Stem Cells offer hope of ‘repairing’ MS damage

Scientists have identified a way of prompting nerve system repair in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Studies on rats by Cambridge and Edinburgh University researchers identified how to help stem cells in the brain regenerate myelin sheath, needed to protect nerve fibres.
MS charities said the “exciting” Nature Neuroscience work offered hope of restoring physical functions.

But they cautioned it would be some years before treatments were developed.
MS is caused by a defect in the body’s immune system, which turns in on itself, and attacks the fatty myelin sheath.

It is thought to affect around 100,000 people in the UK.
Around 85% have the relapsing/remitting form
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Efficient process using microRNA converts human skin cells into neurons

The addition of two particular gene snippets to a skin cell’s usual genetic material is enough to turn that cell into a fully functional neuron, report researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The finding, published online July 13 in Nature, is one of just a few recent reports of ways to create human neurons in a lab dish.

The new capability to essentially grow neurons from scratch is a big step for neuroscience research, which has been stymied by the lack of human neurons for study. Unlike skin cells or blood cells, neurons are not something that’s easy
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China and California collaboration on Stem Cells

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) have agreed to collaborate on stem cell research. The agreement will make it easier to form cross-border teams that are working in similar areas. If the teams’ funding requests are approved, the researchers in each country will be supported by their respective agency, CIRM or MOST. The formal announcement, made today, adds details to a story that ChinaBio® Today originally broke late last week (…)

“Our collaboration will benefit patients in our countries and patients around the globe,” said Wan Gang, Minister, MOST. “We
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Face-surgery patients to grow their own bones

BRITISH face surgeons are to grow new skull, cheek and jaw bones on patients’ backs using their own stem cells.
The surgeons, from Barts and the London NHS Trust, hope to use the technique to help people whose facial bones have been destroyed by cancer or injury.

Four patients are awaiting the treatment, which the surgeons believe could eventually become a less risky alternative to face transplants. Two are cancer victims and two have had accidents.
The team, led by Iain Hutchison, will make the first attempt to grow replacement bone from a patient’s own stem cells in Britain.

The procedure involves constructing
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German match for leukaemia boy

Doctors hope a Nottinghamshire boy with leukaemia can undergo a stem cell transplant in May.

Roman Cusick, from Calverton, is currently recovering from chemotherapy.

If he is deemed to be well enough, he will receive cells from an umbilical cord from a German donor in a procedure at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

In February almost 200 people in Calverton helped took part in a saliva test to see if they were a suitable match.

Leukaemia occurs when large numbers of white blood cells take over the bone marrow, leaving the body unable to produce enough normal blood cells.

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