Researchers looking for ways to regenerate nerves can have a hard time obtaining key tools of their trade.
Schwann cells are an example. They form sheaths around axons, the tail-like parts of nerve cells that carry electrical impulses. They promote regeneration of those axons. And they secrete substances that promote the health of nerve cells.
In other words, they’re very useful to researchers hoping to regenerate nerve cells, specifically peripheral nerve cells, those cells outside the brain and spinal cord.
But Schwann cells are hard to come by in useful numbers.
So researchers have been taking readily available and noncontroversial mesenchymal stem cells
Advancements in stem cell research may one day help surgeons provide treatment for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a deadly neurodegenerative disease characterized by the selective death of motor neurons.
CD133+ stem cells are known to have the capacity to differentiate into neural lineages and may provide an alternative treatment for patients suffering from ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
According to Newswise, Linda Kelley, Ph.D., director of the University of Utah’s Cell Therapy Facility, James Campanelli, Ph.D., of University of Utah spin-out Q Therapeutics, Inc., and Utah native Nicholas Maragakis, M.D., of The Johns Hopkins University
Scientific inspiration can come from anywhere — a person, an event, even an experiment gone awry. But perhaps nothing can drive innovation more powerfully than the passion born of tragedy. Or, in Douglas Melton’s case, near tragedy. The co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) is one of the leading figures in the search for cures for presently incurable diseases, and his breakthrough work is challenging many long-held beliefs about the ways biology and human development work.
But it was a very personal experience that brought Melton to stem cells, one that 17 years later he still finds difficult
MENLO PARK, Calif., August 18, 2009 – Geron Corporation announced that its IND (Investigational New Drug application) for GRNOPC1, a cell therapy for neurologically complete, subacute spinal cord injury, has been placed on clinical hold by the FDA pending the agency’s review of new nonclinical animal study data submitted by the company. A clinical hold is an order that the FDA issues to a sponsor to delay a proposed trial or to suspend an ongoing trial.
Since filing the IND, Geron has been undertaking studies to enable dose escalation of its spinal cord injury product, and has been investigating application
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Complications and unanticipated side-effects that have slowed the progression of stem cell studies from the lab to the clinic could soon change, researchers say.
For a decade, stem cells have tantalized scientists and patients with their promise to regenerate damaged tissues and offer treatments for incurable diseases.
No one hears, however, about the individuals who died due to complications of surgery, said Dr. Hans Keirstead, a Canadian researcher who made a paralyzed rat walk back in 2004 by injecting its spinal cord with cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.
Keirstead’s lab at the University of California-Irvine just received approval