Links for Keyword: Stem Cells

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Christen Brownlee In many ways, 9-year-old Jacob Sontag is much like his fourth grade classmates. He loves reading, watching movies, and listening to music, and he's well liked by a large circle of friends. However, Jacob is not a typical boy. He has Canavan disease, a rare neurodegenerative disorder that has gradually depleted the myelin, or electrical insulation, in his brain and confined him to a wheelchair. Jacob and his family are looking to a controversial experimental approach to cure him someday. "We hear a lot of talk about the hope and the promise of stem cells," says Jacob's mother, Jordana Holovach. Jacob's doctor, neuroscientist Paola Leone of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Camden, N.J., says that if today's early research pans out, stem cells transplanted into the boy's brain eventually might replace the myelin-producing cells that he lacks. Researchers seeking cures for many other medical conditions—including type-1 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, osteoporosis, and heart disease—are also looking to stem cell transplants for cures. Copyright ©2005 Science Service.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 7129 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Scientists at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), one of the National Institutes of Health, and their colleagues have isolated human postnatal stem cells for the first time directly from the periodontal ligament, the fibrous, net-like tendon that holds our teeth in their sockets. The scientists also say these cells have "tremendous potential" to regenerate the periodontal ligament, a common target of advanced gum (periodontal) disease. This enthusiasm is based on follow up experiments, in which the researchers implanted the human adult stem cells into rodents, and most of the cells differentiated into a mixture of periodontal ligament — including the specific fiber bundles that attach tooth to bone — and the mineralized tissue called cementum that covers the roots of our teeth. "The stem cells produced beautifully dense, regenerated tissue in the animals," said Dr. Songtao Shi, a senior author on the paper and an NIDCR scientist. "That was when we knew they had great potential one day as a treatment for periodontal disease, and we're continuing to follow up on this promise with additional animal work." The results are published in the current issue of The Lancet. Shi said scientists have suspected since the 1970s that the periodontal ligament might contain its own unique stem cells. But, for a variety of technical reasons, the search had come up empty, leaving some to wonder whether stem cells could be extracted from such a tiny bit of tissue known to contain a confusing mixture of cell types and subsets.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 5787 - Posted: 06.24.2010

When George Bush quietly dismissed two members of his Council on Bioethics on the last Friday in February, he probably assumed the news would get buried under the weekend’s distractions. But ten days later, it’s still hot—see, for example, two articles in Slate, and an editorial in the Washington Post, as well as Chris Mooney's ongoing coverage at his blog. Bush failed to appreciate just how obvious the politics were behind the move. The two dismissed members (bioethicist William May and biochemist Elizabeth Blackburn) have been critical of the Administration. Their replacements (two political scientists and a surgeon) have spoken out before about abortion and stem cell research, in perfect alignment with the Administration. Bush also failed to appreciate just how exasperated scientists and non-scientists alike are becoming at the way his administration distorts science in the service of politics (see this report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, which came out shortly before the bioethics flap). And finally, Bush failed to appreciate that Blackburn would not discreetly slink away. Instead, she fired off a fierce attack on the council, accusing them of misrepresenting the science behind stem cell research and other hot-button issues in order to hype non-existent dangers. The chairman of the council, Leon Kass, failed as well when he tried to calm things down last Wednesday. He claimed that the shuffling had nothing to do with politics, and that he knew nothing about the personal of his new council members. Reporters have pointed out the many opportunities when Kass almost certainly did learn about those views.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 5141 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By ANDREW POLLACK In cloning human embryos and extracting universal stem cells, scientists in South Korea have taken a big step toward a tantalizing goal: growing tailor-made replacement tissues for people who are sick or injured. Imagine new cardiac muscles to restore a heart after a heart attack, insulin-producing cells for diabetics or neurons to stave off Parkinson's disease. But significant scientific barriers lie between this accomplishment and any actual therapy, experts said. Moreover, ethical objections have put such research off-limits to some scientists — including the many in the United States who rely on federal money — and lack of investment has felled many companies trying to develop cell-replacement therapies. The South Korean work is a step toward what is called "therapeutic cloning." The work so far is "proof of concept of cloning but it's not therapeutic yet," said Dr. Steven A. Goldman, chief of the division of cell and gene therapy at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 4963 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Scientists may have found what they hope is a less controversial way of getting special human cells that can turn into any part of the body and potentially solve many diseases. Scientists already know they can get these cells from human embryos—but many people oppose this and the federal government has banned most research. But as this ScienCentral News video reports, this new source doesn't use embryos. Stem cell research is leading scientists to investigate the possibility of regenerative or reparative medicine—treatments in which stem cells "turn into" a specific cell type required to repair damaged adult cells. It's a controversial topic because one source of stem cells is the destruction of embryos. But genetics researchers say they found a new source for stem cells—unfertilized egg cells created by a process called parthenogenesis, a form of reproduction in which the egg develops without being fertilized. © ScienCentral, 2000-2003.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 4761 - Posted: 06.24.2010

— In a study that calls into question the plasticity of adult stem cells, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, have demonstrated that adult bone marrow cells can fuse with brain, heart and liver cells in the body. The phenomenon of fusion would give the appearance that bone marrow stem cells are altering themselves to become mature cells in other tissues, when in fact they are not, according to one of the study's senior authors, HHMI investigator Sean J. Morrison at the University of Michigan. The researchers published their findings October 12, 2003, in the online version of the journal Nature. The studies were carried out by collaborating scientists, Manuel Alvarez-Dolado and Ricardo Pardal, in the laboratories of Arturo Alvarez-Buylla of the University of California, San Francisco and Morrison at the University of Michigan. Other co-authors are from the University of Valencia in Spain, the University of Dusseldorf in Germany and MIT. ©2003 Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 4370 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SACRAMENTO,(AP) — Gov. Gray Davis today signed a law that explicitly allows research on stem cells from fetal and embryonic tissue. The measure is meant to encourage the type of research that the Bush administration made subject to federal limits last year. State officials said they believed they were the first in the country to take such a step. Mr. Davis was joined in announcing the law by the actor Christopher Reeve, who became a stem cell research advocate after an accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. Mr. Davis, Mr. Reeve and other supporters said the legislation was necessary to keep California at the forefront of medical research. The bill was opposed by the Roman Catholic Church and anti-abortion groups. Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 2687 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY President Bush raised a lot of hope but also generated dire warnings a year ago Friday when he decided to limit the use of federal money for research on embryonic stem cells. Now it's clear that neither the hopes nor the fears have fully materialized. Stem cells, found in all human embryos at their earliest stages of development, are the undifferentiated cells capable of turning into all cells the body needs for development. If science could harness their potential, researchers see the prospect of harvesting the cells to treat some of the world's cruelest killers — teaching stem cells to become new brain cells for Parkinson's patients and to form spinal cords for the paralyzed and new insulin-producing cells for diabetics. But harvesting the cells destroys the blastocyst, the 200-cell hollow ball that develops four to six days after sperm meets egg, while creating an ethical issue for many and a serious moral concern for Bush, who believes life begins at conception. © Copyright 2002 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 2414 - Posted: 06.24.2010

The controversy surrounding stem cell research—in particular whether the cells should come from embryonic sources or adult ones—hinges on what, exactly, cells from the two sources are capable of. Embryonic stem cells, which are more politically contentious because they must be harvested from human embryos, can differentiate into any tissue in the human body. Adult stem cells, although available from less controversial sources, have so far shown less plasticity than their embryonic counterparts. Now the results of two studies published online by the journal Nature provide additional insight into the abilities of both classes of stem cells. The findings further suggest that only by investigating the two kinds of stem cells will it be possible to determine which source will prove most useful in treating a particular disease. Catherine Verfaillie and of the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute and her colleagues report that a particular kind of adult stem cell, derived from bone marrow and dubbed a multipotent adult progenitor cell (MAPC), can differentiate into nearly all types of mouse tissue. The scientists injected MAPCs into mice blastocysts (embryos comprised of approximately 100 cells), which were then transferred to foster mothers for gestation. The resultant animals exhibited multiple tissue types, including brain, lung, retina, spleen and skin, attributable to the MAPCs. "Some of the animals are 40 percent derived from the bone marrow stem cells, suggesting that the cells contribute functionally to a number of organs," Verfaillie notes. "This is similar to what one would expect of [embryonic stem] cells." The team next injected MAPCs into a living animal and found that the cells still differentiated into liver, intestine and lung tissue, but overall MAPCs were detected in fewer tissue types than in the blastocyst-injected mice. © 1996-2002 Scientific American, Inc. All rights reserved.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 2249 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Tampa, FL — Intravenous injections of cells from human umbilical cord blood improved the neurological and motor function of rats recovering from severe traumatic brain injury, researchers at Henry Ford Health Sciences Center (HFHSC), Detroit, and the University of South Florida (USF), Tampa, found. The study appears in tomorrow's issue of the journal Cell Transplantation, a special issue that focuses on emerging approaches in neural transplantation and brain repair. It is one of several articles exploring the therapeutic potential of human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) cells as an alternative to embryonic stem cells. While studies of cellular therapies continue to grow in importance, the emphasis has been on neurological diseases like Parkinson's disease and stroke, and, more recently, on spinal cord injury.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 2216 - Posted: 06.24.2010

— Researchers have found that neural stem cells isolated from the brains of adult rats can mature into functional neurons. Stem cells, which are found in tissues throughout the body, are immature progenitor cells that give rise to more specialized cells that form tissues and organs. The scientists emphasized that although their studies show that adult stem cells have the capacity to develop into functioning brain cells, their findings do not mean that clinical application of adult neural stem cells is imminent. The studies were published April 15, 2002, in an advance online article in Nature Neuroscience by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator Charles F. Stevens and colleagues Hong-jun Song, an HHMI research associate, and Fred H. Gage at The Salk Institute. According to Stevens, previous experiments showed that adult neural stem cells bear certain molecular markers that suggested that they could become neurons. “It’s absolutely clear that embryonic stem cells can make perfectly good neurons, otherwise there would be no development of the brain,” said Stevens. “But nobody had demonstrated before that adult stem cells can generate fully functional neurons, beyond just having particular protein markers.” ©2002 Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 1877 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Tampa, FL — University of South Florida neuroscientist Tanja Zigova, PhD, has been awarded a $1.3-million federal grant to study whether stem cells from human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) can rescue the brain from age-related decline. Using an animal model, the 5-year, National Institute on Aging study will address critical questions about HUCB cells' true potential to successfully treat the normal mental declines of aging as well as neurodegenerative diseases. Studies at USF and elsewhere have suggested that HUCB may be a noncontroversial and more readily available source of therapeutic cells for treating neurological diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease and brain injuries such as stroke.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 1960 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Tina Hesman Saey One small step for skin cells could mean one big leap for regenerative medicine. For the first time, scientists have converted adult cells directly into neurons. If the technique, performed on mouse cells, works for human cells, the achievement may bypass the need to revert a patient’s cells to an embryonic state before producing the type of cell needed to repair damage due to disease or injury. Researchers at Stanford University transformed skin fibroblast cells from mice into working neurons by inserting genes that encode transcription factors. Transcription factors are proteins that help regulate gene activity, usually by turning genes on. To convert skin cells into neurons, only three genes for regulatory proteins needed to be added, the team reported online January 27 in Nature. The three transcription factors, called Ascl1, Brn2 and Myt1l, normally appear while new neurons are being born. Scientists previously thought that this type of flexibility required taking cells several steps backward in development to become pluripotent stem cells, which are capable of adopting nearly any identity. Both embryonic stem cells and other pluripotent stem cells that are created in the lab have these capabilities. The new technique skips the stem cell stage entirely, converting one cell type directly into another. © Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2010

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 13729 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Roxanne Khamsi Embryonic and adult stem cells offer similar protection against neurodegenerative disease, according to a landmark study in mice which has achieved a number of firsts with human stem cells. For the first time, rodents genetically predisposed to disease lived longer and healthier lives after receiving injections of the human cells, researchers claim. “We have been talking about stem cells for a decade and no one had cured anything with stem cells before this,” comments Eva Mezey, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, US, who was not involved in the work. In the new study, Evan Snyder of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, California, US, and colleagues studied mice with a mutation in a gene called Hex. This mutation leads to a deficiency in an enzyme that breaks down fatty substances called lipids. As a result, these lipid molecules accumulate in the brain and spinal cord, destroying cells and causing the loss control over body movement. Mice with the disorder die prematurely, at around 120 days of age. In humans, similar mutations in the Hex gene lead to illnesses such as Tay Sachs disease and Sandhoff’s disease, which lead to death within the first few years of life because no treatment exists. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 10063 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Roxanne Khamsi Stem cells can help restore some function in injured rats with spinal cord damage, suggests a new study. The team, led by Michael Fehlings at the Toronto Western Research Institute, Canada, used stem cells taken from mice brains. They injected a finely tuned cocktail of growth hormones, anti-inflammatory drugs and the cells into rats with crushed spines. Although rats not given the stem cell treatment naturally regained some of their hind limb function two weeks after the injury, they were extremely uncoordinated. The stem cell treatment improved limb function, although it did not completely restore it. The study is important, says Phillip Popovich at Ohio State University in Columbus, US. He notes that the special cocktail of growth hormones and anti-inflammatory compounds used in the rats could play a crucial role in making stem cell therapies work. However, he cautions that this type of approach might be difficult to administer to humans. “I would think the biggest drawback is the complexity of the approach. From a logistical standpoint, instrumenting catheters and preparing cells for transplantation will be an expensive venture,” he told New Scientist. “Patients aren’t going to be given a pill or a shot.” © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 8725 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Scientists report for the first time that “baby” teeth, the temporary teeth that children begin losing around their sixth birthday, contain a rich supply of stem cells in their dental pulp. The researchers say this unexpected discovery could have important implications because the stem cells remain alive inside the tooth for a short time after it falls out of a child’s mouth, suggesting the cells could be readily harvested for research. According to the scientists, who published their findings online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the stem cells are unique compared to many “adult” stem cells in the body. They are long lived, grow rapidly in culture, and, with careful prompting in the laboratory, have the potential to induce the formation of specialized dentin, bone, and neuronal cells. If followup studies extend these initial findings, the scientists speculate they may have identified an important and easily accessible source of stem cells that possibly could be manipulated to repair damaged teeth, induce the regeneration of bone, and treat neural injury or disease. “Doctors have successfully harvested stem cells from umbilical cord blood for years,” said Dr. Songtao Shi, a scientist at NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and the senior author on the paper. “Our finding is similar in some ways, in that the stem cells in the tooth are likely latent remnants of an early developmental process.”

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 3717 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Toni Baker Dr. Paul Sohal, developmental biologist at the Medical College of Georgia, is exploring the potential for a possible new cell type he's found that is capable of making all four of the major human tissues.] A cell type with the potential for making the four major types of human tissue has been found in the stomach and small intestine by a Medical College of Georgia researcher. These VENT cells have been found in addition to the three sources of cells typically associated with gastrointestinal development, says Dr. Paul Sohal, MCG developmental biologist, who first identified these cells nearly a decade ago. Identification of VENT -- ventrally emigrating neural tube -- cells within the stomach and small intestine is another piece in Dr. Sohal’s effort to fully define and describe the cells that he first found migrating out from the neural tube of a chick embryo. Copyright 2003 Medical College of Georgia All rights reserved.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 3471 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Cloned Cells Cure Parkinson’s in Rat Model Scientists at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago have discovered an important shortcut to creating a more efficient, more reliable, and safer source of stem cells with the ability to turn into specific neurons or brain cells. Paul Carvey, PhD, chairman of pharmacology at Rush, used his team's discovery to clone several generations of stem cells that, when grafted into the brains of rats with a Parkinson's like disease, developed into healthy dopamine neurons. This effectively cured the animals' severe Parkinsonian symptoms. The ability to clone large numbers of stem cells that would become neurons also has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and numerous other diseases and disorders of the brain and nervous system. The findings, and their clinical significance, were presented at the Experimental Biology 2002 meetings in New Orleans last month. This study is the first to identify the signal that instructs stem/progenitor cells to become dopamine neurons, the cells that degenerate in the brain of patients with Parkinson's disease.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 2056 - Posted: 06.24.2010

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL - Researchers at the University of Minnesota provide evidence for the first time that stem cells derived from adult bone marrow and injected into the blastocyst of a mouse can differentiate into all major types of cells found in the brain. The results of the research are published as the lead article in the April 25, 2003 issue of Cell Transplantation. The potential of these adult stem cells, termed multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs), were the subject of research reported in Nature in June 2002. The research reported this week in Cell Transplantation takes a specific look at the ability of MAPCs to develop into cells typically found in the brain. Adult stem cells were injected into a mouse blastocyst, an early embryonic stage of a mouse. The result is the birth of a chimerical animal an animal that shows the presence of both the cells from the host mouse as well as cells that have developed from the transplanted stem cells. Within the brain, the transplanted stem cells developed into nerve cells that typically conduct electrical impulses, glial cells that provide support to the nerve cells, and myelin-forming cells that enhance the conduction of electrical impulses by nerve cells. “This research takes our findings a step further,” said principal investigator Walter C. Low, Ph.D., department of Neurosurgery, University of Minnesota Medical School.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 3736 - Posted: 06.24.2010

by Linda Geddes STEM cells show promise for treating a range of neurological conditions, including Parkinson's, strokes and Alzheimer's, but it is tricky getting them into the brain. Perhaps inhaling stem cells might be the answer - if mice are anything to go by. Other options all have their drawbacks. Drilling through the skull and injecting the stem cells is painful and carries some risks. You can also inject them into the bloodstream but only a fraction reach their target due to the blood-brain barrier. The nose, however, might be a viable alternative. In the upper reaches of the nasal cavity lies the cribriform plate, a bony roof that separates the nose from the brain. It is perforated with pin-size holes, which are plugged with nerve fibres and other connective tissue. Since proteins, bacteria and viruses can enter the brain this way, Lusine Danielyan at the University Hospital of Tübingen in Germany, and her colleagues, wondered if stem cells would also migrate into the brain through the cribriform plate. To test their idea, they dripped a suspension of fluorescently labelled stem cells into the noses of mice. The mice snorted them high into their noses, and the cells migrated through the cribriform plate. Then they travelled either into the olfactory bulb - the part of the brain that detects and deciphers odours - or into the cerebrospinal fluid lining the skull, migrating across the brain. The stem cells then moved deeper into the brain. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 13256 - Posted: 06.24.2010