Category Archives: Stem Cell Medicine

Stem Cell Scandal Scientist Haruko Obokata Resigns

A Japanese Stem Cell Scientist At The Heart Of A Scandal Over False Claims And Fabricated Research Has Resigned.

Dr Haruko Obokata published supposedly groundbreaking research showing stem cells could be made quickly and cheaply.

There were irregularities in data, no other group in the world could repeat her findings and her own university concluded it could not be done.

In a statement Dr Obokata said: "I even can't find the words for an apology."

Stem cells can become any other type of tissue and hold great potential in medicine.

They are already being investigated to heal the damage caused by a heart attack and to restore sight.

But they are expensive and difficult to produce and one source - embryos - raises serious ethical questions.

'Major discovery'

Dr Obokata's scientific paper published in the prestigious journal Nature claimed that stem cells could be produced from normal adult cells by dipping them into acid for a 30-minute shock period.

The announcement of the creation of these "Stap" cells (stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency) sent shockwaves around the world.

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Stem Cell Scandal Scientist Haruko Obokata Resigns

Embattled Stem Cell Researchers Sue Harvard And Brigham And Women's Hospital

Two embattled and highly controversial stem cell researchers are suing the Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School for an ongoing investigation into their research. The investigation has already resulted in the retraction of one paper inCirculationand anexpression of concern about another paper in theLancet.

The suit was filed by Piero Anversa, the highly prominent stem cell researcher who is a Harvard professor and the head of a large lab at the Brigham, and his longtime colleague,Annarosa Leri, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard who has coauthored many papers with Anversa. The suit places the blame for any scientific misconduct relating to the two papers on a third colleague and coauthor,Jan Kajstura, their longtime collaborator. In an explanation of the problems relating to the Circulation paper,Anversa and Leri accuse Kajstura of doctoring data in a spreadsheet in such a way that they could not have detected it. For theLancet paper the two scientists say thatKajstura and another unnamed scientist in the lab altered two images. Kastura is no longer at the Brigham.

The news was first reported byCarolyn Johnson in theBoston GlobeandJessica Bartlett in the Boston Business Journal. The story has also been reported in depth by Ivan Oransky onRetraction Watch.

The lawsuit accuses Elizabeth Nabel, the president of the Brigham, and the individual members of the investigating panel, of inappropriate and illegal behavior and conflicts of interest.At one point the complaint alleges that the scientists on the panel lack substantial expertise in the relevant scientific areas, including cardiac stem cells. But then, when another member was added to the panel, Ulrich von Andrian, the complaint states that he suffers from serious conflicts of interest that impede his ability to participate in the investigation in an impartial manner. Nabel and von Andrian, along with other Harvard and Brigham figures, serve on the scientific advisory board of Moderna Therapeutics, a stem cell company pursuing an alternative modality for regenerative treatment of cardiac disease.

Anversa and Leri further allege that the investigation caused the withdrawal of a multimillion dollar offer to purchase their company, Autologous/Progenital. The investigation also ended efforts to recruit Anversa and Leri to the University of Miami and the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

The complaint discloses that as a result of the ongoing investigation Anversa and Leri were subject to embarrassing questions from other prominent stem cell researchers, including Joshua Hare, Steven Houser, and Eduardo Marban. These researchers, the complaint states, had no need to know of the inquiry.

Anversa and Leri also criticizethe panel for expanding its investigation to at least 15 papers from the research group. There is no justification for expanding the investigation to encompass these additional papers at this late stage. Most were published before the inquiry process began in January 2013, and all were published before the investigation began in February 2014. It is unclear from the complaint why these papers should not have been subject to scrutiny.

As I reported in 2011, the Lancet paper reporting the results of theSCIPIO trial was the subject of considerable hype at the time of its original publication. ABC News, CBS News and other media outlets used phrases like medical breakthrough and heart failure cure. ABC News correspondent Richard Besser was so enthusiastic that anchor Diane Sawyer commented that she had never seen him so excited. The first author of SCIPIO, Roberto Bolli, said the work could represent the biggest advance in cardiology in my lifetime.

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Embattled Stem Cell Researchers Sue Harvard And Brigham And Women's Hospital

University of Toronto cell biologists discover on-off switch for key stem cell gene – Discovery may propel advances in …

TORONTO, ON Consider the relationship between an air traffic controller and a pilot. The pilot gets the passengers to their destination, but the air traffic controller decides when the plane can take off and when it must wait. The same relationship plays out at the cellular level in animals, including humans. A region of an animals genome the controller directs when a particular gene the pilot can perform its prescribed function.

A new study by cell and systems biologists at the University of Toronto (U of T) investigating stem cells in mice shows, for the first time, an instance of such a relationship between the Sox2 gene which is critical for early development, and a region elsewhere on the genome that effectively regulates its activity. The discovery could mean a significant advance in the emerging field of human regenerative medicine, as the Sox2 gene is essential for maintaining embryonic stem cells that can develop into any cell type of a mature animal.

We studied how the Sox2 gene is turned on in mice, and found the region of the genome that is needed to turn the gene on in embryonic stem cells, said Professor Jennifer Mitchell of U of Ts Department of Cell and Systems Biology, lead investigator of a study published in the December 15 issue of Genes & Development.

Like the gene itself, this region of the genome enables these stem cells to maintain their ability to become any type of cell, a property known as pluripotency. We named the region of the genome that we discovered the Sox2 control region, or SCR, said Mitchell.

Since the sequencing of the human genome was completed in 2003, researchers have been trying to figure out which parts of the genome made some people more likely to develop certain diseases. They have found that the answers are more often in the regions of the human genome that turn genes on and off.

If we want to understand how genes are turned on and off, we need to know where the sequences that perform this function are located in the genome, said Mitchell. The parts of the human genome linked to complex diseases such as heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders can often be far away from the genes they regulate, so it can be difficult to figure out which gene is being affected and ultimately causing the disease.

It was previously thought that regions much closer to the Sox2 gene were the ones that turned it on in embryonic stem cells. Mitchell and her colleagues eliminated this possibility when they deleted these nearby regions in the genome of mice and found there was no impact on the genes ability to be turned on in embryonic stem cells.

We then focused on the region weve since named the SCR as my work had shown that it can contact the Sox2 gene from its location 100,000 base pairs away, said study lead author Harry Zhou, a former graduate student in Mitchells lab, now a student at U of Ts Faculty of Medicine. To contact the gene, the DNA makes a loop that brings the SCR close to the gene itself only in embryonic stem cells. Once we had a good idea that this region could be acting on the Sox2 gene, we removed the region from the genome and monitored the effect on Sox2.

The researchers discovered that this region is required to both turn Sox2 on, and for the embryonic stem cells to maintain their characteristic appearance and ability to differentiate into all the cell types of the adult organism.

Just as deletion of the Sox2 gene causes the very early embryo to die, it is likely that an abnormality in the regulatory region would also cause early embryonic death before any of the organs have even formed, said Mitchell. It is possible that the formation of the loop needed to make contact with the Sox2 gene is an important final step in the process by which researchers practicing regenerative medicine can generate pluripotent cells from adult cells.

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University of Toronto cell biologists discover on-off switch for key stem cell gene - Discovery may propel advances in ...

Scientists make stem cell breakthrough

Sydney, Dec 11 (IANS): An Australian research team together with international scientists has discovered a new stem cell that can be programmed to become any part of the body.

The ramifications of the find mean that a transplant can be conducted by using the patient's own cells, which can be made into organs and tissue.

The discovery, published in the journal Nature Thursday, is a breakthrough in stem cell research.

"These are remarkably useful cells, because you can apply them to several different areas of medicine," Xinhua quoted molecular biologist Thomas Preiss, from the Australian National University, as telling Fairfax Media.

More than 50 researchers from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and South Korea worked in the study, known as Project Grandiose, which identified the pluripotent stem cell.

The new cell is considered a potential prototype for the mass production of therapeutic stem cells to treat a huge range of illnesses and injuries.

Medical conditions such as blindness, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, stroke and spinal cord injury will be major beneficiaries of the new find.

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Scientists make stem cell breakthrough

Unlocking the secrets of stem cell generation

14 hours ago Professor Thomas Preiss discusses gene networks during stem cell reprogramming with his JCSMR colleagues Dr Jen Clancy and Dr Hardip Patel. Credit: Stuart Hay.

International scientists have carried out the most detailed study of how specialised body cells can be reprogrammed to be like cells from the early embryo.

The findings are a major advance in stem cell science and could help usher in a new era of regenerative medicine, where a small sample of a patient's cells could be used to grow new tissues and organs for transplant.

"This kind of work will speed up the development of treatments for many illnesses that currently have no cure," said Professor Thomas Preiss from The John Curtin School of Medical Research.

"It could one day lead to treatments for age-related macular degeneration, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, spinal cord injury, stroke, diabetes, blood and kidney diseases, and many others which are associated with tissue damage and cell loss."

Professor Preiss and the team at ANU were part of the international consortium known as Project Grandiose, which mapped the detailed molecular process involved in the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS).

The discovery that body cells can in principle be coaxed to become iPS cells led to the award of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2012. Since then there has been a surge in global research to better understand iPS cell reprogramming, as it might help avoid the ethically-sensitive use of embryo-derived cells.

"The race is on to make reprogramming a safe and efficient process so that the resulting stem cells can be broadly applied in therapies," Professor Preiss said.

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"We have described in unprecedented detail the molecular changes that cells undergo as they reprogram into stem cells and also discovered a new kind of pluripotent cell that can be seen as a prototype for therapeutic cell production."

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Unlocking the secrets of stem cell generation

Researchers discover new class of stem cells

Researchers have identified a new class of lab-engineered stem cells -- cells capable of transforming into nearly all forms of tissue -- and have dubbed them F-class cells because they cluster together in "fuzzy-looking" colonies.

The discovery, which was described in a series of five papers published Wednesday in the journals Nature and Nature Communications, sheds new light on the process of cell reprogramming and may point the way to more efficient methods of creating stem cells, researchers say.

Due to their extraordinary shape-shifting abilities, so-called pluripotent cells have enormous value to medical researchers. They allow scientists to study the effects of drugs and disease on human cells when experiments on actual people would be impossible, and they have given rise to the field of regenerative medicine, which seeks to restore lost or damaged organs and tissues.

The F-class cells were created using genetically engineered mouse cells, and may not occur naturally outside the lab, according to senior author Andras Nagy, a stem cell researcher at Torontos Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital.

However, the find suggests that there may be other classes of pluripotent cells -- or a spectrum of reprogrammed cells -- yet to be discovered, authors say.

We think that if we have time, and money and hands to do it, we might find additional novel cell lines, Nagy said.

Until now, stem cells have been either obtained from embryos or produced in the lab through a painstaking process called induced pluripotency, whereby a virus is used to alter an adult cells genetic information and return the cell to a pliable, embryonic state.

That process, which was pioneered by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka and recognized with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012, is extremely inefficient, yielding embryonic-stem-cell-like cells just 1% of the time.

Nagy and his colleagues, a consortium of international researchers called Project Grandiose, began their research by looking more closely at the castoffs of that process, or those cells that did not closely match the description of embryonic stem cells.

We looked at it in an unbiased way, Nagy said. Instead of ignoring or discarding those cells that dont look like embryonic stem cells, we thought we might find more than just one alternative cell type.

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Researchers discover new class of stem cells

Stem cell discovery could lead to hair loss treatments

CALGARY New research from the University of Calgary may hold the key to restoring hair growth.

The findings, published in the scientific journal Developmental Cell this week, identify the existence of a skin stem cell in adult hair follicles that may one day be targeted to stimulate new hair growth after injury, burns, disease or aging.

The discovery is being called an important a step towards new hair loss treatments.

We hope that we can ultimately stimulate these cells with drugs to replenish or rejuvenate the cells that are responsible for inducing hair growth, says assistant professor in stem cell biology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Jeff Biernaskie, PhD.

Hair follicles undergo a constant cycle of regeneration and degeneration, and Biernaskie wanted to identify the stem cells that oversee that cycle.

Biernaskies team discovered that a small number of dermal sheath cells could self-renew, and gave rise to hundreds of new cells in each hair follicle.

He says the discovery gives researchers a greater understanding of how hair follicles regenerate and it opens the door to creating therapies targeting stem cells to restore hair growth.

However, it could be a decade before such therapies are developed.

Biernaskies research holds hope for animals as well as humans.

Animals suffer skin diseases and injuries similar to people, and he says anything that improves the understanding of stem cells in healing and regeneration in people is also applicable to healing in animals.

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Stem cell discovery could lead to hair loss treatments

New UQ platform aids stem cell research

Researchers at The University of Queensland are part of a global team that has identified a new type of artificial stem cell.

UQ Associate Professor Christine Wells (right) said Project Grandiose had revealed it could track new ways to reprogram a normal adult cell, such as skin cells, into cells similar to those found in an early embryo.

The development is expected to help researchers explore ways to arrive at new cell types in the laboratory, with important implications for regenerative medicine and stem cell science.

Associate Professor Wells, who leads the Stemformatics stem cell research support unit at UQs Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, said the project involved a consortium of 50 researchers from Canada, Australia, Korea, the USA and the Netherlands

We all come from just one cell the fertilised egg and this cell contains within its DNA a series of instruction manuals to make all of the many different types of cells that make up our body, AIBN Associate Professor Wells said.

These very early stage cells can now be made in the lab by reversing this process of development.

Our research reveals the new instructions imposed on a cell when this developmental process is reversed.

Project Grandiose is a large-scale research effort to understand what happens inside a cell as it reverts to an artificial stem cell.

The role of the Stemformatics.org group was to help the researchers have access to the vast information and data they generated from the project, Associate Professor Wells said.

Our online data platform is designed to let non-specialists view the genes involved and the many ways they are regulated during cell formation.

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New UQ platform aids stem cell research

Stem Cells from Adult Nose Tissue Used to Cure Parkinsons Disease in Rats

Durham, NC (PRWEB) December 05, 2014

Scientists have for the first time used adult human stem cells to cure rats with Parkinsons disease, a neurodegenerative illness that currently has no cure. The study, published in the current issue of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, details how a team of researchers working in Germany at the University of Bielefeld (UB) and Dresden University of Technology were able to produce mature neurons using inferior turbinate stem cells (ITSCs).

ITSCs are stem cells taken from tissue that would generally be discarded after an adult patient undergoes sinus surgery.

The team then tested how the ITSCs would behave when transplanted into a group of rats with Parkinsons disease. Prior to transplantation, the animals showed severe motor and behavioral deficiencies. However, 12 weeks after receiving the ITSCs, the cells had migrated into the animals brains and functional ability was not only fully restored, but significant behavioral recovery was witnessed, too. In another positive sign, no tumors were found in any of the animals after the transplantations, something that also has been a concern in stem cell therapy.

Due to their easy accessibility and the resulting possibility of an autologous transplantation approach, ITSCs represent a promising cell source for regenerative medicine, said UBs Barbara Kaltschmidt, Ph.D., who led the study along with Alexander Storch, M.D., and Christiana Ossig, M.D., both of Dresden University. The lack of ethical concerns associated with human embryonic stem cells is a plus, too.

In contrast to fighting the symptoms of Parkinsons disease with medications and devices, this research is focused on restoring the dopamine-producing brain cells that are lost during the disease, said Anthony Atala, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. "These cells are easy to access and isolate from nasal tissue, even in older patients, which adds to their attraction as a potential therapeutic tool.

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The full article, Intrastriatal transplantation of adult human neural crest-derived stem cells improves functional outcome in Parkinsonian rats can be accessed at http://www.StemCellsTM.com.

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Stem Cells from Adult Nose Tissue Used to Cure Parkinsons Disease in Rats

Global Stem Cells Group Hands-on Training Course in Barcelona Heading to Additional Euro Cities in 2015

MIAMI (PRWEB) December 04, 2014

After a successful first run in Spain last month, Global Stem Cells Group, has announced the decision to take the biotech companys hands-on stem cell training course to additional European cities in 2015. GSCG subsidiary Stem Cell Training, Inc. and Dr. J. Victor Garcia conducted the Adipose Derived Harvesting, Isolation and Re-integration Training Course for medical professionals in Barcelona Nov. 22-23, 2014.

The two-day, hands-on intensive training course was developed for physicians and high-level practitioners to learn techniques in harvesting and reintegrating stem cells derived from adipose tissue and bone marrow. The objective of the training is to bridge the gap between bench science in the laboratory and the doctors office by teaching effective, in-office regenerative medicine techniques.

Global Stem Cells Group will release a schedule of cities and dates for future training classes in upcoming weeks.

For more information, visit the Stem Cell Training, Inc. website, email info(at)stemcelltraining(dot)net, or call 305-224-1858.

About Global Stem Cells Group: Global Stem Cells Group, Inc. is the parent company of six wholly owned operating companies dedicated entirely to stem cell research, training, products and solutions. Founded in 2012, the company combines dedicated researchers, physician and patient educators and solution providers with the shared goal of meeting the growing worldwide need for leading edge stem cell treatments and solutions.

With a singular focus on this exciting new area of medical research, Global Stem Cells Group and its subsidiaries are uniquely positioned to become global leaders in cellular medicine.

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

About Stem Cell Training, Inc.:

Stem Cell Training, Inc. is a multi-disciplinary company offering coursework and training in 35 cities worldwide. Coursework offered focuses on minimally invasive techniques for harvesting stem cells from adipose tissue, bone marrow and platelet-rich plasma. By equipping physicians with these techniques, the goal is to enable them to return to their practices, better able to apply these techniques in patient treatments.

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Global Stem Cells Group Hands-on Training Course in Barcelona Heading to Additional Euro Cities in 2015