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A "cure" for strokes may soon be a simple as growing new brain tissue

An intriguing new study reiterates the promise that stem cells hold for curing many diseases.  Stem cells in the human body can be transformed into a variety of types of cells, depending on what biologic agents they're exposed to.  Initially, stem cells were the subject of much more debate as they were harvested from fetuses, but now scientists are beginning to produce them in the lab by transforming patients' normal tissue cells into stem cells.

In the recent study, a team led by Dr. Mike Modo of the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London investigated replacing stroke-damaged tissue in rats with new tissue from stem cells.  Strokes, caused by blockages in brain blood vessels lead to dead areas of brain tissue.  Past studies have looked at replacing this dead tissue with stem cells, which would grow into new brain tissue.  However, they have met with little success.

The new study, though, shows such growth is possible; the cells just need a scaffolding to grow.  In past studies, the cells migrated to other areas of the brain, making them essentially useless in fixing the problem.  In the new study researchers attach them to a tiny scaffold made of a biodegradable polymer called PLGA, and coated this scaffolding in neural stem cells.  The result is that the damaged brain tissue is regrown successfully in just 7 days.  The technique has a strong likelihood of being able to be applied in humans.

States Dr. Modo, "We would expect to see a much better improvement in the outcome after a stroke if we can fully replace the lost brain tissue, and that is what we have been able to do with our technique.  This works really well because the stem cell-loaded PLGA particles can be injected through a very fine needle and then adopt the precise shape of the cavity.”

“In this process the cells fill the cavity and can make connections with other cells, which helps to establish the tissue.  Over a few days we can see cells migrating along the scaffold particles and forming a primitive brain tissue that interacts with the host brain. Gradually the particles biodegrade leaving more gaps and conduits for tissue, fibres and blood vessels to move into," Dr. Modo continued.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans are used in the study to locate the damaged tissue and the optimal injection site for the scaffolding/stem cell mix.  Subsequent MRI scans track the development of the brain tissue.

The researchers' next step will be to permeate the growing tissue with VEGF, a factor which promotes blood vessels to permeate a tissue.  This will help bring blood flow to the developing brain mass, keeping it alive. 

Professor Douglas Kell, chief executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) which funded the project, states, "Stroke is a leading cause of disability in industrialised countries. It is reassuring to know that the technology for treating stroke by repairing brain damage is getting ever closer to translation into the clinic. This crucial groundwork by Dr Modo and his colleagues will surely be a solid foundation of basic research for much better treatments in the future."

Joe Korner, Director of Communications at The Stroke Association (UK) adds, "This research is another step towards using stem cell therapy in treating and reversing the brain damage caused by stroke. It is exciting because researchers have shown they are able to overcome some of the many challenges in translating the potential of using stem cells into reality.  The potential to reverse the disabling effects of stroke seems to have been proved. However the development of stem cell therapy for stroke survivors is still in the early stages and much more research will be needed before it can be tested in humans or used in practice.  Every five minutes someone in the UK has a stroke and it is vital that we do all we can to help those affected by stroke."

The new research is published in the journal Biomaterials.



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RE: Stem cell research...
By Gzus666 on 3/9/2009 2:08:13 PM , Rating: 2
Not only that, but they will allow federal funding by reversing Bush's archaic embryonic stem cell bans. I may not really enjoy Obama's garbage socialist programs, but I sure do like his affinity towards science.


RE: Stem cell research...
By clovell on 3/9/2009 4:07:44 PM , Rating: 3
I've read through the report Bush commissioned to be written by the top bioethicists and doctors across the country on embryonic stem cell research, and I didn't find it to be archaic.

This is more a result of the strings attached to Obama's hands & feet than any real affinity. I doubt he understands the difference between SCs an ESCs.


RE: Stem cell research...
By Gzus666 on 3/9/2009 6:56:01 PM , Rating: 5
You doubt he knows the difference between stem cells and embryonic stem cells? He isn't an idiot. If you don't like him, I can see why in many aspects, but that goes for both parties in my eyes, but to seriously think he is that naive seems a bit naive in itself.


RE: Stem cell research...
By Tsuwamono on 3/9/2009 6:58:05 PM , Rating: 1
I dont even know what a SC or ESC is but i know stem cell research is required to advance modern medicine.

I don't see any strings on obama.. Cheney is out on the street with bush remember?


RE: Stem cell research...
By DM0407 on 3/9/2009 9:27:10 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
This is more a result of the strings attached to Obama's hands & feet than any real affinity. I doubt he understands the difference between SCs an ESCs.


Yes, Wikipedia is far beyond his capabilities. I think he institutes his socialist agenda simply becuase he can't find a good defintion of Capitalism.

Bush on the other hand wouldn't let a lack of understanding of science (IE: religion) get in the way of his decisions.


RE: Stem cell research...
By InfantryRocks on 3/10/2009 7:33:48 AM , Rating: 3
Archaic? I'm guessing you don't know that embryonic stem cell research has provided absolutely nothing valuable, that is a 100% failure rate. Adult stem cell research, on the other hand, is coming out with breakthroughs quite often.

There is no reason to continue or allow embryonic stem cell research other than a badly sought-after justification of abortion.


RE: Stem cell research...
By MrPoletski on 3/10/2009 10:58:39 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Archaic? I'm guessing you don't know that embryonic stem cell research has provided absolutely nothing valuable, that is a 100% failure rate.


erm, wrong. We wouldn't understand half the things we do about adult stem cells without having studied embryonic ones.

quote:
Adult stem cell research, on the other hand, is coming out with breakthroughs quite often.


I wouldn't call them the kind of breakthroughs we believe embryonic stem cells capable of.

quote:
There is no reason to continue or allow embryonic stem cell research other than a badly sought-after justification of abortion.


LMFAO!!

More right wing trash, how many aborted feti do you think it would require to carry out ALL of the embryonic stem cell research EVER undertaken?

there are plenty of 'justifications' for abortion, never has there been the idea that 'its ok he'll be used to cure palsy' means you can have an abortion. Never ever and it never will.

I mean, this is not to mention that embryonic stem cells can be harvested without killing the fetus!


RE: Stem cell research...
By Dorkyman on 3/10/2009 1:31:57 PM , Rating: 1
The initial comment is valid.

Though the thought of aborting a developing child is abhorrent to many, to others it is a pragmatic choice. The idea that one's embryo might be removed for a "higher purpose" could make abortion more justifiable in some people's minds, and the pro-choice community knows it.

Bush and the pro-lifers were not a bunch of yahoos, rejecting scientific advancement for its own sake; they had/have genuine concern about the specialness of ALL human life, even life in the early stages of growth. This is something the Messiah in Washington and his followers don't seem to get. Pity.


RE: Stem cell research...
By MrPoletski on 3/11/2009 4:50:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Bush and the pro-lifers were not a bunch of yahoos, rejecting scientific advancement for its own sake; they had/have genuine concern about the specialness of ALL human life,

Oh really? special concern for the wellness of ALL human life.

Like Iraqi life huh?
Like Muslim life?
Like all the innocent people (amongst the guilty) you have locked up in guantanamo and refuse to release or compensate?

maybe 'wellness of all human life' would be more accurate as 'wellness of all life we consider human'?


RE: Stem cell research...
By MrPoletski on 3/11/2009 6:40:54 AM , Rating: 2
I have no idea how I managed to substitute wellness for specialness... but that doesn't greatly affect what I was trying to say.

Here's to that first coffee of the morning!


RE: Stem cell research...
By InfantryRocks on 3/10/2009 6:09:27 PM , Rating: 2
Whatever justifications work for you.

However, I find it interesting that Obama allows federal funding for the go-nowhere fetal stem cell research, but cuts spending on the very, very promising and fruitful adult stem cell research. Considering how hard core pro-abortion he is, it could be a fluke, or it could be another means of justification.

As to your "right-wing trash" comment, it's frequently a tool of the left to use ridicule to back their openly morally bankrupt ideas and urges. Good for you for keeping up the standard. You have no ground on this issue, though. Abortion is pure slaughter, and 50 million are dead because of it.

Rock on, liberals.


RE: Stem cell research...
By MrPoletski on 3/11/2009 4:43:58 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Whatever justifications work for you.


you wont see me having an abortion (or me missus)

quote:
However, I find it interesting that Obama allows federal funding for the go-nowhere fetal stem cell research,


'go nowhere' research? says who? you? I thought so.

"but cuts spending on the very, very promising and fruitful adult stem cell research. Considering how hard core pro-abortion he is, it could be a fluke, or it could be another means of justification."

Or it could be the intelligent diversion of funds from one area to another that has the potential for greater things. But because you don't think embrypnic stem cells are of any use (because you are clearly woefully ignorant) you will never think it were done for this reason.

quote:
As to your "right-wing trash" comment, it's frequently a tool of the left to use ridicule to back their openly morally bankrupt ideas and urges.


Erm, it's frequently the tool of everyone arguing against somebody with views they consider ridiculous. Anyone who thinks allowing embryonic stem cell research will create an 'abortion industry' is clueless.

quote:
Good for you for keeping up the standard. You have no ground on this issue, though.


*I* have no ground? you are the one who thinks adult stem cells have more potential than embryonic ones.

I bet you don't even know the difference between the two (except their location of harvest, of course)

quote:
Abortion is pure slaughter, and 50 million are dead because of it.
Rock on, liberals.


While I am far from approving of all abortion, it is sometimes neccesary to prevent loss of life.

This topic is not on the morality of abortion though, but if you 'conservatives' are interested in reducing abortion rates then perhaps you should stop these retarded 'abstinence only' programs that do nothing but increase the teen pregnancy rates wherever they are introduced.


RE: Stem cell research...
By Myg on 3/11/2009 7:51:35 AM , Rating: 2
"Oh really? special concern for the wellness of ALL human life.

Like Iraqi life huh?
Like Muslim life?
Like all the innocent people (amongst the guilty) you have locked up in guantanamo and refuse to release or compensate?"

"While I am far from approving of all abortion, it is sometimes neccesary to prevent loss of life."

Hypocrite much?


RE: Stem cell research...
By shin0bi272 on 3/11/2009 8:10:11 AM , Rating: 2
You are also confusing murder with war fighting and self defense. Our soldiers under the rules of engagement do not fire on anyone unless they are fired upon first or there is an immanent threat (like a guy with an rpg aimed at them)of being shot at. Yes some times innocent civilians get shot in the process and that is a tragedy but it cannot be helped all the time. It's also better that those people who are innocent but no one can identify and/or we arent sure they are completely innocent stay locked up until we can determine whether or not they are hostile. back in jan I think it was they let 2 guys go from gitmo and they went right over to yemin and took over the al qaeda operations the next week. So would it have been better for everyone to have been stuck there till we were absolutely sure they werent hostile or let the guilty and the innocent go because we didnt college forensic evidence on the battle field?

I think that he was referring to aborting the pregnancy when in those rare cases it would also kill the mother.


RE: Stem cell research...
By Myg on 3/11/2009 11:00:58 AM , Rating: 2
Heh, you his lawyer or something? You don't need to cover his mistakes with pointless details.

- First quote:
"Oh really? special concern for the wellness of ALL human life.

Like Iraqi life huh?
Like Muslim life?
Like all the innocent people (amongst the guilty) you have locked up in guantanamo and refuse to release or compensate?"

- Second quote
"While I am far from approving of all abortion, it is sometimes neccesary to prevent loss of life."

If you cant see the contradiction in that, I pity you.


RE: Stem cell research...
By shin0bi272 on 3/11/2009 8:15:47 PM , Rating: 2
the difference between murder and self defense is not a pointless detail. If you are too obtuse to see that there is a difference between killing an unborn child and a terrorist then I would be inclined to invite you to travel over to Iraq and try talking to the terrorists... see if you dont get beheaded in short order. You can re quote your opposition to his points all you want it doesnt make you any more correct. Maybe we should start experimenting on muslims how about that? They want America and Israel to cease to exist at any costs and you defend them... so open minded your brain fell out I guess.


RE: Stem cell research...
By shin0bi272 on 3/11/2009 8:20:55 PM , Rating: 2
oh while I was on here I noted the related articles section of the page and found this: http://www.dailytech.com/Researchers+Make+Leap+in+...

So if they can make stem cells from any tissue now and the terrorists still want us to die we CAN use them for experimentation! Illustrating absurdity by being absurd I am.


RE: Stem cell research...
By MrPoletski on 3/16/2009 7:34:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"Oh really? special concern for the wellness of ALL human life.

Like Iraqi life huh?
Like Muslim life?
Like all the innocent people (amongst the guilty) you have locked up in guantanamo and refuse to release or compensate?"

"While I am far from approving of all abortion, it is sometimes neccesary to prevent loss of life."

Hypocrite much?


Yes congratulations you have noticed me pointing out the hypocrisy of your views.

Pro lifers are so ready to save the foetus's from abortion they do things like murder abortion doctors, leave nailbombs outside abortion clinics. On top of that they are the same people that advocate invading other countries causing the deaths and suffering of millions of innocent people.

yeah, THAT'S hypocrisy, yes.


RE: Stem cell research...
By shin0bi272 on 3/11/2009 7:57:15 AM , Rating: 2
We would be able to understand just as much because there are stem cells in lymph nodes, fat, bone, and placenta... none of which kill babies. PLUS we dont have to experiment with human stem cells or even human embryonic stem cells. We can use pigs because internally they are almost identical to humans. On top of that Bush didnt say no one could study human embryonic stem cells... he just said that he didnt want the federal government to fund it. If you can point to where it says that the government is to fund the killing of unborn children in the constitution or any amendment I'd love to see it.


RE: Stem cell research...
By MrPoletski on 3/19/2009 12:52:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We would be able to understand just as much because there are stem cells in lymph nodes, fat, bone, and placenta... none of which kill babies.


The adult stem cells found in these locations are NOT embryonic and are NOT capable of changing into all tissue types. They will simply change into a small group of tissue types relevant to their application. i.e. a neural stem cell will form new nerve cells, but not skin, bone, liver, kidney or muscle cells.

On top of that, for the love of sanity... you do not need to kill a baby to extract embryonic stem cells from an aborted foetus, nor from a miscarried foetus.

A single foetus would contain enough stem cells to do perform all the experiments on stem cells we have ever done. The only reason they harvest from multiple sources is to maintain genetic diversity (because genetics will affect the stem cells divisive behaviour).

In fact, we could probably start all the ESC research from one single cell that we culture, multiply in the thousands and replace the DNA inside with a spread we have gathered. Unfortunately the tech isn't there to do this reliably (yet).

quote:
PLUS we dont have to experiment with human stem cells or even human embryonic stem cells. We can use pigs because internally they are almost identical to humans.


While pigs and humans share some commonalities that allows heart valves to be nicked out a pig and stuck in a heart patient, on the genetic level they have fewer chromosomes so the genetic anaylsis will be interesting at best.

quote:
On top of that Bush didnt say no one could study human embryonic stem cells... he just said that he didnt want the federal government to fund it.


Indeed that is a good if somewhat incomplete point. He barred the production of new cultures for use in fed funded research meaning they can only use the older and soon to expire cultures already in existance. ESC research was never made illegal, simply effectively killed in the public domain. Privately ESC research will have continued unabated.

quote:
If you can point to where it says that the government is to fund the killing of unborn children in the constitution or any amendment I'd love to see it.


Please don't come out with crap like that or you'll only get flamed for it. Your constitution is not the be all and end all when it comes to things liek this. I mean it's like asking a priest to come out with an official christian stance on the practice of p2p file sharing using only the bible as a reference.

ESC research did not exist and the concept of stem cells was outside human comprehension at the time of authoring the us constitution, so of course it doesn't say anything about it... EITHER WAY!

If you want to find a constitutional position on ESC reasearch then you must look at what power the constitution grants the US government to do scientific research. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure the constitution allows the government to fund scientific research. Hence the constitution allows for ESC research.

The fact that pro life groups equate ESC research to murder is THEIR problem. While you might argue that abortion is murder, experimenting on ESC is not and can never be unless you specifically kill a foetus for the purpose of research. Being as specifically killing a foetus for ESC research is not and never will be neccessary, any situation where that does happen criminal charges can be brought and as far as I am concerned that seals the 'nightmare scenario' (which will never happen) of an abortion industry arising because ESC is publicly funded. It seals it good.


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