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STEM CELL RESEARCH
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STEM CELL RESEARCH IN PROGRESS TO EXPLORE MORE AND TO CONQUER DISEASE

New Stem Cell Technique for Leukemia Treatment
British scientists have developed a new stem cell technique that could help patients with advanced leukemia or lymphoma.
They genetically tinkered with donor stem cells -- master cells that can develop into virtually any cell type -- so that they can survive highly toxic chemotherapy.

Trial of High-Risk Therapy for Severe MS Planned
LONDON (Reuters Health) - Scientists announced plans on Monday for a major trial of a controversial stem cell therapy in people with severe multiple sclerosis (MS) who do not respond to conventional treatment.

The therapy involves removing and storing the patients' own stem cells from bone marrow, then using drugs to knock out the immune system in order to stabilize the course of MS.
The stem cells are transplanted back into the body to reconstitute the lost blood cells. Patients have very few infection-fighting white blood cells for the first 10 days and have to stay in an extremely clean environment until the stem cell therapy takes a hold.

Stem Cells Used to Treat Brain Cancer in Mice
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Injecting neural stem cells engineered to produce a cancer-killing protein into mice with brain cancer extends the animals' survival and even immunizes a third of them against the cancer, researchers said on Monday.
"Malignant brain tumors are highly invasive. The main tumor mass often spawns outgrowth...this is a way to target cancer cells that migrate away from the primary brain tumor," said Dr. Moneeb Ehtesham, an author of the study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Stem Cell Science Offers New Hope to Diabetics
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Type 1 diabetes patients may be able to avoid the need for daily insulin shots through transplants of insulin-producing stem cells, but the procedure faces some hurdles including finding the cells and dealing with immune-system rejection, researchers said. Researchers have sought for decades to prove that islet cell transplantation could be a cure for Type 1 diabetes, said Taylor Mayo, a spokesman for the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, California, one of 10 research centers chosen by the US National Institutes of Health (news - web sites) to conduct studies aimed at duplicating on a larger scale the islet cell transplantation done in Canada.

Hopes Raised of Using Stem Cells For Treating Muscular Dystrophy
A rare natural experiment has given researchers hope of using stem cells to treat muscular dystrophy, a group of genetic diseases that cause progressive wasting of the muscles.
Umbilical Stem Cells Show Promise
SEATTLE Scientists said Tuesday they can increase the number of stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood significantly by exposing the blood to a particular molecule. The finding could have important implications for stem cell research.
Dr. Irwin Bernstein, a pediatric oncologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and the University of Washington, in Seattle, led a research team to determine how best to use stem cells that can be derived from umbilical cord blood.

Stem Cells Offer Hope to Heart Attack Victims
LONDON (Reuters) - Stem cells may help patients recover from heart attacks by triggering new cell growth in damaged tissue, scientists said on Friday.



Stem cells are so-called master cells that can develop into various tissues in the body and using them to repair damaged hearts is a hot area of medical research.


Two teams of doctors from Germany and Hong Kong reported promising results after transplanting stem cells extracted from bone marrow into heart muscle, although they said more research was needed on the procedure.


The aim of the procedure is to stimulate blood vessel growth in areas without sufficient blood supply, a process known as angiogenesis. It could eventually offer hope to patients with serious coronary heart disease and those unable to undergo bypass surgery.

Researchers Find Key Stem Cell Gene
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - By knocking out a gene in mice, researchers have discovered it plays a key role in embryonic stem cell development.



The gene, dubbed Sox2, helps maintain the ability of these stem cells to grow into a variety of different types of cells, according to a report published in the journal Genes & Development.


Sox2 is the second gene discovered that helps stem cells maintain "plasticity," according to study co-author Dr. Robin Lovell-Badge, a researcher in the Division of Developmental Genetics at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London. The first gene was called Oct4.


"In the absence of either gene, these cells lose their plasticity and can no longer be this type of cell," Lovell-Badge said in an interview with Reuters Health. "Rather than die, they become one of the specialized cell types found in the early embryo."
Cord Blood Stem Cells Are Long-Lived
MONDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthScoutNews) -- Cord blood stem cells can be safely frozen and stored for at least 15 years, scientists report.



If this news upsets you and gets you muttering about the dangers of human cloning, you can calm down. These are not the embryonic stem cells that can develop into any kind of cell and that are part of the cloning debate. Instead, they are stem cells from fully developed babies that can develop only into cells of the blood and immune system.


And the report by scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine that frozen umbilical cord stem cells are as viable as those in fresh cord blood comes as no surprise to people in the field.

Bone Marrow Stem Cells Used to Create Brain Cells
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Stem cells from a person's own bone marrow can be used to generate brain cells and other nervous system cells that, when put back into the body, may be a way to treat diseases like brain cancer or Alzheimer's, researchers said on Friday.

"Neural stem cells have a lot of characteristics that make them an attractive means of treating neurological disorders -- but they come from precarious sources," said Dr. John Yu, co-director of the brain tumor program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and the study's senior author.

New hope for sickle cell cure
Many children with sickle cell disease could be cured with stem cell transplants, according to new medical research from France.
Doctors say they that 85% of children given the treatment are alive and disease-free after three years.

GM cells help fight cancer
Specially adapted stem cells could help patients beat advanced blood cancers, researchers say.
The genetically modified cells are "strengthened" so they are not damaged by chemotherapy.

Cancer Research UK scientists say the new technique could make stem cell transplants safer and more effective.

Stem cells can generate many types of adult cell, including immune system cells which can recognise and kill cancer cells.