August 6, 2014
If you’re a biotech investor, you’re undoubtedly aware of the buzz regarding 3D bioprinting. There have been scores of articles and video presentations in popular outlets heralding the end to transplant organ shortages.
Using living cells rather than inanimate construction materials, 3D printing technologies have been used to build models of organs and other tissues. Excitement about the possibility of mass-produced bioprinted transplant organs has fueled a massive inpouring of capital into companies working on this seemingly science fiction technology.
August 11, 2014
Imperial College London scientists, writing in the journal Stem Cell Translational Medicine, report that patients in a small study who had suffered severe strokes showed promising recovery by having their own stem cells injected into their brains post-stroke. By isolating the stem cell CD34+, which is known to spur blood vessel formation, the study participants’ brains may have been boosted into quicker and fuller recovery. Though this work shows promise for stroke treatment, much larger and more comprehensive studies over time are necessary to see if this breakthrough technique has widespread potential.
September 5, 2014
Wake Forest University scientists have reported new advances in harnessing stem cells for muscle recovery inside the body in the journal Acta Biomaterialia. By targeting proteins which control cell communication and muscle formation, stem cells can be caused to collect at a scaffolding material site and begin to regenerate muscle tissue. Currently damaged muscle is replaced with muscle from another part of the body. This new procedure, if it advances from early testing, could speed and streamline the process of recovering muscle by accelerating the body’s own healing mechanisms.
October 13, 2014
In other diabetes news, Harvard researchers reveal in the journal Cell what could prove to be a breakthrough in the management of type 1 diabetes. Using stem cell technology, the researchers created beta cells, which, when implanted into mice, controlled insulin production for several months. If carried forward to tests in humans, a way to defeat immune response shutting down the implanted beta cells would need to be developed. This new path for potentially treating the root of type 1 diabetes, however, is a true breakthrough, which could give hope to those suffering from the disease.
October 27, 2014
Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital researchers report in the journal Stem Cells the creation of special, engineered stem cells which are capable of releasing toxins that kill brain cancer cells in a test on mice. The toxins produced by the engineered stem cells had no effect on healthy cells in the brain, nor the engineered cells themselves. The next step of this breakthrough research is to test the safety of the procedure in humans, and then determine if similar technology could be used to treat other forms of brain cancer or cancers in general.
November 10, 2014
The BBC reports researchers at Lund University in Sweden have developed what could be a breakthrough for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease using stem cells. In a study on rats, the researchers first eliminated dopamine-producing neurons in the brain, then inserted new dopamine-producing, stem cell-derived cells into those brains. The scientists found that the new cells led to dopamine production and potentially reversed the Parkinson’s-like damage to neuron function. With further development, this new stem cell technique could someday become a new treatment option for those with Parkinson’s disease.
November 10, 2014
In other stem cell news, McLean Hospital and Harvard Stem Cell Institute scientists report in the journal Cell Stem Cell that stem cell transplantation could benefit the up to one-third of epilepsy patients who do no respond to conventional anti-seizure medications. By implanting human stem cell-based neurons into the brains of epileptic mice, the researchers found half the mice stopped having seizures and the other half experienced a significant drop in the frequency of seizures. Though this work is also in early development, it could benefit millions of epilepsy patients if further testing confirms its safety and usefulness.
November 14, 2014
Researchers from The Jackson Laboratory, writing in the journal Nature, reveal new findings related to lung regeneration in the wake of infection. In a study on mice, for example, which were infected with the H1N1 flu virus, damage caused by lung inflammation spontaneously repaired over a period of several weeks post-infection. The researchers found the p63+/Krt5+ adult stem cell migrated to the inflammation sites and help repair lung tissue. This research, though in the earliest stages, could lead to new breakthroughs for treating pulmonary fibrosis and COPD in humans.
June 19, 2015
At the end of this issue, I’ll finally get around to answering questions about how much oxaloacetate I take. First, though, I’d like to talk about what may be one of the most important regulatory events of our era.
May 16, 2016
Extending life spans is not just a medical goal. It is an economic and political necessity.
September 19, 2016
The Keck Medical Center of USC recently released news about a patient who participated in a clinical trial of stem cells for treatment of complete cervical spinal cord injury. Included was video of Kris Boesen, a former quadriplegic, lifting a barbell above his head.
February 6, 2017
Asterias Biotherapeutics (AST) continues to generate excitement and buzz around a transformative medical breakthrough. I wrote about this historic event back in September when the company first released results about its stem cell treatment for catastrophic spinal cord injury (SCI).
March 20, 2017
Three patients given stem cells (SCs) for the treatment of macular degeneration (MD) in a Florida clinic are now reportedly blind. That’s the bad news. But there is good news.
May 1, 2017
Most medicines, up to this point, have been delivered into the body via simple pills or needles. But now, new drug delivery systems enabled by genetic engineering will make these old systems obsolete.