Tag Archives: Food and Drug Administration

Stanford’s Irving Weissman on the (lost?) promise of stem cells

Stanford stem cell researcher Irving Weissman, MD, published an article in Cell Stem Cell today discussing barriers to stem cell research:

While I am usually an optimist, I must admit that there is a possibility that we will continue to be in the Dark Ages of medicine for quite some time. I fear that therapies using purified tissue and organ-specific stem cells – the only self-renewing cells in a tissue or that can regenerate that tissue or organ for life – will remain elusive.

Weissman, who directs Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, goes on to cover the
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Gov. Rick Perry wants to put stem cells therapy to the test in Texas

In his latest defiance of the federal government, Gov. Rick Perry is trying to make Texas the nation’s top provider of an unlicensed therapy touted by some as the future of medicine but considered not close to ready for mainstream use by scientists in the field.

Perry this summer worked with his Houston doctor and a state legislator with multiple sclerosis to write legislation intended to commercialize the controversial therapy, which involves injecting patients with their own stem cells. Perry quietly got the therapy as part of back surgery in July.

“With the right policies in place, we can lead the
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Research Team Overcomes Major Obstacle for Stem Cell Therapies and Research

Professor Jeanne Loring

Stem cells show great potential to enable treatments for conditions such as spinal injuries or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and also as research tools. One of the greatest problems slowing such work is that researchers have found major complications in purifying cell mixtures, for instance to remove stem cells that can cause tumors from cells developed for use in medical treatments. But a group of Scripps Research scientists, working with colleagues in Japan, have developed a clever solution to this purification problem that should prove more reliable than other methods, safer, and perhaps 100 times cheaper.

The work
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Scientists reprogram cancer cells with low doses of epigenetic drugs

Experimenting with cells in culture, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have breathed possible new life into two drugs once considered too toxic for human cancer treatment. The drugs, azacitidine (AZA) and decitabine (DAC), are epigenetic-targeted drugs and work to correct cancer-causing alterations that modify DNA.

The researchers said that the drugs also were found to take aim at a small but dangerous subpopulation of self-renewing cells, sometimes referred to as cancer stem cells, which evade most cancer drugs and cause recurrence and spread.

In a report published in the March 20 issue of Cancer Cell, the Johns Hopkins
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StemCells, Inc. Receives FDA Authorization for Age-Related Macular Degeneration Clinical Trial

StemCells Inc. today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the initiation of a Phase I/II clinical trial of the Company’s proprietary HuCNS-SC® product candidate (purified human neural stem cells) in dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common form of AMD. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over 55 years of age, and approximately 30 million people worldwide are afflicted with the disease. There are no approved treatments for dry AMD.

“With the approval of this trial, we have accomplished something truly unique in the stem cell field, which
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