Scientists in Melbourne for the first time have created a human stem cell reserve in Australia using a technique that avoids destroying embryos, which was developed in Japan and the United States.
The team from the Monash medical research institute produced an induced pluripotent stem cell line (IpS) that acts like embryonic stem cells, but are derived from adult skin cells. The method used to reprogram adult stem cells developed last year in Japan and the United States allows for the production of IpSs, which are used to study degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s without having to deal with ethical objections.
A notice for 8 million euros in funding for stem cell projects, a line of research that promises important results for ocular diseases, Parkinson’s, heart diseases, and the fight against tumors was announced by deputy health minister Ferruccio Fazio, who while speaking to the AGI press agency underlined “the importance of regenerative medicine, one of the great hopes for the future, as well as biotechnologies for new treatments altering molecular systems”.
The notification will expire on July 20 and is intended for universities, the National Research Council (CNR), and other private and public research groups. Three independent judges, one of whom will be from abroad, will evaluate the projects that are presented. The research topics eligible for funding include innovative strategies for experimental models (cellular and animal), risk/benefit analysis for pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments and epidemiology research.
Scientists have created a way to isolate neural stem cells – cells that give rise to all the cell types of the brain – from human brain tissue with unprecedented precision, an important step toward developing new treatments for conditions of the nervous system, like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases and spinal cord injury.
The latest paper marks a six-year effort by Goldman’s team to develop a better way to isolate pure preparations of neural stem cells directly from the human brain. These stem cells can renew themselves and have the potential to become a number of brain cell types – for instance, oligodendrocytes that might help people with multiple sclerosis, or neurons to help people with Parkinson’s disease. But after the first few months of human embryonic development, they become rare in the brain, and it’s challenging for scientists to find, isolate and manipulate them. Yet those challenges must be met if stem cells are to live up to their promise as treatments for a host of human diseases of the nervous system.
Scientists have pioneered a unique delivery system to administer therapeutic stem cells to the brain, by way of a simple nasal spray. Once the droplets containing the stem cells are snorted through the nose, the solution breaks through the blood-brain barrier, seeding the brain with the stem cells (…)
Scientists from the University of Minnesota and the University Hospital of Tuebingen, Germany conducted the research. The researchers administered the nasal spray containing rat stem cells to mice and within an hour, the rat stem cells were visible in the mice brains. The researchers then repeated the experiment using human stem cells and they also penetrated the blood-brain barrier within an hour.
It’s believed the stem cells enter the brain through the olfactory nerves through small holes in the cribriform plate, which is a thin horizontal part of the skull at the base of the brain.
The researchers further found that administering an enzyme called hyaluronidase, to the mice before having them snort the stem cells, enabled greater amounts of stem cells to travel to the brain.
The nasal delivery system has obvious benefits over drilling into a patient’s skull to administer the stem cells, which can cause inflammation and infection.
Lead researcher William Frey, an adjunct professor of pharmaceutics at Minnesota noted, “When you cut into the brain, that leads to an inflammatory response,” says Frey. “We’re hoping this will help. We didn’t see evidence that intranasal stem cell treatment caused inflammation.” (…)
A team of researchers has now compared the ability of cellsderived from different types of human stem cell to reverse disease in a rat model of Parkinson disease and identified a stem cell population that they believe could be clinically relevant.
Parkinson disease results from the progressive loss of a specific subpopulation of nerve cells. Current treatments provide only relief from the symptoms of the disease and cannot reverse the nerve cell loss.
Stem cells are considered by many to be promising candidate sources of cells to reverse nerve cell loss in individuals with Parkinson disease through their ability to regenerate and repair diseased tissues.