How Do Mesenchymal Stem Cells Work In The Body
Mesenchymal stem cells utilize their self-renewal, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, signaling, and differentiation properties to influence positive change within the body. Mesenchymal stem cells also have the capacity to self-renew by dividing and developing into multiple specialized cell types present in a specific tissue or organ. Mesenchymal stem cells are adult stem cells, meaning they present no ethical concerns, MSCs are not sourced from embryonic material.
What Are Stem Cells
The human body is a complex structure, with many complex cells within it. The vast majority of these cells are highly specialized. For instance, it uses muscle fibers to lengthen and contract muscles, creating movement. Brain cells are composed of long axons that transmit messages from nerve to nerve. Heart cells are a specialized form of muscle cell that keeps the ticker ticking away through the long decades.
Of course, these cells have to come from somewhere. Otherwise, a single egg and sperm could never create the entirety of a human body in all its miraculous function. Thats where stem cells come in. They are the bodys master cells, able to differentiate into more specific cells where needed. While many people associate stem cells with embryos, they actually exist in the adult body in many places, including:
- heart and liver cells
These multipotent stem cells are capable of turning into multiple types of cell. While they are not as powerful as pluripotent stem cells those used by fetuses to become every cell in the human body they do have significant potential. Researchers can take these cells and force them backward into a less differentiated state, so they become induced pluripotent stem cells free of controversy, often coming from the patient themselves and able to become any cell needed, including nerves.
A Decade In The Making
Nearly one million people are living with Parkinsons disease in the United States alone, according to the Parkinsons Foundation. About 60,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinsons each year, and that number is expected to rise to 1.2 million by the end of this decade. It is the fastest rising neurological disorder in the world, with the global number of diagnosed people doubling from 3 to 6 million people between 1990 and 2015. If this development continues, the number of cases will again have doubled by 2040.
If the rate at which Parkinsons growth continues, were going to outgrow the capacity to be able to handle all of the consequences of letting a chronic neurodegenerative disease go unchecked, Michael S. Okun, a neurologist at the University of Florida and one of the worlds leading Parkinsons scientists, told The Daily Beast.
After decades of research, what we know so far is that Parkinsons is caused when dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain die too fast. Often called the happy hormone, dopamine is critical for relaying signals from the brain that give orders of movement to different body parts. A dearth of dopamine will cause tremors and slowed movement. These symptoms only worsen over time, and make it extremely difficult to do even the simplest activities in the late stages of the illness.
And Parkinsons can lead to cognitive effects as well, such as short-term memory loss, difficulties with staying focused, and challenges with impulse control.
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What Are Current Parkinsons Diseases Treatments
Even two centuries after Parkinson identified the disease, we have no cure for PD. The standard therapy aims to provide symptomatic relief. Dr. Emile Nuwaysir, CEO and President of BlueRock Therapeutics* says, The standard of care for Parkinsons Disease, the drug that we use to treat our loved ones, was discovered 66 years ago. Since then, we have not seen any fundamental changes in the therapy. That is an astounding fact when you think about it, in comparison to the advancements weve had in other fields. For example, in aviation, we went from the Wright brothers first flight to Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, in 66 years.
In the late 60s and 70s, clinical researchers discovered that they could treat PD with dopamine replacement therapy. While replacing the lost dopamine eased symptoms and slowed the progression of PD, it didnt address the root cause of the disease an irreversible loss of neurons. The question researchers then began to ask was How do we prevent neurons from degenerating? It would take another two decades to find the answer.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work
Stem cell therapy leverages the power of master cells to replace the missing cells in the body. Nerves, as stated, are not a naturally renewing resource, and they need replenishment by outside means in order to cure the disease. Heres a brief overview of how the process works:
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What Are Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Stem cells are the body’s raw materials â cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are created. Mesenchymal stem cells are adult stem cells that have self-renewal, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, signaling, and differentiation properties. Mesenchymal stem cells , self renewal capacity is characterized by their ability to divide and develop into multiple specialized cell types present in a specific tissue or organ.
Mesenchymal stem cells can be sourced from a variety of tissue including adipose tissue , bone marrow, umbilical cord tissue, blood, liver, dental pulp, and skin.
MSCs are widely used in the treatment of various diseases due to their self-renewable, differentiation, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties. In-vitro and in-vivo studies have supported the understanding mechanisms, safety, and efficacy of MSC therapy in clinical applications.
Red Flags Raising Concerns About A Medical Tourism Facility
Claims of efficacy only based on patient testimonialsClaims of multiple diseases being treated with the same type of stem cellUnclear documentation of the source of the cells or how the treatment will be doneClaims of little or no riskHigh cost of treatment or hidden costsSuggestions that repeat treatments may be needed if not initially successful
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Stem Cell Therapy For Parkinson’s Disease
Stem cell therapy may have the benefit of replacing and repairing damaged dopamine-producing nerve cells within the brain. This has already been found in a study conducted by Neelam K.Venkataramana and colleagues. Seven PD patients aged 22 to 62 years with a mean duration of disease 14.7 Â± 7.56 years were enrolled to participate in the prospective, uncontrolled, pilot study of single-dose, unilateral transplantation of autologous bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells . Patients were followed up for 36 months post-transplant, 3 of the 7 patients showed significant improvement in their Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale of 38%.
According to Medical News Today “Currently, the most common therapy uses the drug levodopa to stimulate dopamine production in certain neurons associated with motor skills. These dopaminergic neurons are situated in the nigrostriatal pathway which is a brain circuit that connects neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta with the dorsal striatum. However, levodopa has a wide array of side effects, from physiological to psychological ones. Also, in the long-term, the benefits of such dopamine-regulating drugs are limited. So, scientists must come up with more effective strategies for repairing the brain damage that Parkinson’s disease causes.”
What Is Gene Therapy
Each cell carries its own genetic code in the form of DNA that translates into different functions. Gene therapy focuses on the use of DNA as a drug to correct inherited genetic abnormalities or to restore functions lost due to disease. One approach is for a functional gene to be inserted in carefully engineered viruses and administered to the patient. At AskBio**, researchers are investigating the role of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor gene therapy for the treatment of PD. GDNF is a growth factor that promotes healthy functioning of brain cells by enhancing levels of this naturally occurring growth factor. GDNF gene therapy is intended to promote the survival and function of vulnerable brain cells that degenerate in PD. Katherine High, MD & President at AskBio says, It is our duty as researchers to constantly challenge the status quo and explore new and unconventional ways of treating diseases. We are in the midst of early clinical studies with a therapy that works on the brains own cellular machinery to regenerate cells. The research looks very encouraging, and we are excited to see what this could do for the PD community.
For people with PD, cell and gene therapies could mean a new reality a reality where treatment options go beyond symptoms and where PD could become a disease that might be stopped or even reversed.
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I Am Willing To Fund The Work
I am willing to fund the work, the mysterious George Lopez had written, whatever it takes to go twice as fast. I hope to benefit from that work. If not me, mankind will be better.
Lopez, Kim would soon learn, had himself been diagnosed with Parkinsons nearly a decade earlier. One evening, while his wife was bedridden at their southern California home with the breast cancer that would take her life, Lopez told her hed been experiencing a tremor, a staccato shaking when his hands werent otherwise moving.
So? his wife, Diana Kostyra Lopez, asked. I think I have Parkinsons, Lopez said. You dont have Parkinsons, she said dismissively.
The way she said it, it made me feel stupid, Lopez recalled in a long discussion with STAT in 2018. It also made me feel better.
Soon, however, neurologist Carolyn Neff confirmed his dreaded hunch: He had Parkinsons disease.
An estimated 1 million people in the U.S. do, and about 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Although the ultimate cause is a little-understood combination of genetics and environment, the immediate trigger is the loss of midbrain dopamine-producing neurons, which sit in the brains substantia nigra and project into the dorsal striatum. That neural highway controls movement. When dopamine cells die, patients suffer tremors, stiffness, and difficulty walking. In the worst cases, they must use a wheelchair and become unable to bathe, feed, and otherwise care for themselves.
Bridging The Translational Gap
Cell-based therapies offer vast therapeutic potential for treating diseases that don’t respond well to conventional therapies. But, as these are still relatively new medical treatments, a significant amount of time and effort is still needed to move a scientific breakthrough into something practical that can be used with actual patients. The industry term for that time and effort is “translational gap” and it is particularly challenging for cell and gene therapies.
“Driven by the NRC’s Cell and Gene Therapy Challenge program and brokered by our International Innovation Office, this collaboration with CiRA and Concordia is a crucial step in minimizing the large translational gap for new engineered cell and gene therapies,” says Dr. Kelley Parato, the NRC’s Cell and Gene Therapy Challenge program director. “It will help make these new treatment opportunities available faster to both Canadian and international patients.”
Bridging that gap starts with the Cell and Gene Therapy Challenge program’s Precision Engineering master project, led by NRC researchers Dr. Simon Drouin and Dr. Anna Jezierski. They have already begun developing the tools and iPS cells required to bring stem-cell therapy into the mainstream.
Dr. Jezierski adds that by developing its own novel iPS cell lines and optimizing the production of the most useful cell types for these therapies, the NRC is making real progress toward validating and translating the research tools into tangibles outcomes.
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Japan Scientists To Use ‘reprogrammed’ Stem Cells To Fight Parkinson’s
Japanese scientists said they will start clinical trials next month on a treatment for Parkinsons disease, transplanting reprogrammed stem cells into brains, seeking a breakthrough in treating the neurodegenerative disorder.
Learn more: Japan scientists to use ‘reprogrammed’ stem cells to fight Parkinson’s
The American Neurological Association is a professional society of academic neurologists and neuroscientists devoted to advancing the goals of academic neurology to training and educating neurologists and other physicians in the neurologic sciences and to expanding both our understanding of diseases of the nervous system and our ability to treat them.
Loss Of Neurons Causes Parkinsons Movement Symptoms
Feng explains there are many different types of dopamine neurons in the human brain, and each type is responsible for different brain functions.
Nigral dopamine neurons, also known as the A9 DA neurons, are responsible for controlling voluntary movements. The loss of these neurons causes the movement symptoms of Parkinsons disease, he says.
Scientists have been trying hard to generate these neurons from human pluripotent stem cells to study Parkinsons disease and develop better therapies, Feng says. We have succeeded in making A9 dopamine neurons from human induced pluripotent stem cells. It means that we can now generate these neurons from any PD patients to study their disease.
Feng notes that A9 DA neurons are probably the largest cells in the human body. Their volume is about four times the volume of a mature human egg.
Over 99 percent of the volume is contributed by their extremely extensive axon branches. The total length of axon branches of a single A9 DA neuron is about 4.5 meters, he says. The cell is like the water supply system in a city, with a relatively small plant and hundreds of miles of water pipes going to each building.
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A Compendious Summary Of Parkinsons Disease Patient
Chao Ren1,2,3#, Fen Wang3#, Li-Na Guan1,4, Xiao-Yu Cheng1, Cai-Yi Zhang5, De-Qin Geng6, Chun-Feng Liu1,3
1Department of Neurology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University , The Affiliated Yantai Yuhuangding Hospital of Qingdao University , 3Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuropsychiatric Diseases and Institute of Neuroscience, Soochow University 4Department of Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit, The Affiliated Yantai Yuhuangding Hospital of Qingdao University , The Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University , , China
Contributions: Conception and design: CF Liu Administrative support: DQ Geng Provision of study materials or patients: LN Guan, XY Cheng, CY Zhang Collection and assembly of data: C Ren, F Wang Data analysis and interpretation: C Ren, F Wang Manuscript writing: All authors Final approval of manuscript: All authors.
#These authors contributed equally to this work.
Keywords: Parkinsons disease induced pluripotent stem cells differentiation dopaminergic neurons cell transplantation
Submitted Jul 09, 2019. Accepted for publication Oct 10, 2019.
Japanese Institute Says Breakthrough Stem Cell Study Was Fabricated
TOKYO — Data in a widely lauded stem-cell research paper was falsified, a Japanese government-funded laboratory said Tuesday, as the lead researcher accused of the malpractice denied any wrongdoing.
The research from the Riken Center for Development Biology in Kobe, western Japan, had been hailed as a possible breakthrough for growing tissue to treat illnesses such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease using a simple lab procedure.
But significant discrepancies in the “game-changing” research published in January in scientific journal Nature led a panel of scientists at Riken to conclude they stemmed from falsified data.
They said researcher Haruko Obokata, the lead author of the paper in Nature, had manipulated or falsified images of DNA fragments used in the research.
“The investigation committee has concluded that Ms. Obokata is responsible for manipulation and therefore for research malpractice,” said Shunsuke Ishii, the Riken scientist who led the committee charged with investigating allegations the work was falsified.
In mid-March, Riken officials had weighed retracting the article over “discrepancies” in how the research article was prepared.
Obokata vehemently objected to the committee’s findings.
“I was outraged and shocked by the committee’s report,” she said in a statement. “I cannot accept the finding, and I intend to make an appeal to Riken in coming days.”
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What Is Parkinson’s The Incurable Disease That Struck Boxer Muhammad Ali
Parkinsons disease affects one in 500 people, and around 127,000 people in the UK live with the condition.
Figures also suggest one million Americans also suffer.
It causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.
It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.
Sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died.
There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific trials are underway to try and change that.
The disease claimed the life of boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 2016.
What Is Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease begins in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. Many of the cells in this area produce the dopamine needed to send signals in the brain that trigger movement. When these cells begin to die off due to the disease, the body cant move as effectively. Eventually, the body loses almost all motor function as well as the ability to carry out other bodily processes.
The good news is that researchers have found several potential paths to Parkinsons treatment that may enable them to slow down or halt the loss of dopamine-producing cells. Eventually, with regenerative medicine, they may be able to replace those cells. Ultimately, that would manifest as the cure for which Parkinsons patients and their loved ones have prayed for since the diseases discovery. But first, how exactly does stem cell therapy work?
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Stem Cells For Parkinson’s Disease Are Safe And Effective
According the Venkataraman and colleagues, “A subjective improvement was found in symptoms like facial expression, gait, and freezing episodes 2 patients have significantly reduced the dosages of PD medicine. These results indicate that our protocol seems to be safe, and no serious adverse events occurred after stem-cell transplantation in PD patients.”
As stated in a 2005 study held by Brian Snyder,
Stem cells offer the potential to provide a virtually unlimited supply of optimized dopaminergic neurons that can provide enhanced benefits in comparison to fetal mesencephalic transplants. Stem cells have now been shown to be capable of differentiating into dopamine neurons that provide benefits following transplantation in animal models of Parkinson’s disease.