Business Wire summarized an editorial appearing in the August issue of Stem Cells and Development. The editorial can be found at www.liebert.com. According to the Business Wire summary, the editorial calls into question whether or not stem cells differentiate (form another kind of cell) in the ways previously thought, and whether differentiation has a therapeutic effect. One theory is that the differentiation of stem cells depends upon the decreased or inhibitit expression of proteins, rather than the addition of new proteins. Another is that neural stem cells dampen inflammatory responses on brain and nervous tissue, allowing the existing tissue to heal.
EurekAlert published a press release describing a study also in the September 4 on-line edition of Nature Genetics conducted by Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and the Institute of Biomedical Research of the Parc Científic de Barcelona (IRB-PCB). In the study, researchers examined how stem cells begin to form specialized tissue. They discovered that if the molecules which help a cell to become a particular kind of tissue are in wrong location within the cells, the new cells rapidly develop into tumors. (I-newswire picked this story up a week later.)
The Sydney Morning Herald (dateline 9/3/05) reported that a summit of Australian and Japanese stem cell researchers would be taking place. The summit was prompted by a need for research alliances on both scientific and economic fronts.
Kansas State University issued a press release announcing the formation of the Midwest Institute for Comparative Stem Cell Biology. A copy of the release can be found on releases.usnewswire.com. Researchers will focus on stem cells derived from the umbilical cord.
Ascribe Newswire reported that at a conference in Charlottesville, Virginia on September 10-13, results from 47 different studies on stem cells derieved from adipose tissue (fat) would be presented. Findings will show that fat-derived stem cells can potentially be used to repair or replace damaged tissue.
An adaptation on Science Daily of a press release from University of California, San Francisco reports that UCSF researcher have found that stem cells in the brain may be the primary source of brain tumors. The original press release was dated August 31, 2005, and references a study appearing in the August 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The cellular origin of brain tumors has been unknown, and the NEJM article reported on research from around the world showing a link between neural stem cells and malignant brain tumors, called gliomas.
A report on pharmaceutical-business-review says that in a study funded by ViaCell and conducted in association with Toronto General Hospital showed that four weeks after stem cells from umbilical cord blood were grafted into patients' hearts, heart function had improved compared to the control group.
A press release on EurekAlert reported that researchers at the University of Pittsbugh have used pluripotent stem cells found in muscles to cure uninary incontinence in laboratory animals. Human trials are beginning in Canada. Other reports on the same study were published on www.sciencedaily.com and news.monstersandcritics.com, both originally from United Press International.
The Register, based in the United Kingdom, reported that the European Union had committed $32 million to research on stem cell tissue engineering technologies. The project's goal is to learn how to build particular tissues (skin, bone, cartilage) in large quantities for medical use. The project leader is Dr. David Williams at the UK Centre for Tissue Engineering. A United Press International article (sourcing the London Mirror) appeared on the same subject on 9/6/05 on the on-line site www.physorg.com.
The PakTribune, based in Pakistan, reported that an article had appeared in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. In the Circulation article, Dr. Richard C. Lee, a researcher at Harvard Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and his collegues found that treatment with Vitamin C converted embryonic stem cells to heart cells. Creating heart cells from embryonic cells has been very difficult, and of 880 compunds tested, only 1 worked.
The Pitt News, the newspaper for the University of Pittsburgh, reported that researchers at the University have conducted a study showing that amniotic epithelial cells, or cells from the placenta, had not caused any cancer tumors seven months after being injected into mice. Unlike embryonic stem cells, amniotic epithelial cells cannot reproduce indefinitely. The amniotic cells lack an enzyme called telomerase, which is associated with many cancers. One fear about stem cells is that they may cause cancer after transplantation.
MyDNA.com reported that researchers at Imperial College in London produced lung cells that exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen from embryonic stem cells. The source of the original study was not reported.
A press release from Corethics.org reported on an article appearing in the European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery Volume 28, Issue 3, September 2005, Pages 461-466. According to the press release, researchers at Stanford University and Hannover Hospital in Germany have found that embryonic stem cells were rejected by patients' bodies after being implanted.
A press release on i-newswire summarized an article published on August 26 in Science. Researchers Kevin Eggan and Douglas Melton of Harvard, along with others, fused adult human fibroblast cells (some taken from pelvic bones) with embryonic cells and found that the fusion cells had the reproductive capabilities of embryonic cells. The eventual goal is to eliminate the embryotic stem cell nucleus and create embryonic cells from human adult cells.