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A research team at Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden has managed to create cartilage tissue from stem cells using a 3D printer. The fact that stem cells survived the printing is seen as a major success in itself and could potentially serve as an important step in the quest to 3D-print body parts.

The research, which took three years to complete, was carried out in collaboration with the Chalmers University of Technology, which is recognized for its expertise in 3D-printing biological materials, as well as researchers of orthopedics at Kungsbacka Hospital, a joint statement said.

The research team used cartilage cells taken from humans in connection with knee surgery. Subsequently, the cells were reversed in their development under lab conditions to become so-called pluripotent stem cells, which are cells that have the potential to develop into any kind of cells. Later, they were enclosed in a structure of nanocellulose using a 3D printer. After printing, the cells were treated with growth factors to form cartilage.

The research, which took three years to complete, was carried out in collaboration with the Chalmers University of Technology, which is recognized for its expertise in 3D-printing biological materials, as well as researchers of orthopedics at Kungsbacka Hospital, a joint statement said.

The research team used cartilage cells taken from humans in connection with knee surgery. Subsequently, the cells were reversed in their development under lab conditions to become so-called pluripotent stem cells, which are cells that have the potential to develop into any kind of cells. Later, they were enclosed in a structure of nanocellulose using a 3D printer. After printing, the cells were treated with growth factors to form cartilage.

“The differentiation of stem cells into cartilage works easily in nature, but is significantly more difficult to perform in test tubes. We are the first to succeed in it,” associate professor of cell biology Stina Simonsson said, as quoted by the Swedish newspaper Hällekis Kuriren, venturing that the key to succeeding was tricking the cells into “believing” they were not alone.

Earlier this year, human cartilage cells were successfully implanted in six-week-old baby mice. Once implanted, the tissue began to grow and proliferate inside the animal, eventually vascularizing and growing with blood vessels.

The end product, which was developed using a Cellink 3D bio-printer, was found to be very similar to human cartilage. Experienced surgeons argued that printed cartilage looked “no different” from that found in patients.

On top of being a major technological achievement, the study represents a major step forward for the artificial creation of human tissue. In the not-too-distant future, 3D printers could be used for repairing cartilage damage or as a treatment for osteoarthritis, which causes the degeneration of joints. The latter is a very common condition, affecting one in four Swedes aged 45 and over.

At present, however, the structure of cellulose used in printed cartilage was ruled “not optimal” for the human body and needs to be fine-tuned before actually benefitting patients.

Source : https://goo.gl/JhMFYf

New research demonstrates that vitamin C targets and kills cancer stem cells, the cells responsible for cancer tumors growing and spreading. Researchers at the U.K.’s University of Salford found that vitamin C — ascorbic acid — was up to 10 times more effective in stopping cancer than experimental treatments.

“We have been looking at how to target cancer stem cells with a range of natural substances, but by far the most exciting are the results with vitamin C,” said Dr. Michael P. Lisanti.

Cancer stem-like cells are thought to be resistant to chemotherapy, which leads to treatment failure in patients with advanced disease. Researchers also believe that cancer stem cells (CSC) trigger the recurrence of tumors and fuel their growth. This allows them to spread throughout the body and cause death.

The Salford scientists set out to evaluate the bioenergetics of cancer stem cells — the processes which allow the cells to live and thrive — with the intent of disrupting their metabolism.

They studied the impact of seven substances: the clinically-approved epilepsy drug stiripentol, three natural products — caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), silibinin and ascorbic acid — and experimental pharmaceuticals actinonin, FK866 and 2-DG.

While they found that natural antibiotic actinonin and the compound FK866 were the most potent, the natural products also inhibited the formation of cancer stem cells, with vitamin C outperforming 2-DG 10-fold in terms of potency.

“Controlling cancer stem cells is the only way to control cancer and is a major weapon against metastatic cancer, which is the main killer of cancer patients,” neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock tells Newsmax Health.

“Conventional chemo and radiation can cure or control only 5 to 10 percent of metastatic cancers,” says Blaylock, author of Dr. Blaylock’s Prescriptions for Natural Health.

“Vitamin C is cheap, natural, non-toxic and readily available,” Lisanti said, “so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step.”

Lead author Gloria Bonuccelli said, “Our results indicate it is a promising agent for clinical trials, and as an add-on to more conventional therapies, to prevent tumor recurrence, further disease progression and metastasis.”

The effectiveness of vitamin C in fighting cancer has been hotly debated. Laboratory studies found that vitamin C killed cancer cells in the laboratory and also in mice, but similar results haven’t always been supported in human studies.

Experts speculate that contrary to laboratory and mice studies, most human studies have been conducted using oral vitamin C, and most is unused and excreted in urine. “The dose of vitamin C has to be very high,” says Blaylock. Very high doses are usually reached by IV infusion.

Until now, researchers have also believed that vitamin C’s anti-cancer potential is due to its antioxidant capabilities. However, researchers at the University of Iowa also found that vitamin C may actually work by generating free radicals that literally tear cancer cells apart while avoiding healthy cells.

A study published in Science found that vitamin C caused oxidative stress in cancer cells and turned off an enzyme cancer cells use to reproduce.

Vitamin C has also been shown to be effective in other areas of health:

• An analysis of 29 randomized human studies by scientists at Johns Hopkins found that a 500 milligram tablet of vitamin C each day significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

• A European study of almost 20,000 men and women found that mortality from cardiovascular disease was 60 percent lower in people with the highest concentrations of vitamin C in their blood when compared to those with the lowest concentrations.

• A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men with the lowest blood levels of vitamin C had a 62 percent higher risk of cancer-related death after a 12 to 16 year period, compared to those with the highest vitamin C levels.

• A Finnish study, which was published in Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, found that vitamin C halved the incidence and duration of the symptoms of bronchoconstriction, which causes symptoms of asthma during exercise. It also increased the post-exercise capacity of the lung’s small airways by 50 to 150 percent in more than 40 percent of asthmatics.

Source : https://goo.gl/WL2KzQ

World-first Transplant to Treat Macular Degeneration Could Augur Rise of iPS Cell Banks

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

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

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

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

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

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

In today’s procedure — performed at the same hospital and by the same surgeon Yasuo Kurimoto — doctors used iPS cells that had been taken from a donor’s skin cells, reprogrammed and banked. Japan’s health ministry approved the study, which plans to enroll 5 patients, on 1 February.

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

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

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

At a press conference after the procedure, Takahashi said the surgery had gone well but that success could not be declared without monitoring the fate of the introduced cells. She plans to make no further announcements about patient progress until all five procedures are finished. “We are at the beginning,” she says.

Source : https://goo.gl/Jyim9B

This statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it all: Approximately half of all American adults live with a chronic condition, and nearly one-third suffer from multiple. It’s no wonder, then, that chronic sicknesses significantly affect the American healthcare system.

Nowadays, Western medicine focuses on a disease’s specific symptoms, which mostly relieves symptoms or stops their progression. But persistent illness is a systemic problem that relates to a specific organ or several related ones.

Even if you relieve the problem, it’s only a temporary reprieve because the ailment will eventually recur and progress. Regeneration offers a means for eliminating chronic problems, preventively regenerating new cells, tissues, and even complete organs to return the body to its disease-free physiological state.

Stem Cell Therapy

For example, let’s examine chronic atrophic gastritis. A common gastrointestinal tract illness, CAG-induced pain is often treated with tablets that neutralize or adjust the GI’s environment. The condition, however, does destroy the cells in your stomach lining and cause metaplasia, which transforms or replaces them with acid-producing versions that live in your stomach.

Through regenerative rejuvenation, the metaplasia cells could be physiologically replaced by newly regenerated cells of the proper type. Eventually, all GI cell types and distribution will be able to maintain the same normal physiological state you had when you were young.

This is just one example of how regenerative rejuvenation works and how it can reduce the increasing financial burden on this country’s healthcare system. The onus of treatment shouldn’t just fall on doctors trying to find a cure.

Looking inward can enable us to replenish what’s already there. It can be a cost-efficient and less invasive version of recuperation.

Regenerating and Revitalizing the Future of Healthcare
Regenerative properties should be of specific interest to a population that’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to: getting older.

The CDC estimates the United States spends approximately $3 trillion in healthcare each year, about 17.5 percent of the country’s GDP. Chronic illness patients aged 65 and older are up to eight times more likely to incur these costs than those younger than 45.

Regenerative medicine holds the potential to curb those costs by providing more effective and affordable long-term solutions and an improved quality of life. Using the chronic GI illness mentioned above, regenerative medicine could renew a GI tract’s compromised mucosal layer. When it’s healthy, it’s more than capable of enduring both the basic and extremely acidic damage caused by internal fluid.

As people age, the GI mucosal layer becomes thinner, which can lead to chronic conditions such as inflammatory atrophic gastritis. Rather than focus on the symptoms of these conditions, physiological regeneration can restore the thickness and sustainability of the mucosal layer, preventing symptoms from recurring.

But regeneration isn’t just confined to chronic GI issues. Skin, as an external organ, is also susceptible to chronic pathological conditions that may be reversed with regenerative medicine. Physiological regeneration of traumatized tissue can prevent scar formation and potential disability. It can also halt the need for skin grafts that can lead to everlasting healthcare costs to maintain or improve your overall quality of life.

Regeneration isn’t just about getting overall healthcare costs under control; it’s about helping people — especially the chronically ill — enjoy the health and vitality of their youth, even into their golden years.

Exploring alternative means of treatment helps make that sustained contentedness possible. The examples above are just a few of the possibilities represented by regenerative medicine’s potential when utilized by those in need.

As more and more people contract or develop chronic illnesses, options outside the traditional treatment arena need to be explored. Make regeneration one avenue you take a long look at.

Source : https://goo.gl/uP3j9W

FDA-Approved Study Uses Adipose Stem Cells for Treatment of Shoulder Injuries

 

Sanford Health is conducting the first clinical trial approved by the FDA to treat injured shoulders using patients’ adipose stem cells.

“A number of studies have demonstrated that fat-derived stem cells have great healing potential by boosting the immune system and helping the natural healing process,” Jason Hurd, MD, a principal investigator of the study and orthopedic surgeon at Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, told Orthopedics Today. “Also, isolation of fat tissue is less invasive than isolation of other pools of stem cells, such as those found in the bone marrow, which might include a more complicated surgical procedure.”

Hurd and Mark Lundeen, MD, the other lead investigator of the study, began the trial in December to determine whether adipose stem cells, extracted from a patient’s abdominal fat, could repair partial thickness tears in the rotator cuff, according to a press release from Sanford Health. Investigators hypothesize that injecting the stem cells into the injured area could activate the patient’s body’s natural healing process, accelerate healing and regenerate tissue.

“Sanford Health physicians and scientists are the first in the country to work with the FDA on a trial using adipose stem cells in rotator cuff tears, which are common,” Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and chief executive officer of Sanford Health, said in the release. “We have been monitoring the potential of these types of stem cells for some time. In Europe, adipose stem cells have been used as a therapy option for damaged tissues and are approved to carry the CE mark, which signifies that a product has been assessed by and meets certain safety, health and environmental protection requirements in the European Union.” ‒ by Monica Jaramillo

Source : https://goo.gl/VLSG84

Tackling Parkinson Disease Through Cell Rejuvenation

 

It started with a hand tremor that was more pronounced when typing. At first, it just interfered with hobbies. But it got progressively worse. Soon handwriting was illegible. The simple act of walking became difficult. Memory problems and an urgency to urinate finally send the patient to the doctor, for the cruel diagnosis: Parkinson disease, a condition resulting from cell degeneration in the brain.

There are other disorders like it, Alzheimer for example, that share an important trait — they arise when the body’s aging cells stop doing what they are supposed to do.

For many of these conditions, there are no cures, just treatments designed to slow the progression, where possible. But we may soon be looking at new treatment options developed through mitochondrial genetics and the study of aging.

The degeneration of aging cells is related to abnormalities in power plant organelles called mitochondria. In normal cell function, these mitochondria deteriorate over time and are eventually ejected from the cell.

Over the past few decades, researchers have discovered evidence that mitochondria become dysfunctional because of mutations in their DNA. (Mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, is separate from the DNA comprising the chromosomes of a cell’s nucleus.) The dysfunction, in turn, is connected to cellular aging and the onset of degenerative diseases. There are two new developments in this area of research.

Tackling Parkinson Disease Through Cell Rejuvenation

The first involves the realization that while certain mtDNA mutations contribute to the disruption of mitochondrial function, there are mutations in other mitochondrial genes that prevent the cell from removing the dysfunctional mitochondria. Essentially, the cell loses the ability to perform its own quality control.

“We know that increased rates of mtDNA mutation cause premature aging,” said Bruce Hay, Professor of biology and biological engineering at the California Institute of Technology. “This, coupled with the fact that mutant mtDNA accumulates in key tissues such as neurons and muscle that lose function as we age, suggests that if we could reduce the amount of mutant mtDNA, we could slow or reverse important aspects of aging.”

This brings us to the second major development relevant to mitochondria in disease — that genetic technology is now at a point where the targeted removal of the problem mitochondrial genes can become the basis for clinical intervention. This is the implication of research that Hay and colleagues both at Caltech and the University of California at Los Angeles have described in a paper published recently in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.

Fixing body tissues by knocking out genes that prevent bad mitochondrial from being ousted in a timely fashion might sound like science fiction, but that’s where things are going and it’s part of a growing trend of what’s being described as mitochondrial medicine.

With degenerative diseases, the standard treatment involves the replacement of the physiologic function of the diseased tissue. In Parkinson disease, this often means replacing a neurotransmitter called dopamine in a part of the brain where it’s lacking, due to degeneration of dopamine-making cells. While this works well in the initial stages of the disease, it gradually becomes less effective.

There are two new strategies. One is to regenerate the failing tissue using stem cells. The other is gene therapy in which the patients’ own brain cells are given the ability to make something they don’t usually make. For instance, the part of the brain that usually receives dopamine is given the ability to make its own dopamine.

Neurosurgeons are actually quite good at injecting agents into specific regions of the brain with extreme precision. This is why gene therapy and stem cell therapy are showing promise. But this also means there’s a capability to deliver agents that could affect mitochondria. It means that it should be possible in the near future to manage degenerative diseases with a third advance treatment prong: restoring the cell’s ability to expel failing mitochondria.

Source : https://goo.gl/JdfS9M

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