS A benefit event to assist a Palmer man who is battling MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndrome) is planned for Friday, Aug. 18, at Nitecrawler Bar in Worms.

Army veteran Paul Spencer Curry was diagnosed with MDS in January. MDS is a bone marrow/blood cancer that effects the blood cells and immune system. He has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments since February and had a bone marrow/stem cell transplant in July at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

He is required to spend 100 days after the transplant in Omaha. Proceeds from the benefit will be used to help cover medical, lodging and travel expenses for Curry and his wife, Pam.

The benefit event will include a Texas Hold Em poker tournament at 6 p.m., with the top prize being two Husker football tickets.

The event will also include raffle drawings, live and silent auctions and a pulled pork dinner served from 5 to 9 p.m.. Registration for the poker tournament is $20; freewill donations for the meal. Menu includes pulled pork sandwiches, beans, chips, salads and desserts.

The benefit is sponsored by Dannebrog Michelson-Larkowski American Legion and Auxiliary Post 241.

Donations can be dropped off at any Five Points Bank location, payable to Paul Curry cancer benefit, or mailed to 2015 N. Broadwell Ave., Grand Island, NE 68803.

For tickets, auction donations or more information, contact Randy Hansen at (308) 750-0691 or Leanna Obermiller at (308) 380-1515.

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Benefit event planned for Palmer man - Grand Island Independent

India’s Advancells Reports Successful Reversal of MS in Single Patient Using Stem Cell Therapy – Multiple Sclerosis News Today

Advancellssays its stem cell-based therapy completely reversed multiple sclerosis (MS) in an Indian pilot trial with only one MS patient.

The patient, Rahul Gupta, was diagnosed with MS seven years ago and has since suffered multiple relapses. His disease was progressing fast and he was quickly losing his ability to walk. Gupta, who lives in New Zealand, approached Advancells a company based in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh that specializes in the use of stem cells for therapeutic purposes.

After my last relapse, I became determined to look for alternative treatments for multiple sclerosis,Gupta said in a press release. I started looking on the net and found that stem-cell therapy [offers] hope for people suffering with MS [and] that it is safe and would not harm me in any way. I was determined to undergo stem-cell treatment, as my illness was progressing very quickly.

Gupta enrolled inAdvancells adult stem-cell therapy program as the trials single patient. In the procedure carried outin June at a New Delhi clinic doctors isolated stem cells from his bone marrow and re-infused them back into the patientat specific points. Apart from this procedure, Gupta underwent only physiotherapy and a dietary routine.

Straight after the treatment I saw major improvements, he said. I could walk a lot better, could climb stairs which I was unable to do after 2012 and even go on the treadmill.

Dr. Lipi Singh, head of technology at Advancells, said the company is frequently approached by MS patients from around the world who want to participate in its program.

Patient selection is a key criterion for us and Rahul suited the criteria perfectly, Singh said. He is young and still at a moderate level of the disease and in a very positive frame of mind. Patients at this stage are best suited for this kind of treatment and thus we decided to accept him as a pilot case.

Singh now expects to review Guptas response sometime this fall.

It will take approximately three months for us to review changes in the magnetic resonance imaging of the patient, but the drastic changes in symptoms clearly are an indication of the fact that the treatment is working and could become a hope for millions of patients across the world who are suffering from this disease. Singh said.

He added: This is a good start to a lengthy research phase, but it seems that we are on the right track and hopefully we will be able to make a significant contribution in eradicating not only MS but a host of untreatable diseases existing today.

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India's Advancells Reports Successful Reversal of MS in Single Patient Using Stem Cell Therapy - Multiple Sclerosis News Today

Bone Marrow Drive To Benefit Paula Fitzgerald Silvia On Sunday, September 17th – Newport Buzz

Bone Marrow Donors Needed

Paula (Fitzgerald) Silvia of Middletown has been diagnosed with myeloid dysplasia syndrome (MDS), a form of blood cancer where the bone marrow cells do not mature into healthy blood cells. Paula received this devastating news at the end of June. Nothing seemed particularly out of sorts; she was travelling with her family, working, going to the beach and doing all her volunteer activities. Only indications were catching more colds and a little tired but Paulas life was always busy and she does so much for everyone, she should be tired.

Paula has started her first round of chemotherapy. Every four weeks, she has five consecutive days of chemotherapy infusion. However, it is only a temporary treatment. A bone marrow transplant is needed to cure the disease.

A bone marrow registration drive is being held on Sunday, September 17 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at Fenner Hall, 15 Fenner Ave, Newport, for this purpose. It is being organized by her family and friends and is in conjunction with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and, a national bone marrow donor registry.

The first source for bone marrow matches is a sibling or child, if they fall in the age range, but Paulas family members were not a match. More than 35,000 people in the United States are diagnosed each year with leukemia, anemias, myelodysplastic disorders and other life-threatening diseases requiring treatment with a blood stem cell or bone marrow transplant. About 70 percent of bone marrow transplant recipients must rely on an unrelated donor. Finding a compatible donor is a challenge. The opportunity to register and/or donate will help many patients in need..

Donors must be 18 to 44, and be willing to donate to any patient in need.To join the registry, potential donors must complete paperwork at the drive and have a cheek swab taken. If unable to attend, donors are asked to go towww.bethematch.orgto sign up, or visit any RI Blood Center.

Paula (Fitzgerald) grew up in Newport in the Fifth Ward, attending Newport schools, graduating from Rogers in 1968. Her father, Jim Fitzgerald, was the Dean of Boys at Thompson and football coach and her mother Meg also worked in the school system. She has an older sister, Maureen, and younger siblings, Nancy and Bill. Paula is an outstanding athlete, tennis and golf being her games of recent years. After graduating from college, Paula continued working at Salas until it closed and now works for private catering companies. TR McGrath and Kitchen Companion.

Paula is married to Manny P Silvia, a retired lieutenant in Middletown police department and retired supervisor in DCYF Protective Services. They have two children, Corrine and Greg.

Paula does an amazing amount of volunteering although never wanting any recognition for her efforts. She volunteers for many organizations such as the MLK Community Center, Relay for Life, the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Mosaic Club, AARP school programs, and Vasco deGama Society. Shes a communicant of St. Augustins Church.

The news of her diagnosis is a shock, but Paula continues with her active, involved life, giving it her best. She wants to send the message that everyone should be proactive about their health and always follow up on lab work. Paula is now awaiting a bone marrow transplant!

Any questions, please contact Nancy Fitzgerald,, 401-855-1985. To learn more please contact Dana-Farbers Bone Marrow Donor Program at866-875-3324, email or visit online

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Bone Marrow Drive To Benefit Paula Fitzgerald Silvia On Sunday, September 17th - Newport Buzz

Fil-Am LAPD officer still in need of bone marrow match –

Los Angeles Police Officer Matthew Medina. AJPRESS

LOS ANGELES Its been almost five months since Matthew Medina first learned about his rare blood disease and how his Filipino heritage is affecting his chances of being cured.

Earlier this year, the 40-year-old police officer was going about his normal duties as part of the Los Angeles Police Departments (LAPD) Harbor Division gang unit. By his side was his close friend, Dante Pagulayan, also an officer with the department.

The two have known each other since they were about 14 years old in high school and ended up going to Cal State Long Beach together, before eventually joining the LAPD. It was at the college, Pagulayan shared, where Medina met his wife Angelee with whom the latter now has two beautiful daughters.

Matt is one of the funniest guys I know, Pagulayan said about his friend during a recent interview with the Asian Journal. If you want to have a good time, hes going to be your guy.

Currently, Medina remains in quarantine after having been diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare disease that claims 600-900 people in the United States each year, according to the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation (AA/MDS). The fact that hes Filipino presents a larger challenge.

Finding a donor

Aplastic anemia, or bone marrow failure, is a blood disease in which bone marrow fails to make enough blood cells for the body.

According to AA/MDS, it can affect anyone regardless of race or gender but is diagnosed more often in children, young adults, and older adults. It also appears more often in Asian Americans.

For Medina, the disease seemed to come out of nowhere. Matt was a very precautious guy, said Pagulayan about Medinas health habits. He always took care of himself, took vitamins, went to the doctor He was that kind of guy.

Radiation and chemotherapy, toxic chemical exposure, use of certain drugs, and autoimmune disorders are some factors known to injure bone marrow, thus affecting blood cell reproduction. But for the most part, theres no telling what causes aplastic anemia.

Getting a bone marrow transplant is the only cure for aplastic anemia. However, finding a match is a major obstacle that those diagnosed are forced to face.

In order for a transplant to be successful, both the donor and beneficiary need to share eight human leukocyte antigens (HLA), or cell markers. This explains why more chances of success happen between a donor and receiver of the same ethnic background.

Chances of recovery

For Medina and many others, chances of recovery are greatly reduced simply due to the number of minority-group members registered to be potential bone marrow matches.

Out of the 12 million people registered, only 0.5 percent were Filipino, said Pagulayan. It was quite a surprise.

As of 2016, the number of Asians recorded in Be The Matchs registry made up only six percent of the total registered, shared Ayumi Nagata, Recruitment Manager of Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M).

The lowest percentage came from those who identified as Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander their percentage hovered at 0.1 percent. The largest group at 57 percent with 7.8 million comprise of those who are white.

While transplants between family members have worked, its rarely the case, according to Mixed Marrow, a foundation dedicated to increasing bone marrow and blood cell donors for patients of multi-ethnic descent. Finding a match within the family is only successful 30 percent of the time, leaving 70 percent searching elsewhere.

Nagata has encountered a number of cultural and religious reasons that explain the low number of Asian registrants, but the lack of familiarity and awareness remain the biggest culprits.

Organizations like Mixed Marrow and A3M are working together to disprove these misconceptions by focusing on increasing awareness through outreach within cultural contexts.

One common misconception is that donating marrow is painful. Nagata informed that most procedures are done through nonsurgical Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) donations where cells are collected through the blood rather than the bone itself.

Umbilical cord blood is another source, and Be The Match lists a number of hospitals that collect the blood for a public cord blood bank.

Hope for Medina

There are now currently 1,270 ethnically diverse, and 101 Caucasian registrants through Medinas campaign, reported Nagata. With the help of Medinas support group and community, theres hope that the numbers can increase.

Since the start of Medinas match campaign, two others in need of bone marrow transplants were able to find a match.

On June 25, Medina personally posted on his Match4Matt Facebook campaign page, Even if they never find a match for me, I can say that this campaign has been a success since it has already helped save the lives of at least two people (so far).

For Medina, the search continues but he remains optimistic. On his Facebook post, he reported that his blood cell counts have increased and he hopes that the upward trend continues toward remission. I am not out of the woods yet, he added. There is still a long road to recovery ahead, but the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is definitely getting brighter.

But as Pagulayan said, the only way to really revert it is through a bone marrow transplant. Medinas condition can change just as quick as how he found out he had the disease.

To those thinking about registering to be a match, Pagulayan said to think of a loved one and what would happen if you woke up and found out they had the disease.

To join a registry, anyone up to 60 years old can sign up, but donors between ages 18-44 are preferred. There are also medical conditions that may make someone ineligible. The process itself takes less than five minutes, according to Nagata. As Pagulayan put it, It takes less time to swab your cheeks than it takes to fill out the paperwork.

More information on registering can be found on Be the Matchs website. To join Medinas registry, visit

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Test results after stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma can confuse patients and doctors about – Medical Xpress

Dr. Gurmukh Singh, vice chair of clinical affairs for the Department of Pathology and Walter L. Shepeard Chair in Clinical Pathology at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Credit: Phil Jones

It's a cancer of the plasma cells, which normally make an array of antibodies that protect us from infection.

With multiple myeloma, the cells start primarily producing instead a singular product, called a monoclonal antibody, or M spike, that leaves patients vulnerable for serious infections, like pneumonia, and can even eat away at their bones.

Sophisticated laboratory tests used to both diagnose the disease then follow treatment response, can send confusing messages to patients and their physicians, particularly after stem cell therapy to try to restore a healthy antibody mix, says Dr. Gurmukh Singh. Singh, vice chair of clinical affairs for the Department of Pathology and Walter L. Shepeard Chair in Clinical Pathology at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, is corresponding author of the study highlighting reasons for potential confusion in the Journal of Clinical Medicine Research.

The tests, serum protein electrophoresis and serum immunofixation electrophoresis, or SPEP/SIFE, and serum free light chain assay, or SFLCA, separate proteins into groups according to their electrical charge.

The M spike stands out as a distinctive, dense band of color among the layers of protein groups, while typical antibody levels create bands of lighter smears.

But after stem cell therapy, which first destroys cancerous plasma cells then restores healthy ones, follow up profiles often yield a lineup of antibodiescalled an oligoclonal patternthat can look eerily similar to the M spike.

The confusion comes because there again may be a prominent and likely short-lived band of proteins that emerges as the antibody mix begins, ideally, to normalize.

"We want to emphasize that oligoclonal bands should mostly be recognized as a response to treatment and not be mistaken as a recurrence of the original tumor," Singh says.

The key clarifier appears to be the location of the malignant, monoclonal spike when the diagnosis is made compared to the location of new spikes that may show up after stem cell therapy in these oligoclonal bands, says Singh.

"If the original peak was at location A, now the peak is location B, that allows us to determine that it is not the same abnormal, malignant antibody," Singh says, pointing toward different before and after treatment profiles on a patient.

Normally antibodies spread out in a usual sequence in these studies. "If it's in a different location, it's not the same protein," reiterates Singh. "If the location is different, this is just a normal response of recovery of the bone marrow that could be mistaken for recurrence of the disease," Singh says of the oligoclonal bands that can also temporarily show up in response to an infection.

He notes while the prominent bands are typically short-lived following treatment, the recognition that they are non-malignant may occur only in retrospect.

For the study, Singh and his team looked at lab and clinical data on 251 patients with multiple myeloma treated from January 2010 to December 2016; 159 of those patients received autologous stem cell transplants. Each patient had at least three tests, and at least two of the tests were following their transplant.

They found the incidence of oligoclonal patterns was significantly higher in patients who had a stem cell transplant than the patients who had chemotherapy alone: 57.9 percent compared to 8.8 percent. Only five of the 159 patients who received a transplant had an oligoclonal pattern before treatment but 92 had one afterward. More than half of the the oligoconal patterns developed within the first year following a transplant. The earliest pattern was detected at two months - as soon as the first post-transplant tests were doneand a few occurred as long as five years later.

Autologous stem cell therapy is not considered curative for most patients with multiple myeloma. There is no clear cause of the disease but the risk does increase at age 40, Singh says.

Explore further: Excessive tests don't benefit patient, do increase cost in age-related immune disorder

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Test results after stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma can confuse patients and doctors about - Medical Xpress

‘Origami Organs’ Can Potentially Regenerate Tissues – Technology Networks

Northwestern Medicine scientists and engineers have invented a range of bioactive tissue papers made of materials derived from organs that are thin and flexible enough to even fold into an origami bird. The new biomaterials can potentially be used to support natural hormone production in young cancer patients and aid wound healing.

The tissue papers are made from structural proteins excreted by cells that give organs their form and structure. The proteins are combined with a polymer to make the material pliable.

In the study, individual types of tissue papers were made from ovarian, uterine, kidney, liver, muscle or heart proteins obtained by processing pig and cow organs. Each tissue paper had specific cellular properties of the organ from which it was made.

This new class of biomaterials has potential for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine as well as drug discovery and therapeutics, corresponding author Ramille Shah said. Its versatile and surgically friendly.

Shah is an assistant professor of surgery at the Feinberg School of Medicine and an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at McCormick School of Engineering. She also is a member of the Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology.

For wound healing, Shah thinks the tissue paper could provide support and the cell signaling needed to help regenerate tissue to prevent scarring and accelerate healing.

The tissue papers are made from natural organs or tissues. The cells are removed, leaving the natural structural proteins known as the extracellular matrix that then are dried into a powder and processed into the tissue papers. Each type of paper contains residual biochemicals and protein architecture from its original organ that can stimulate cells to behave in a certain way.

In the lab of reproductive scientist Teresa Woodruff, the tissue paper made from a bovine ovary was used to grow ovarian follicles when they were cultured in vitro. The follicles (eggs and hormone-producing cells) grown on the tissue paper produced hormones necessary for proper function and maturation.

This could provide another option to restore normal hormone function to young cancer patients who often lose their hormone function as a result of chemotherapy and radiation, Woodruff, a study coauthor, said.

A strip of the ovarian paper with the follicles could be implanted under the arm to restore hormone production for cancer patients or even women in menopause.

Woodruff is the director of the Oncofertility Consortium and the Thomas J. Watkins Memorial Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Feinberg.

In addition, the tissue paper made from various organs separately supported the growth of adult human stem cells. Scientists placed human bone marrow stem cells on the tissue paper, and all the stem cells attached and multiplied over four weeks.

"Thats a good sign that the paper supports human stem cell growth, said first author Adam Jakus, who developed the tissue papers. Its an indicator that once we start using tissue paper in animal models it will be biocompatible.

The tissue papers feel and behave much like standard office paper when they are dry, Jakus said. Jakus simply stacks them in a refrigerator or a freezer. He even playfully folded them into an origami bird.

Even when wet, the tissue papers maintain their mechanical properties and can be rolled, folded, cut and sutured to tissue, he said.

Jakus was a Hartwell postdoctoral fellow in Shahs lab for the study and is now chief technology officer and cofounder of the startup company Dimension Inx, LLC, which was also cofounded by Shah. The company will develop, produce and sell 3-D printable materials primarily for medical applications. The Intellectual Property is owned by Northwestern University and will be licensed to Dimension Inx.

An Accidental Spill Sparked Invention

An accidental spill of 3-D printing ink in Shahs lab by Jakus sparked the invention of the tissue paper. Jakus was attempting to make a 3-D printable ovary ink similar to the other 3-D printable materials he previously developed to repair and regenerate bone, muscle and nerve tissue. When he went to wipe up the spill, the ovary ink had already formed a dry sheet.

When I tried to pick it up, it felt strong, Jakus said. I knew right then I could make large amounts of bioactive materials from other organs. The light bulb went on in my head. I could do this with other organs.

It is really amazing that meat and animal by-products like a kidney, liver, heart and uterus can be transformed into paper-like biomaterials that can potentially regenerate and restore function to tissues and organs, Jakus said. Ill never look at a steak or pork tenderloin the same way again.

Monica Laronda, who was a postdoctoral fellow in Woodruffs lab during the study, also is a coauthor. She is now an assistant professor of pediatrics at Feinberg and a researcher at the Stanley Manne Childrens Research Institute, Ann & Robert H Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Laronda and Woodruff also are members of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

The research was supported by grant P50 HD076188-02 from the Center for Reproductive Health After Disease of the National Centers for Translational Research in Reproduction and Infertility, Google and the Hartwell Foundation.

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


Jakus, A. E., Laronda, M. M., Rashedi, A. S., Robinson, C. M., Lee, C., Jordan, S. W., . . . Shah, R. N. (2017). Tissue Papers from Organ-Specific Decellularized Extracellular Matrices. Advanced Functional Materials, 1700992. doi:10.1002/adfm.201700992

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'Origami Organs' Can Potentially Regenerate Tissues - Technology Networks

Compensating Bone Marrow Donors Will Close the Supply Gap and Save Lives. – Niskanen Center (press release) (blog)

August 8, 2017 by Samuel Hammond

The Wall Street Journal editorial board reported yesterday that the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) regulation which sought to ban compensation for blood-forming stem cell donors has been defeated. This represents a small but significant victory for advocates of compensating organ donors a practice that remains outlawed by the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA).

The crux of HRSAs rulemaking was a move to redefine blood-forming stem cells drawn from the bloodstream as an organ, no different from the bone marrow found within the bone, and thus under NOTAs purview. Our friends at the Institute for Justice (IJ) rightly argued for years that such a move was nonsensical and illegal. Blood and plasma are explicitly exempt from NOTAs ban on donor compensation, and as such donations of some subpart of the blood, including stem cells, should also be exempt.

The battle to kill the then-pending regulation heated up late last year, as HRSA neared its deadline to finalize the rule. The Niskanen Center formally joined IJs efforts in November, when we released a report called Bone Marrow Mismatch: How compensating bone marrow donors can end the transplant shortage and save lives. The report highlighted the enormous gap between bone marrow demand and supply under the current regime of voluntary donation, and argued against the applicability of the core ethical concerns advanced by HRSA. Our research and Hill event on the issue culminated in a listening session with HRSA officials, in which we argued that the social cost of enacting the rule was well in excess of $100 million, and thus worthy of delay for a deeper cost-benefit appraisal.

Its unclear what happened next. HRSAs hard December 18 deadline came and went, with a final rule that appeared to have been written but not formally submitted to the Federal Register. Perhaps it was the incoming administration, or the threat of litigation should the rule go through, or our research which provided a clear rationale for postponement. Regardless, the rule entered a strange purgatory, which is where it stayed until HHS formally withdrew the rule last week.

The Niskanen Center has received communications from a federal employee who believes our research was to some degree responsible for the rules ultimate repeal. That said, my research was simply part of a multi-pronged and multi-year effort to oppose the rule, led early on byIJ, the entrepreneur Doug Grant, the economist Mario Macis, and Peter Jaworski, the business ethicist and creator of

The view of the Niskanen Center is that economic rights include the right to receive compensation for organ donations. NOTA therefore deserves a much deeper legal challenge. But in the meantime, lets celebrate the defeat of this regulation as a clear example of what it means to make small steps toward a better world.

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Compensating Bone Marrow Donors Will Close the Supply Gap and Save Lives. - Niskanen Center (press release) (blog)

VistaGen Therapeutics (VTGN) Receives Notice of Allowance For Methods for Producing Blood Cells, Platelets and … –

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VistaGen Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: VTGN), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new generation medicines for depression and other central nervous system (CNS) disorders, announced today that the Company has received a Notice of Allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for U.S. Patent Application No. 14/359,517 regarding proprietary methods for producing hematopoietic precursor stem cells, which are stem cells that give rise to all of the blood cells and most of the bone marrow cells in the body, with potential to impact both direct and supportive therapy for autoimmune disorders and cancer.

The breakthrough technology covered by the allowed U.S. patent was discovered and developed by distinguished stem cell researcher, Dr. Gordon Keller, Director of the UHN's McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Toronto, one of the world's leading centers for stem cell and regenerative medicine research and part of the University Health Network (UHN), Canada's largest research hospital. Dr. Keller is a co-founder of VistaGen and a member of the Company's Scientific Advisory Board. VistaGen holds an exclusive worldwide license from UHN to the stem cell technology covered by the allowed U.S. patent.

"We are pleased to report that the USPTO has allowed another important U.S. patent relating to our stem cell technology platform, stated Shawn Singh, Chief Executive Officer of VistaGen. "Because the technology under this allowed patent involves the stem cells from which all blood cells are derived, it has the potential to reach the lives of millions battling a broad range of life-threatening medical conditions, including cancer, with CAR-T cell applications and foundational technology we believe ultimately will provide approaches for producing bone marrow stem cells for bone marrow transfusions. As we continue to expand the patent portfolio of VistaStem Therapeutics, our stem cell technology-focused subsidiary, we enhance our potential opportunities for additional regenerative medicine transactions similar to our December 2016 sublicense of cardiac stem cell technology to BlueRock Therapeutics, while focusing VistaStem's internal efforts on using stem cell technology for cost-efficient small molecule drug rescue to expand our drug development pipeline."

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Scientists Are Making Actual Origami Out of Body Organ Tissue – ScienceAlert

Everybody likes playing with origami and making little paper animals, but researchers in the US have taken their hobby to a freaky new level.

Scientists have developed a way of making a kind of bioactive "tissue paper" from real body organs, which is thin and flexible enough to fold into origami animals like the charming crane you see above which was probably once a kidney, liver, or perhaps a heart.

While it definitely sounds a bit (okay, a lot) on the gross side, this organ origami isn't quite as gruesome as it sounds. For starters, the team from Northwestern University aren't sourcing their tissue paper from human organs at least, not that we know of.

Instead, the researchers are picking up unwanted pig and cow offal from a local butcher, and putting those discarded off-cuts to good use because this flexible paper-like material could one day be used to heal wounds, or to help supplement hormone production in cancer patients.

Northwestern University

"This new class of biomaterials has potential for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine as well as drug discovery and therapeutics," says one of the team, materials scientist Ramille Shah.

"It's versatile and surgically friendly."

The team stumbled upon the idea for making organ-based paper after a lucky accident during their research on 3D-printed mice ovaries.

A chance spill of the hydrogel-based gelatin ink used to make the ovaries ended up pooling into a dry sheet in the bench lab, and from one strange innovation, another was born.

"When I tried to pick it up, it felt strong," says one of the researchers, Adam Jakus.

"I knew right then I could make large amounts of bioactive materials from other organs. The light bulb went on in my head. I could do this with other organs."

Turning to pig and cow organs, the researchers extracted structural proteins called the extracellular matrix from animal ovaries, uteruses, kidneys, livers, muscles, and hearts.

These proteins, which help to give organs their form, were dried and then combined with a polymer to process them into their new paper-like structure.

In other words, it's a bit like papier-mch with a touch of H. P. Lovecraft thrown in, but what's important is that the paper retains residual biochemicals from its protein-based origins, holding on to cellular properties from the specific organ it comes from.

During tests in the lab, the team was able to grow functional, hormone-secreting ovarian follicles in culture using tissue paper sourced from a cow ovary.

It might only be a lab test using animal organs, but if the same idea could be replicated with human hormone-producing tissue paper implanted under patients' skin, it could be a big step towards treating cancer patients and hormone deficiency generally.

"This could provide another option to restore normal hormone function to young cancer patients who often lose their hormone function as a result of chemotherapy and radiation," explains one of the researchers, Teresa Woodruff.

What could make the tissue paper so easy to apply for medical purposes is its malleability. It feels and folds much like ordinary paper, and can even be frozen for later use.

"Even when wet, the tissue papers maintain their mechanical properties and can be rolled, folded, cut and sutured to tissue," says Jakus.

In addition to hormone treatment applications, the team says the pliable material could augment tissue when wounds are healing, which might be able to speed up recoveries, or prevent scarring from injuries.

Of course, before we even get close to sticking origami organs inside human patients, the next step will be looking into how the paper works in animal models.

But initial signs look promising. When the team put human bone marrow stem cells on the tissue paper, all the stem cells attached and multiplied.

"That's a good sign that the paper supports human stem cell growth," says Jakus.

"It's an indicator that once we start using tissue paper in animal models it will be biocompatible."

To be clear, there's still a lot more research to be done here before we know how viable organ paper really is, but we'll never know unless we try.

And in the meantime, at least one thing's for sure.

"It is really amazing that meat and animal by-products like a kidney, liver, heart and uterus can be transformed into paper-like biomaterials that can potentially regenerate and restore function to tissues and organs," says Jakus.

"I'll never look at a steak or pork tenderloin the same way again."

The findings are reported in Advanced Functional Materials.

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Scientists Are Making Actual Origami Out of Body Organ Tissue - ScienceAlert

Daughter leads full life thanks to stem cell therapy – Independent Online

Just 21 years ago, Erna West faced every parents worst nightmare. Her then 9-year-old daughter Gizelle was diagnosed with the life-threatening and limiting disease Fanconi anaemia. The hereditary and rare disease leads to bone marrow failure, meaning an inability to produce blood cells.

The one thing I still remember is us driving in our car and my daughter asking me, Mommy, am I going to die? West recounted.

Now an ardent advocate for stem cell therapy and storage, West, a product specialist for CryoSave, credits stem cells with saving her daughters life.

Her daughter needed a bone marrow transplant, which involved the transplanting of stem cells.

She found she was an exact donor match for her daughters bone marrow transplant - a one-in-a-million occurrence.

When youre faced with a situation such as that as a parent, you want and are willing to do anything to save your childs life I just want parents to understand what stem cells can do.

Fast forward 21 years and stem cells are revolutionising health care and through modern technology, parents can store their newborn babys umbilical cord stem cells in case of any future illnesses or health care needs.

Stem cells are present in the human body throughout life, constantly repairing tissue damaged by normal activity, the environment and other extraneous factors. They can replicate or regenerate themselves and have the ability to differentiate into any kind of specialised cell in the body.

Africa is the only continent without a public stem cell bank - private stem cell storage banks are in increasing demand as research and medical innovation has shown that many blood cancers, blood disorders, autoimmune diseases and immunodeficiencies are treatable with cord blood.

Umbilical cord blood and stem cell banking is still a relatively novel concept in South Africa.

However, new parents are increasingly opting to have their newborn babies stem cells extracted from their umbilical cords.

According to CryoSave - which stores 7 800 client stem cell samples - the process is simpler and quicker than one might expect.

Once the baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut as per normal in any birth. It is only after this that the blood and tissue are collected from the cord - which is usually discarded as medical waste after the birth.

A babys umbilical cord stem cells are a 100% perfect match and biological parents stem cells will be at least a half-match.

There is a 25% probability of matching siblings and, unlike bone marrow transplants, one doesnt have to have a perfect match in transplants when making use of cord blood stem cells.

Today, umbilical cord blood stem cells are used in more than one-third of all blood stem cell transplants in the world.

Explaining the process behind the storage of umbilical cord cells at their labs, Christiene Botha, a lab quality manager said: The blood we receive goes through a rigorous sterilising, processing and freezing process.

The samples are then stored in liquid nitrogen tanks at a temperature of -196C.

But time is of the essence in this process.

The umbilical cord blood sample needs to reach the lab within 48 hours - and the cut off is at 64 hours - as blood cells start dying after 72 hours.

Depending on what product one uses to store the cells, storage rates can be from R250 to R300 a month.

The fact that we dont have a public national bank puts us at a disadvantage because it is the ideal. So there arent many choices for parents out there - but families can look after themselves through this type of storage.

"My daughter is 30-years-old, is married and lives a full life because of stem cells, West concluded.

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Daughter leads full life thanks to stem cell therapy - Independent Online

uBiome Grant Will Enable UCSF Scientist to Explore ‘Spit Test’ to Predict Blood Infections in Young Bone Marrow … – Benzinga

UCSF scientist, Dr. Jeremy Horst, has received a grant from microbial genomics leader, uBiome, that will support an ambitious research project investigating the use of the oral microbiome as a predictive diagnostic for blood infections in pediatric bone marrow transplant patients.

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) August 08, 2017

uBiome, the leader in microbial genomics, has issued its latest Microbiome Impact Grant award to pediatric dentist and scientist Dr. Jeremy Horst of UCSF School of Medicine, who, along with colleagues in the UCSF Children's Oral Health Research Center, is carrying out research into the use of the oral microbiome as a non-invasive way of predicting and preventing blood infections in immunocompromised young bone marrow transplant patients.

Bone marrow transplants are used in order to replace damaged or diseased cells with non-cancerous stem cells that can, in turn, grow new, healthy cells. These transplants tend to be used when treatments for cancer have destroyed the bone marrow's normal stem cells. Bone marrow, which is found at the core of bones, is where the body manufactures blood cells.

Bone marrow transplants can be either allogeneic or autologous. Allogeneic transplants occur when bone marrow is received from a donor. In autologous transplants, the patient's own bone marrow is used, after being collected, frozen, and stored until it is needed following chemotherapy, for example.

Blood infections pose a considerable risk during bone marrow transplants, so being able to predict and prevent them is critical. Dr. Horst's study aims to explore the use of the oral microbiome as a predictive diagnostic for blood infections in pediatric patients who are immunocompromised, a common phenomenon during transplant procedures. Having a weakened immune system, technically known as immunodeficiency, is a state in which the immune system's ability to fight infectious disease and cancer is either compromised or entirely absent.

The potential to use the oral microbiome as a marker for the blood microbiome would offer considerable benefits, particularly because of its non-invasive nature.

Dr. Horst is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Biochemistry and Biophysics Department at UCSF School of Medicine, specializing in Biochemistry and Infectious Diseases. He received his PhD for studies in Oral and Computational Biology at the University of Washington, after also first gaining his DDS there. This was followed by a residency in Pediatric Dentistry at UCSF. Dr. Horst began his academic studies at UCSD, where he was awarded his BS in Pharmacological Chemistry, a BA in Psychology, and a master's in Chemistry. He has contributed to 40 scientific papers.

The microbiome is the collective term for the ecosystem of trillions of microorganisms that live in and on the human body. Many play important parts in supporting life. For example, gut bacteria aid digestion and enable the synthesis of vitamins. Pathogenic bacteria, however, can be associated with a range of conditions. uBiome employs precision sequencing technology to generate detailed analyses of the human microbiome.

Dr. Jeremy Horst says: "To prepare young patients for bone marrow transplant, their immune systems are temporarily wiped out. Despite our extraordinarily cautious efforts, one third of these children at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital get blood infections, and oddly enough, one third of the infections come from bacteria in the dental plaque. We use traditional culture-based diagnostics to understand these infections once they happen, but the advanced technology offered by uBiome may enable us to detect harmful oral bacteria before they endanger the lives of these children - with just a bit saliva."

Dr. Zachary Apte, co-founder and CTO of uBiome, adds: "After collaborating with him in the past, we're familiar with Dr. Horst's work. We think his novel proposal to predict and prevent blood infections in young patients with weakened immune systems using something as simple as a saliva test is very exciting."

Founded in 2012, uBiome is the world's leading microbial genomics company. uBiome is funded by Y Combinator, Andreessen Horowitz, 8VC, and other leading investors.

uBiome's mission is to explore important research questions about the microbiome and to develop accurate and reliable clinical tests based on the microbiome.

Contact:Julie Taylorjulie(at)ubiome(dot)comPh: +1 (415) 212-9214

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uBiome Grant Will Enable UCSF Scientist to Explore 'Spit Test' to Predict Blood Infections in Young Bone Marrow ... - Benzinga

Trump Administration Withdraws Proposed Obama Ban on Compensation for Bone Marrow – Reason (blog)

Marrow Drives

The Office of Management and Budget has withdrawn a proposed rule banning compensation for hematopoietic stem cells. In other words, you can get paid when someone harvests stem cells from your bone marrow.

Bone marrow transplantation is used to treat a variety of ailments, including aplastic anemia, sickle cell anemia, bone marrow damage during chemotherapy, and blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. In 1984, Congress passed the National Organ and Transplant Act, which outlawed compensation to the donors of solid organs like kidneys and livers. Oddly, the act also defined renewable bone marrow as a solid organ.

Originally, hematopoietic stem cells were obtained from bone marrow obtained by inserting a needle into donors' hip bones. Researchers later developed a technique in which donors are treated with substance that overstimulates the production of hematopoietic stem cells, which then circulate in their bloodstreams. In a process similar to blood donation, the hematopoietic stem cells are then filtered from the donors' blood. The red blood cells and plasma are returned to the donors.

More Marrow Donors, a California-based nonprofit, wanted to set up a system to encourage hematopoietic stem cell donations with $3,000 awards, in the form of scholarships, housing allowances, or gifts to charity. The Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm, brought suit on their behalf, and in 2012 a federal appeals court sensibly ruled that the law's ban on compensation for solid organ donations did not apply to stem cells obtained from donors' bloodstreams. The Obama administration reacted by proposing a regulation defining stem cells obtained from blood as the equivalent of a solid organ.

Now the new administration has withdrawn the proposal.

"Banning compensation for donors would have eliminated the best incentive we havemoneyfor persuading strangers to work for each other," Jess Rowes, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, say in a press release. "Predictably, the ban on compensation for blood stem cell donors created chronic shortages and waiting lists. During the past four years, thousands of Americans needlessly died because compensation for bone marrow donors was unavailable."

The system of uncompensated donation is falling far short of meeting patient needs. As the Institute for Justice notes:

At any given time, more than 11,000 Americans are actively searching for a bone marrow donor. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, Caucasian potential donors are available and willing to donate about 51 percent of the time; Hispanic and Asian about 29 percent; and African-American about 23 percent. Caucasian patients can find a matching, available and willing donor about 75 percent of the time; Hispanic about 37 percent; Asian-American about 35 percent; and African-American patients only about 19 percent of the time. This demonstrates the huge gap between the need for compatible donors and the supply.

This is even more true in the case of solid organs from live and brain-dead donors. Right now there are more than 116,000 Americans waiting for a life-saving transplant organ. My colleagues and I at Reason have been arguing for decades in favor of compensating live donors for kidneys and pieces of their livers and the next-of-kin of brain-dead donors for other solid organs. If researchers and entrepreneurs succeed in boosting bone marrow donations by implementing various compensation schemes, perhaps that will prompt Congress to repeal its ill-conceived ban on compensation for organs donated for transplant.

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Trump Administration Withdraws Proposed Obama Ban on Compensation for Bone Marrow - Reason (blog)

‘Tissue Paper’ Organs Show Promise – R & D Magazine

A team from Northwestern University has developed a novel type of bioactive tissue that is thin and flexible enough to be folded into origami-like shapes and could be used in a variety of treatment programs.

The tissue paper was created from the structural proteins excreted by cells that give organs their form and structure, combined with a polymer to make the material pliable.

The researchers made the tissue papers from ovarian, uterine, kidney, liver, muscle and heart proteins that were obtained by processing pig and cow organs.

This new class of biomaterials has potential for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine as well as drug discovery and therapeutics, corresponding author Ramille Shah said in a statement. It's versatile and surgically friendly.

The cells are removed from the tissues, leaving the natural structural proteinsextracellular matrixthat are then dried into a powder and processed into the tissue papers.

Each paper has a type containing residual biochemical and protein architecture from its original organ that can stimulate cells to act in a certain way.

The researchers made tissue paper from a bovine ovary to grow ovarian follicleseggs and hormone producing cellscultured in vitro, which when grown on the tissue paper produced hormones necessary for proper function and maturation.

This could provide another option to restore normal hormone function to young cancer patients who often lose their hormone function as a result of chemotherapy and radiation, reproductive scientist Teresa Woodruff, a co-author on the study, said in a statement.

The ovarian paper with follicles could potentially be implanted under the arm to restore hormone production for cancer patients or women in menopause. Tissue paper made from other organs separately supported the growth of human adult stem cells when scientists placed human bone marrow stem cells on the tissue paper with all the stem cells attached and multiplied over the course of four weeks.

That's a good sign that the paper supports human stem cell growth, first author Adam Jakus, who developed the tissue papers, said in a statement. It's an indicator that once we start using tissue paper in animal models it will be biocompatible.

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'Tissue Paper' Organs Show Promise - R & D Magazine

Trust those cells to help cure cancer – The Hindu

Nalini Ambady, the first Indian-American woman to teach psychology at three major universities in the U.S., died in 2013 due to leukaemia when she was just 54.

For the medical fraternity in Kerala, her native place, it turned the spotlight on the lack of awareness of stem cell transplant, which could have saved her life.

Four years down the lane, doctors say the situation has changed only marginally, as many patients who require the treatment have not been able to do it because of high expenses, lack of matching donors, and lack of facilities at hospitals.

Doctors note that stem cell transplant is being proposed as an effective treatment for cancers such as leukaemia and lymphoma, and primary immune deficiency disorders. Stem cells do not develop normally in such patients and it affects the blood cells that they make.

By a transplant, the patient gets new stem cells that can make new and healthy blood cells. Earlier, stem cells were collected from the bone-marrow. Now, it is being collected from blood cells.

Neeraj Sidharthan, bone marrow transplant physician at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, told The Hindu that in Prof. Ambadys case, though matching donors were found, they had all dropped out.

Lack of awareness is still a major issue though there are some positive signs. In some cases, because of lack of infrastructure, cancer cases are not being diagnosed early, and treatment is delayed too, he said.

Ajith Kumar V.T., professor, department of paediatrics, Government Medical College, Manjeri, said donors could not be found often from the same families because of the nuclear family system. There are not many places where you can match the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing with donors. Another problem is the lack of stem cell registries in the State from where matching unrelated donors could be found. Even if doctors suggest a stem cell transplant, many families dont opt for it because of the high cost involved. If the donor is from the same family, the cost is relatively low.

But for unrelated donors, it is very high, Dr. Sidharthan said. The solution, Dr. Ajith Kumar said, was government intervention to set up HLA registries and bone marrow transplant centres. nestCare Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation based in the U.S., had recently approached us expressing interest to set up these facilities in the State. Talks are on, he said. Dr. Sidharthan said that in Tamil Nadu, there was a government scheme enabling poor patients to avail themselves of a financial assistance of Rs. 7 lakh for bone-marrow transplant. We need to have similar schemes here too, he added.

A.S. Jayanth

Lack of awareness is a major issue though there are positive signs. In some cases, because of lack of infrastructure, cancer cases are not being diagnosed early, and treatment is delayed too

Neeraj Sidharthan,

Bone marrow transplant expert

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Trust those cells to help cure cancer - The Hindu

Orphan Black Science Recap: One Fettered Slave – The Mary Sue

Welcome to ourOrphan Black science recaps, where Casey, a graduate student in genetics and developmental biology, and Nina, a professional science communicator, examine the science in each episode of OB and talk you through it in (mostly) easy-to-digest terms.

If you havent watched the latest episode of Orphan Black, be forewarned: there will be spoilers. There will also be crazy science.

Nina: The penultimate episode (can you believe that theres only one episode left?) of Orphan Black was all about Helena, who is about to deliver her babies.

Casey: Unfortunately, Helena has gotten herself captured by Coady and Westmorland, and their intentions are to further their personal research using Helenas babies. Of particular interest is the babies cord blood the blood from the placenta and umbilical cord that remains after birth and contains stem cells. It is becoming more and more common for people to save cord blood after they give birth due to the myriad uses these stem cells provide. Today there are almost 80 different diseases, varying from cancers to blood disorders, in which cord blood stem cells can be used as a cure.

Nina: Westmorland is ready and eager to perform a cesarean section to claim Helenas babies but Coady stops him. According to her, a cesarean section could have unpredictable epigenetic effects. The differences and benefits of c-sections versus vaginal births have long been studied for their impacts on health, and its been known that babies delivered via c-section tend to develop more immune diseases, asthma, and allergies. For one thing, babies born by c-section arent exposed to the microbes in their mothers vaginal tract, which can have impacts on how their immune functions and gut flora (digestive functions) develop.

For another: birth is a stressful experience, but that stress plays out differently depending on how the baby is born. Typically, a vaginal birth has a gradual build of stress as its pushed out, but a c-section creates a sudden shift from one environment to a new one. More than one study has remarked that these differences in stress experiences mark different patterns of methylation on their DNA. Methylation is a process that can change the activity of a DNA sequence and dictate whether a gene is expressed or not (as a rule, more methylation = repressed gene expression).Methylation is important for normal development and processes, but when it happens where it shouldnt (or doesnt happen where it should) it can cause problems.

We saw methylation mentioned once earlier this season, when Cosima was looking at Aishas medical files. She found that Aisha had low promoter methylation, which meant that a region of DNA that should have been turned off wasnt and was causing Aisha to develop tumours. One study that looked specifically at methylation of hematopoietic stem cells (the blood cell-producing stem cells found in bone marrow) in babies born vaginally versus babies born by c-section found major differences in methylation in genes linked to metabolism and immune function.

Westmorland doesnt so much care about these potential epigenetic impacts as long as they dont affect his would-be fountain of youth gene. For Coady, however, keeping these changes to a minimum is critical.

Casey: Of course, Coady doesnt want the cord blood for therapeutic uses. Getting her hands on these stem cells would provide her with a limitless source of clone genome for experimentation. While it may not be the exact genome as Project Leda, these stem cells are similar to cells obtained from Kira they contain enough of the clone genome to make them worthy of Neolutions interest.

Nina: Theres only one episode left. Lets hope Helena and her babies stay safe.

(image via BBCAmerica)

Like our science recaps? We wrote The Science of Orphan Blackthe official science companion for the show! Coming August 2017; available for pre-order now.

Casey Griffin is a graduate student in genetics and developmental biology. She obsesses over the blood-brain barrier, plays around with frog embryos, and nerds (and cries and screams) about Orphan Black. You can check out her OB Science Time Tumblr posts here.

Nina Nesseth is a professional science communicator, writer, and serial tea-drinker. Shes happiest when science-ing at people (yes, thats science as a verb). You can find her on Twitter @cestmabiologie.

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Orphan Black Science Recap: One Fettered Slave - The Mary Sue

The best way to fix broken bones might be with glass – BBC News

In 2002, Ian Thompson, a specialist in facial reconstruction at Kings College, London, received an urgent phone call. A patient in his late 20s had been struck by an out-of-control car mounting the pavement. The impact had sent him catapulting over the bonnet of the car, smashing his face and shattering the fragile orbital floor the tiny bone, no more than 1mm thick, which holds the eyeball in place in the skull.

Without the orbital floor, your eye moves backwards into the skull, almost as a defensive mechanism, Thompson explains. But this results in blurred vision and lack of focus. This patient had also lost the ability to perceive colour. His job involved rewiring aircraft and as he could no longer detect a red wire from a blue one, hed barely been able to work in three years.

The accident had happened three years earlier. Since then, surgeons had desperately tried to reconstruct the bony floor and push the eye back into position, first using material implants and then bone from the patients own rib. Both attempts had failed. Each time, infection set in after a few months, causing extreme pain. And now the doctors were out of ideas.

You might also like: How ancient skeletons are helping modern medicine The viruses that may save your life I was blind now I have bionic eyes

Thompsons answer was to build the worlds first glass implant, moulded as a plate which slotted in under the patients eye into the collapsed orbital floor. The idea of using glass a naturally brittle material to repair something so delicate may seem counterintuitive.

But this was no ordinary glass.

If you placed a piece of window glass in the human body, it would be sealed off by scar tissue, basically wobble around in the body for a while and then get pushed out, says Julian Jones, an expert in bioglass at Imperial College London. When you put bioglass in the body, it starts to dissolve and releases ions which kind of talk to the immune system and tell the cells what to do. This means the body doesnt recognise it as foreign, and so it bonds to bone and soft tissue, creating a good feel and stimulating the production of new bone.

Bioglass actually works even better than the patients own bone Ian Thompson

For Thompson, the results were immediate. Almost instantaneously, the patient regained full vision, colour and depth perception. Fifteen years on, he remains in full health.

Thompson has gone on to use bioglass plates to successfully treat more than 100 patients involved in car or motorcycle accidents. Bioglass actually works even better than the patients own bone, Thompson says. This is because weve found that it slowly leaches sodium ions as it dissolves, killing off bacteria in the local environment. So, quite by chance, you have this mild antibiotic effect which eliminates infections.

Cutting edge

Bioglass was invented by US scientist Larry Hench in 1969. Hench was inspired by a chance conversation on a bus with an army colonel who recently had returned from the Vietnam War. The colonel told Hench that while modern medical technology could save lives on the battlefield, it could not save limbs. Hench decided to shelve his research into intercontinental ballistic missiles and instead work on designing a bionic material which would not be rejected by the human body.

Hench ultimately took his research to London, and it has been in Britain where some of the most revolutionary bioglass innovations are being made in fields from orthopaedic surgery to dentistry.

Over the last 10 years, surgeons have used bioglass in a powdered form, which looks and feels like a gritty putty, to repair bone defects arising from small fractures. Since 2010, this same bioglass putty has hit the high street as the key component in Sensodynes Repair and Protect toothpaste, the biggest global use of any bioactive material. During the brushing process, the bioglass dissolves and releases calcium phosphate ions which bond to tooth mineral. Over time, they slowly stimulate regrowth.

But many scientists feel that the current applications of bioglass are barely scratching the surface of what could be possible. New clinical products are being developed which could revolutionise bone and joint surgery like never before.

Sitting in his office in Imperial Colleges Department of Materials, Jones is holding a small, cube-shaped object hes dubbed bouncy bioglass. Its similar to the current bioglass but with a slight twist: subtle alterations in the chemical composition mean its no longer brittle. Instead it bounces,like a kids power ball as Jones describes it, and its incredibly flexible.

The point of this is that it can be inserted into a badly broken leg and can support both the patients weight and allow them to walk on it without crutches, without requiring any additional metal pins or implants for support. At the same time, the bouncy bioglass also will stimulate and guide bone regrowth while slowly, naturally assimilating into the body.

To regenerate large pieces of bone, for example in a really big fracture, its very important to be able to put weight on your leg, Jones says. And its really important that the bio-implant in your leg is able to transmit the force from your weight to the bone cells, like a signal. Our body makes its own bone in the architecture that its in, because the cells feel the mechanical environment. So to grow back a big piece of bone you need to be able to transmit the right signals to them. The reason why astronauts in space lose bone mass is because without gravity, the cells arent receiving the same information as they do on Earth.

Further alterations to the chemical makeup of bioglass produce a different form which is much softer and has an almost rubbery feel. It feels almost like a piece of squid at a seafood restaurant. This bioglass is designed for possibly the holy grail of orthopaedic surgery: cartilage repair.

Right now, surgeons attempt to repair damaged cartilage in arthritic hips or damaged knee joints with a fiddly procedure called microfracture. This involves smoothing over the damaged area to expose the bone underneath, then pricking it to release stem cells from the bone marrow which stimulate repair. But this results in scar cartilage and within a few years, as many athletes have found, the original problem returns.

As a solution, Jones is looking to produce bioglass which can be 3D-printed and then slotted into any hole in the cartilage. For the cells to accept it, the material must retain all the natural properties of cartilage. To test its effectiveness, Jones uses a simulator that has human knee joints from cadavers donated for medical research.

We simulate the walking action, bending, all the things a knee would do, and make sure that the bioglass actually preserves the rest of the joint and behaves as it should do, he says. If that works then well proceed to animal and then clinical trials.

This same bioglass could find an additional use in aiding people with chronic back pain due to herniated discs. At the moment surgeons treat this by replacing the dysfunctional disc with a bone graft which fuses the vertebrae in the back together. But while this takes away the pain, it results in a considerable loss in mobility. Instead, a bioglass implant could be printed and simply inserted to replace the faulty disc.

It seems the obvious thing to do, Jones says. So far nobody has been able to replicate the mechanical properties of cartilage synthetically. But with bioglass, we think we can do it.

Weve just got to prove that we can. If all goes well and we pass all the necessary safety tests, it could reach the clinic in 10 years.

Using man-made materials which can fuse to the body may seem far-fetched but it is appearing to be a more and more likely component of future medicine. Already, millions of people brush their teeth with it. And that may just be the start.

This story is a part of BBC Britain a series focused on exploring this extraordinary island, one story at a time. Readers outside of the UK can see every BBC Britain story by heading to theBritain homepage; you also can see our latest stories by following us onFacebookandTwitter.

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Cancer survivor meets bone marrow donor days before wedding – WBNG-TV

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- Thursday, a cancer survivor met her bone marrow donor for the first time, just days before her wedding.

"They told me that without a transplant I really only had about six months to a year," said Vivian Nolan, a bone marrow transplant recipient.

In 2008, Vivian Nolan was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called multiple myeloma. Later on, she was diagnosed with leukemia.

Doctors tried a bone marrow transplant with her own stem cells. When that didn't work, they said she needed a donor.

"The only cure or chance of holding it off at all is a bone marrow transplant," Nolan said.

Lucky for Nolan, doctors found a match.

A stranger volunteered to save her life. Scott Durbin is Nolan's donor. He lives in Kentucky, over 850 miles away.

Thursday, Durbin and Nolan met for the first time.

Nolan is getting married on Saturday.Durbin and his family flew in to support her in her next phase of life, a life that she wouldn't have without him.

"This is the man who gave me my life back. So I'm really happy," Nolan said.

For Durbin, the decision to help someone in need was second nature.

"I signed up. 7 months later I got that phone call saying they was gonna fly me to Atlanta," bone marrow donor Scott Durbinsaid.

Nolan was still in shock that someone would do something so kind for a person he had never met.

"I just couldn't believe that there was someone out there that I never knew that would go through that for me," she said.

After the transplant, Nolan wanted to meet the man who now is a part of her.

Today, she was able to introduce her family to its newest member.

"Now I've got this whole new life and he's got this whole big new family."

For Durbin, it's a choice he'd make over and over.

"I would do it again to give you a second chance," Durbin said.

Nolan remains forever grateful for that second chance.

Since her bone marrow transplant, Nolan's leukemia is virtually gone. She says she feels great, and can't wait for her new lease on life.

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John Theurer Cancer Center and MedStar Georgetown University … – Business Wire (press release)

WASHINGTON & HACKENSACK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. in collaboration with John Theurer Cancer Center, part ofHackensack Meridian Health, Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J., announce the 100th blood stem cell transplant performed since the BMT programs first patient was treated in September, 2013.

The patient, a woman from Arlington, Virginia, received her blood stem cell transplant at MedStar Georgetown as a treatment for multiple myeloma diagnosed in December 2016.

The BMT program at MedStar Georgetown is a joint effort with specialists from Hackensack John Theurer Cancer Center and a key component of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only cancer program in the Washington, D.C. region designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a comprehensive cancer center.

Once considered experimental, BMT is todays established gold standard for treating patients with a number of malignant and other non-malignant diseases of the immune system, blood, and bone marrow, including multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and acute and chronic leukemia. For some conditions, blood stem cell transplant can provide a cure in patients who have failed conventional therapies, says Scott Rowley, MD, chief of the BMT program at MedStar Georgetown as well as a member of the John Theurer Cancer Centers Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplantation. For some conditions, it can actually be a cure; for others, it prolongs survival and improves quality of life. Having performed 100 BMTs at MedStar Georgetown including allogenic transplantation illustrates the strength and maturity of our program achieved in rather short time.

MedStar Georgetowns program is also the only comprehensive BMT center within Washington, D.C. and southern Maryland with accreditation from the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) for adult autologous procedures, where the patient donates his or her own cells.

The BMT program at JTCC is one of the top 10 transplant programs in the United States, with more than 400 transplants performed annually.

A BMT involves a two-step process: first, collecting bone marrow stem cells from the patient and storing them for future use. Then, a week or so later, patients receive high dose chemotherapy to eliminate their disease. The previously stored cells are reinfused back into the bloodstream, where after reaching the bone marrow, they begin repopulating and allow the patient to recover their blood counts over the following 2 weeks.

Even though BMT is considered standard therapy for myeloma worldwide, in the United States fewer than 50 percent of the patients who could benefit from BMT are referred for evaluation, says David H. Vesole, MD, PhD, Co- Chief and Director of Research of John Theurer Cancer Centers Multiple Myeloma division and director of MedStar Georgetowns Multiple Myeloma Program.

Thats mostly due to physicians concerns that a patient is too old or compromised from other health conditions like diabetes, cardiac disease or renal failure. But new techniques and better supportive care have improved both patient outcomes and the entire transplant process, extending BMT to more patients than ever before.

The MedStar Georgetown/Georgetown Lombardi Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant Program is part of a collaborative cancer research agenda and multi-year plan to form an NCI-recognized cancer consortium. This recognition would support the scientific excellence of the two centers and highlight their capability to integrate multi-disciplinary, collaborative research approaches to focus on all the aspects of cancer.

The research areas include expansion of clinical bone marrow transplant research; clinical study of haplo transplants use of half-matched stem cell donor cells; re-engineering the function and focus of key immune cells; and the investigation of immune checkpoint blocking antibodies that unleash a sustained immune response against cancer cells.

In this partnership, weve combined John Theurers strength in clinical care with Georgetown Lombardis strong research base that significantly contributes to clinical excellence at MedStar Georgetown. By working together, we have broadened our cancer research to offer more effective treatment options for tomorrows patients, says Andrew Pecora, MD, FACP, CPE, president of the Physician Enterprise and chief innovations officer, Hackensack Meridian Health. This is one of many clinical and research areas that have been enhanced by this affiliation.

Our teams are pursuing specific joint research projects we feel are of the utmost importance and significance in oncology particularly around immuno-oncology as well as precision medicine, says Andr Goy, MD, MS, chairman of the John Theurer Cancer Center and director of the division chief of Lymphoma; chief science officer and director of Research and Innovation, RCCA; professor of medicine, Georgetown University. Together our institutions have a tremendous opportunity to transform the delivery of cancer care for our patient populations and beyond.


John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center is New Jerseys largest and most comprehensive center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screenings, and preventive care as well as survivorship of patients with all types of cancers. The 14 specialized divisions covering the complete spectrum of cancer care have developed a close-knit team of medical, research, nursing, and support staff with specialized expertise that translates into more advanced, focused care for all patients. Each year, more people in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area turn to the John Theurer Cancer Center for cancer care than to any other facility in New Jersey. Housed within a 775-bed not-for-profit teaching, tertiary care, and research hospital, the John Theurer Cancer Center provides state-of-the-art technological advances, compassionate care, research innovations, medical expertise, and a full range of aftercare services that distinguish the John Theurer Cancer Center from other

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute-care teaching and research hospital with 609 beds located in Northwest Washington, D.C. Founded in the Jesuit principle of cura personaliscaring for the whole personMedStar Georgetown is committed to offering a variety of innovative diagnostic and treatment options within a trusting and compassionate environment.

MedStar Georgetowns centers of excellence include neurosciences, transplant, cancer and gastroenterology. Along with Magnet nurses, internationally recognized physicians, advanced research and cutting-edge technologies, MedStar Georgetowns healthcare professionals have a reputation for medical excellence and leadership.

For more information please visit:

About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center

Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 775-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the countys first hospital, it is now part of one of the largest networks in the state comprised of 28,000 team members and more than 6,000 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Reports 2016-17 Best Hospital rankings - maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades Americas 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Beckers Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2017. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 25 Gold Seals of Approval by The Joint Commission more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Womens and Childrens Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Childrens Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Womens Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guides list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Northern Trust PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Childrens Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Childrens Hospital. To learn more, visit

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John Theurer Cancer Center and MedStar Georgetown University ... - Business Wire (press release)

Rise in Number of Blood & Bone Marrow Related Disorders Drives the Global Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria … – Digital Journal

Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH) Treatment Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2017 - 2025

This press release was orginally distributed by SBWire

Albany, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/04/2017 -- Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is an ultra-rare blood disease of bone marrow stem cells, which are genetically characterized by the somatic mutation in the phosphatidylinositol glycan protein A (PIG-A) gene. PNH generally occurs in the early 30s. Around 10% patients develop PNH symptoms at 21 years of age or earlier. Around 1 to 5 individuals per million people in the U.S. are estimated to suffer from PNH. This is much lower than the incidence rate of bone marrow aplasia. PNH often goes unrecognized; delay in diagnosis may range from one year to more than 10 years.

The global PNH treatment market is anticipated to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period. It is a niche market, with many pharmaceutical and biotech companies investing in research of bone marrow stem cells. According to current studies, the ideal treatment available is to replace all the hematopoietic stem cells with normal stem cells via stem cells transplantation. However, this treatment is not ideal in some cases as stem cell transplantation requires a stable histocompatible donor. Complete stem cells transplantation is usually considered in severe cases of PNH, for instance aplastic anemia and transformation to leukemia, as these can be life threatening complications.

Factors driving the PNH treatment market include rise in number of blood & bone marrow related disorders, increase in aging population, and technological advancements in stem cells transplantation. However, increase in cost of medical equipment, specifically surgical equipment required for stem cell transformation; lack of reimbursement policies in developing regions; and occurrence of side effects in related current available treatments may hamper the PNH treatment market.

The global PNH treatment market can be segmented based on diagnosis test, type of treatment, drugs, and end-user. In terms of diagnosis test, the market can be divided into complete blood count test (CBC), lactate dehydrogenase test (LDH), bilirubin test, bone marrow examination, urine test for hemosiderin, flow cytometry, and others. Based on the type of treatment, the PNH treatment market can be segregated into treatment of PNH patients associated with hemolysis, treatment of PNH patients associated with thrombosis, treatment of PNH patients associated with non-hemolytic anemia, allogeneic stem cell transplant (SCT)/bone marrow transplant (BMT), treatment of pregnant PNH patients, treatment of pediatric PNH patients, and others. In terms of drugs, the market can be classified into eculizumab (Soliris), ALXN1210, and others. Based on end-user, the PNH treatment market can be split into hospitals, pharmaceutical & biotech companies, clinics, academic & research institutes, and others.

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Geographically, the market for PNH treatment can be divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa (MEA). North America dominates the global PNH treatment market due to the rise in the number of blood & bone marrow related diseases, availability of satisfactory reimbursement policies, and increase in awareness about the early diagnosis of the disease in the region. The market in Europe is also expected to expand rapidly, as key players are collaborating with research institutions and labs to develop new innovative products. The PNH treatment market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand at a fast pace owing to the unmet needs regarding PNH treatment of the growing population. Additionally, factors such as development of the health care network, rise in disposable income, increase in health care awareness, and availability of reimbursement facilities are boosting the PNH treatment market in Asia Pacific.

Key players operating in the PNH treatment market include Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., GE Healthcare, and Johnson & Johnson.

About Transparency Market ResearchTransparency Market Research (TMR) is a global market intelligence company providing business information reports and services. The company's exclusive blend of quantitative forecasting and trend analysis provides forward-looking insight for thousands of decision makers. TMR's experienced team of analysts, researchers, and consultants use proprietary data sources and various tools and techniques to gather and analyze information. Our business offerings represent the latest and the most reliable information indispensable for businesses to sustain a competitive edge.

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30568008.pdf – Chippewa Herald

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The rise of unproven stem cell therapies turned this obscure scientist into an industry watchdog – Science Magazine

A cancer scare helped encourage stem cell researcher Paul Knoepfler to become an outspoken watchdog over his field.

Carl Costas

By Kelly ServickAug. 3, 2017 , 9:00 AM

SACRAMENTOBack in his lab after a week of vacation, Paul Knoepfler slogs through backlogged emails: A 71-year-old woman with arthritic knees would like to know whether a stem cell clinic she researched can give her relief. The parents of a 12-year-old with a degenerative eye disease wonder whether there's any hope of averting blindness with a stem cell injection. "Kindly apprise us of expenses and chance of success," they ask.

Knoepfler, though housed in the Shriners Hospitals for Children here, isn't a physician. And his University of California (UC), Davis, lab doesn't study arthritis or eye disease, nor does he have any experience developing a stem cell therapy. He mostly uses stem cells to study cancer-causing gene mutations. But thanks to The Niche, a blog he has run since 2010, Knoepfler has become an unlikely authorityand a dogged voice of cautionon the clinical use of stem cells.

The blog, which now averages more than 4000 daily visits, has elevated him from an obscure bench scientist to an international spokesperson on all things stem cell. "It's one of the major sources of information [for the] layperson, and also for stem cell researchers," says Jeanne Loring of Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, an occasional commenter and guest writer on the blog.

It also has turned Knoepfler, a softspoken, unimposing presence in person, into a divisive figure. He has sounded the alarm on hundreds of U.S. physicians and clinics advertising stem cells to treat everything from sore knees to spinal cord injury. These offerings haven't been through the approval process at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and most aren't supported by evidence from randomized clinical trials.

"They were just saying, Screw the rules, we're just going to set up shop and put up a website and start injecting people with stem cells,'" says Knoepfler, who co-wrote a paper last year documenting the scope of this industry. "I saw that as a threat, first to patients, but to the field as well."

Stem cell researchers largely applaud his efforts. "He's been a reliable voice of reason in the field," says George Daley, a stem cell researcher at Boston Children's Hospital and dean of Harvard Medical School in Boston. Academics are "often more comfortable being provincial and insular, and not mixing it up in the public debates."

But even people who have expressed concern about predatory and fraudulent clinics contend Knoepfler has sometimes painted potential stem cell therapies with too broad a brush. "There are clinicians in the United States that are practicing forms of regenerative medicine that are legal and that are having good results for their patients," says Bernard Siegel, executive director of the nonprofit Regenerative Medicine Foundation in Wellington, Florida. "We can't tar everyone."

Siegel says he admires Knoepfler, and his foundation honored the blogger with its national advocacy award in 2013. But in Siegel's view, Knoepfler has at times acted as "almost a bit of a societal scold."

On The Niche's discussion thread, patients who believe they have benefited from unapproved stem cell treatments are harsher. "You and I will never agree on this issue," wrote one commenter, Barbara Hanson, who has sought stem cell treatment overseas for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and runs an online forum for patients, in a discussion about the value of FDA approval. "I have experienced a much better quality of life after having stem cell treatment than I could ever have expected from prescription medications and conventional treatment."

Seven years into the conversation, Knoepfler accepts criticism in stride. But with FDA looking unlikely to tighten its grip on such clinics, and strong pressure from some patients, advocates, and companies to keep stem cell treatments outside regulators' grasp, he admits the impact of his outreach is hard to measure. "A few individuals can't really necessarily rein in a whole industry."

Paul Knoepfler's blog, The Niche, steadily gained readers in its early years, but saw a spike in 2014 with his skeptical coverage of stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) stem cell claims.

(Graphic) G. Grulln/science; (Data) Paul Knoepfler

Knoepfler's fascination with stem cells grew out of science, but his willingness to speak out started with a life-changing personal event. A college English major, he didn't commit to science until he landed a postgraduation job as a research technician at UC San Diego, where his wife was starting medical school. "Being in the lab setting felt like I was at home," he says.

While working on a doctorate there and a postdoc at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, Knoepfler explored the proteins and genes that act up in some childhood cancers. To understand why variations in the gene MYC and its relatives lead to childhood brain tumors, Knoepfler realized he would have to detail their normal role in the growth and differentiation of neural stem cells.

Just as he set out to establish his own lab, the state of California launched a grand experiment in stem cell funding. Motivated in part by then-President George W. Bush's ban on federal funding for embryonic stem (ES) cell research, which antiabortion groups opposed, California voters approved the $3 billion California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). In 2006, a $2 million "new faculty" grant from CIRM helped get Knoepfler's UC Davis lab off the ground.

It had been running for 3 years when, at age 42, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and given roughly 50-50 survival odds. Knoepfler found himself a patient at the same cancer center he frequented for research meetings and seminars. "This time, I walked straight past the auditorium for the clinic. That was a freaky moment."

Surgery led to a remission that has now lasted for 7 years. But the medical scare emboldened him "to try to expand how I had impact, beyond just the pure science," he says. Weeks after the operation, Knoepfler published the first official post on The Niche, named after a defunct stem cell blog once hosted on that he admired. (Stem cells often reside and grow in specific niches in the body, such as bone marrow, which houses blood-forming cells.)

Early on, Knoepfler was an impassioned and partisan advocate for ES cell research. Many Republicans "are in favor of executing prisoners who might be innocent, taking away women's rights, cutting aid to poor children, eliminating Social Security," he wrote after Mississippi lawmakers introduced an amendment to give embryos constitutional protections, "but when it comes to fertilized eggs or few-days-old blastocysts, they start carrying pitchforks and torches."

As the threat to ES cell research began to feel less serious under former President Barack Obama's administration, Knoepfler's attention shifted. His periodic Google searches for "stem cells" began to turn up unfamiliar treatment centers in the United States advertising poorly validated therapies. Many clinics isolated adult stem cells from a patient's own fat or bone marrow and reinjected them, promising to heal injured joints, rejuvenate aging skin, or even repair damage from neurological disorders and autoimmune disease.

Recently, Knoepfler and bioethicist Leigh Turner of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis set out to compile U.S. stem cell clinics marketing directly to consumers online. In a paper in Cell Stem Cell, they revealed a marketplace of 351 businesses operating at 570 clinics. "That was a tremendous piece of work," says David Jensen, a retired newspaper journalist in Paso Robles, California, who runs a blog monitoring CIRM. "You could see it was a problem if you looked out your window. The question was how big it is."

Knoepfler believes that new stem cell treatments will eventually help patients, but he has long fretted about their safety. In 2012, his team published a paper pointing out similarities between tumor cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cellsadult cells reprogrammed to a more primitive state in the lab. In part because iPS cells don't face religious objections, they are an appealing alternative to ES cells. But the paper concluded that iPS cells' potential for cancerous growth could stand in the way of using them therapeutically.

The adult stem cells used in most of the emerging clinics didn't undergo the same reprogramming process, but Knoepfler still worried about their potential for uncontrolled growth. "I guess I just had this deep concern that someone was going to get cancer, maybe because of my own experience with cancer, in retrospect."

Knoepfler acknowledges that few stem cell-induced cancers and other serious side effects have been reported. But he maintains that the risk is still there, noting the case of stroke patient Jim Gass, who ended up with a tumor along his spine after a series of stem cell injections at clinics outside the United States. A report this year in The New England Journal of Medicine also documented three women who were blinded after a Florida clinic injected them with stem cells to treat macular degeneration. And even patients not physically harmed might spend thousands of dollars on useless treatments that insurers often refuse to cover.

At first, Knoepfler thought FDA would crack down on the emerging industryan expectation he now calls nave. The only FDA-approved stem cell therapies involve transplants of umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells for blood cancers and certain metabolic and immune disorders. But the agency classifies other uses of stem cells as medical procedures and exempts them from its drug approval process, provided they meet certain criteria, including "minimal manipulation" of the cells and "homologous use"using the cells for the same function they naturally perform in the body. Some uncertainty remains about which products are exemptedparticularly when it comes to fat-derived stem cells. Draft guidances FDA issued in 2014 and 2015 seemed to narrow the set of exempted therapies, but those have yet to be finalized.

Meanwhile, Knoepfler pursues his own grassroots effort with unlikely passion. "He's a sweetheart," Jensen says. "Personally, I find him sort of shy and diffident sometimes," but Knoepfler "doesn't shy away from contact with the mainstream media." He has picked apart stem cell claims that seem too good to be true, requested details from clinics, and complained about uncritical press coverage of treatments.

Even after a recent redesign of The Niche, Knoepfler's corner of the internet feels homespun and unadorned. He often illustrates his posts with corny clip art, appropriated Hollywood movie posters ("A Nightmare on Stem Street"), and cartoons he draws himself. The blog yo-yos between audiences, dissecting a technical research paper one day, raising questions about a celebrity's stem cell boob job the next. Its most visited page in the past year is a Spanish translation of his layperson-friendly explainer, "What are stem cells?"

In 2014, Knoepfler found himself fielding midnight calls from Japanese reporters after he blogged his doubts about a paper from a Kobe-based research team describing stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) stem cells, allegedly created from adult cells by simple measures such as exposure to acid. He published some of the earliest skepticism of the claim, which swiftly fell apart through failed replication attempts, a misconduct investigation, and the paper's retraction. Knoepfler chronicled the downfall of STAP stem cells blow by blow.

Other moves drew more criticism. Knoepfler took to The Sacramento Bee last June to decry what he saw as a dangerous shift in CIRM's agenda. In a Fox News oped, CIRM's then-President C. Randal Mills and Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) criticized FDA's regulatory process as too rigid. The comments came as the Senate considered legislation that would let FDA conditionally approve stem cell therapies without largescale clinical trials. CIRM "should refocus its efforts on the science and medicine of stem cells," Knoepfler wrote, "instead of lobbying for high-risk weakening of federal stem cell oversight."

The affront to the head of a major funding organization that had supported Knoepfler's own lab struck some colleagues as reckless. "I advised him not to do it," says Loring, adding, "it doesn't mean I agreed with [Mills]."

Asked about Knoepfler's criticism the next week, Mills called him "fairly self-interested" in his push for more basic research and suggested that critics of FDA reform "live with a horrible disease" before defending the agency's slow and expensive process for approving new treatments.

Knoepfler's unyielding skepticism has also turned some patients against him. In a three-part series of posts this spring, he questioned the ethics of a center at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, that is attempting to treat autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) by eliminating patients' immune cells and then using their bone marrow stem cells to replenish them. The principal investigator, Richard Burt, has run clinical trials, but has also provided treatment outside of trials under an FDA-sanctioned protocol known as expanded access.

After hearing that some MS patients were asked to pay as much as $150,000 to participate in a trial or receive off-study treatment, Knoepfler took to his blog. Although careful not to equate Burt's operation with for-profit clinics, Knoepfler suggested that testimonials on the center's website painted too rosy a picture of the experimental therapy and that its patient handbook encouraged fundraising efforts that might force patients to share private health information.

"It was astonishing, what he wrote," says Heather Burke of Orlando, Florida, who credits treatment at Northwestern with putting her MS into permanent remission and runs a Facebook group for patients. She says Burt tells patients that the procedure is potentially fatal and never promises improvements in their symptoms. Knoepfler's suggestion that Northwestern endorses fundraising is unfair, she adds, because for most patients, the procedure is fully covered by insurance. (Burt declined a request for comment.)

Burke shares Knoepfler's concerns about stem cell clinics that peddle shoddy science. But "Northwestern is not a popsicle stand in Mexico," she says. "When you have bloggers like Paul putting things out there like this, the only thing that they're doing is halting a possible really big breakthrough for treatments for MS."

One patient threatened to file an ethics complaint with his university. Others have accused Knoepfler of being a shill for Big Pharma, intent on suppressing alternatives to traditional drugs. (Knoepfler says he receives no funding from pharmaceutical companies.)

Knoepfler's online jabs at high-profile figures, companies, and doctors have never led to a libel lawsuitthough he says there have been a few threats. He has had tenure since 2011, and higher-ups at the university have never reprimanded him for voicing his opinions online, he says. But the stream of negativity has made him question how much longer he will continue blogging, even if he has no immediate plans to stop. "It takes a certain amount of energy just to deal with that."

He also admits that "I haven't necessarily made much headway" in convincing advocates of unfettered stem cell access that careful oversight is important, too. In recent years, nearly 40 states have passed controversial "right to try" laws, meant to allow dying patients easier access to experimental treatments without FDA oversight. And in June, Texas enacted a law that allows clinics to offer stem cell interventions without the testing and approval required under federal law. Knoepfler has predicted the change will be a boon to predatory clinics.

Still, he believes his handful of weekly email exchanges with conflicted patients is a chance to make a difference. He encourages them to get advice from their doctors, then explains why he's skeptical of approaches not proven in randomized trials. Some, he knows, will decide to go through with treatments anyway. Rarely do they write back to tell him about their decision. "That's kind of a hard part for me," he says. "I don't know the end of the story."

Originally posted here:
The rise of unproven stem cell therapies turned this obscure scientist into an industry watchdog - Science Magazine