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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Man Receives His Own Stem Cells as a Treatment for Heart Failure





"The first person to receive a new cardiac stem cell treatment in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration clinical trial is doing well, it was announced last week.

On Friday, doctors at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, in collaboration with the nearby Jewish Hospital, issued a press release stating that one week after treatment, Mike Jones’s heart was getting stronger.

Jones, whose heart tissue is permanently scarred and weakened by two previous heart attacks, suffers from congestive heart failure, a condition affecting about five million Americans each year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Currently, two treatment options predominate for patients with heart failure, said Mark Slaughter, a cardiovascular surgeon who aided in the trial. A person can receive a heart transplant or a mechanically assisted heart device.

The new approach, using a patient’s adult stem cells to regenerate healthy heart tissue, is currently in phase I clinical trials to test for safety. The procedure consists of removing healthy heart tissue from the patient, purifying the stem cells from the material, and allowing the stem cell population to grow. Once ready, the stem cells are reintroduced into the scarred region of the heart using a minimally invasive technique.

Since the re-injection of his own stem cells on July 17, Jones’s heart has increased its ability to pump blood by about 5 percent."

source:http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/60-second-science/post.cfm?id=man-receives-his-own-stem-cells-as-2009-07-27"

What are stem cells?
-------------------
"Stem cells are distinguished from other cell types by two important characteristics. First, they are unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves through cell division, sometimes after long periods of inactivity. Second, under certain physiologic or experimental conditions, they can be induced to become tissue- or organ-specific cells with special functions. In some organs, such as the gut and bone marrow, stem cells regularly divide to repair and replace worn out or damaged tissues. In other organs, however, such as the pancreas and the heart, stem cells only divide under special conditions."

"Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. In addition, in many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.Until recently, scientists primarily worked with two kinds of stem cells from animals and humans: embryonic stem cells and non-embryonic "somatic" or "adult" stem cells. In 1998, a method to derive stem cells from human embryos and grow the cells in the laboratory was invented. These cells are called human embryonic stem cells. The embryos used in these studies were created for reproductive purposes through in vitro fertilization procedures. When they were no longer needed for that purpose, they were donated for research with the informed consent of the donor. In 2006, researchers made another breakthrough by identifying conditions that would allow some specialized adult cells to be "reprogrammed" genetically to assume a stem cell-like state. This new type of stem cell, called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)."

"Stem cells are important for living organisms for many reasons. In the 3- to 5-day-old embryo, called a blastocyst, the inner cells give rise to the entire body of the organism, including all of the many specialized cell types and organs such as the heart, lung, skin, sperm, eggs and other tissues. In some adult tissues, such as bone marrow, muscle, and brain, discrete populations of adult stem cells generate replacements for cells that are lost through normal wear and tear, injury, or disease."

"Given their unique regenerative abilities, stem cells offer new potentials for treating diseases such as diabetes, and heart disease. However, much work remains to be done in the laboratory and the clinic to understand how to use these cells for cell-based therapies to treat disease, which is also referred to as regenerative or reparative medicine."

"Laboratory studies of stem cells enable scientists to learn about the cells’ essential properties and what makes them different from specialized cell types. Scientists are already using stem cells in the laboratory to screen new drugs and to develop model systems to study normal growth and identify the causes of birth defects."

"Stem cells differ from other kinds of cells in the body. All stem cells—regardless of their source—have three general properties: they are capable of dividing and renewing themselves for long periods; they are unspecialized; and they can give rise to specialized cell types."

"Stem cells are unspecialized. One of the fundamental properties of a stem cell is that it does not have any tissue-specific structures that allow it to perform specialized functions. For example, a stem cell cannot work with its neighbors to pump blood through the body (like a heart muscle cell), and it cannot carry oxygen molecules through the bloodstream (like a red blood cell). However, unspecialized stem cells can give rise to specialized cells, including heart muscle cells, blood cells, or nerve cells."

"Stem cells can give rise to specialized cells. When unspecialized stem cells give rise to specialized cells, the process is called differentiation. While differentiating, the cell usually goes through several stages, becoming more specialized at each step. Scientists are just beginning to understand the signals inside and outside cells that trigger each stem of the differentiation process. The internal signals are controlled by a cell's genes, which are interspersed across long strands of DNA, and carry coded instructions for all cellular structures and functions. The external signals for cell differentiation include chemicals secreted by other cells, physical contact with neighboring cells, and certain molecules in the microenvironment. The interaction of signals during differentiation causes the cell's DNA to acquire epigenetic marks that restrict DNA expression in the cell and can be passed on through cell division."

source:http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/

The image I posted above is an actual image of a stem cell: source:Amy Shah http://www.amyshah.com/

2 comments:

David Granovsky said...

While this is indeed an adult stem cell victory; it is also very sad that the US is so far behind the rest of the world in stem cell treatments.

To make matters worse, they are now bragging about being the first? Wow. For the record, he is not the first. Not even close. In fact...

1. There have been MANY clinical trials in the US prior to this one.
2. Adult Stem Cells have been used to treat cardiac disease around the world for 5 years.

Here's the proof:
http://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/07/29/first-ever-stem-cell-heart-patient/

Wayne said...

Hi David,
thanks for visiting my blog and thank you for your comments concerning the article, and for clarifying the origin date for the use of adult stem cells. Thanks also for the link
Sincerely,
Wayne

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Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



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Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



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Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.