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Stromal Cell-Derived Factor-1 Mediates Stem Cell Homing and Tissue Regeneration

Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Based Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes

Abstract: Diabetes has increasingly become a worldwide health problem, causing huge burden on healthcare system and economy. Type 1 diabetes (T1D), traditionally termed "juvenile diabetes" because of an early onset age, is affecting 5~10% of total diabetic population. Insulin injection, the predominant treatment for T1D, is effective to ameliorate the hyperglycemia but incompetent to relieve the autoimmunity and to regenerate lost islets. Islet transplantation, an experimental treatment for T1D, also suffers from limited supply of human islets and poor immunosuppression. The recent progress in regenerative medicine, especially stem cell therapy, has suggested several novel and potential cures for T1D. Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) based cell therapy is among one of them. MSCs are a type of adult stem cells residing in bone marrow, adipose tissue, umbilical cord blood, and many other tissues. MSCs, with self-renewal potential and transdifferentiation capability, can be expanded in vitro and directed to various cell lineages with relatively less efforts. MSCs have well-characterized hypoimmunogenicity and immunomodulatory effect. All these features make MSCs attractive for treating T1D. Here, we review the properties of MSCs and some of the recent progress using MSCs as a new therapeutic in the treatment of T1D. We also discuss the strength and limitations of using MSC therapy in human trials. ... Read more

Marching Towards Regenerative Cardiac Therapy with Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

Abstract: Damage in cardiac tissues from ischemia or other pathological conditions leads to heart failure; and cell loss or dysfunction in pacemaker tissues due to congenital heart defects, aging, and acquired diseases can cause severe arrhythmias. The promise of successful therapies with stem cells to treat these conditions has remained elusive to the scientific community. However, recent advances in this field have opened new opportunities for regenerative cardiac therapy. Transplantation of cardiomyocytes derived from human pluripotent stem cells has the potential to alleviate heart disease. Since the initial derivation of human embryonic stem cells, significant progress has been made in the generation and characterization of enriched cardiomyocytes and the demonstration of the ability of these cardiomyocytes to survive, integrate, and function in animal models. The scope of therapeutic potential from pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes has been further expanded with the invention of induced pluripotent stem cells, which can be induced to generate functional cardiomyocytes for regenerative cardiac therapy in a patient specific manner. The reprogramming technology has also inspired the recent discovery of direct conversion of fibroblasts into cardiomyocyte-like cells, which may allow endogenous cardiac repair. Regenerative cardiac therapy with human pluripotent stem cells is now moving closer to clinic testing. ... Read more

Emerging Techniques to Treat Limbal Epithelial Stem Cell Deficiency

Abstract: Visual performance, to a large extent, depends on the optical and refractive properties of the eye. The cornea is of great importance to this system. However, it requires a healthy epithelium for protection and optimal functioning. A sophisticated apparatus which relies on unipotent stem cells ensures the homeostasis of the corneal epithelium. A number of pathologic conditions can damage this mechanism, thereby compromising the ocular surface. This article will examine the concepts underlying a healthy or diseased corneal surface. Subsequently, current therapeutic approaches to regenerate a healthy epithelium and potential future developments will be discussed. ... Read more

Defining the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Niche

Stem cells modulate tissue formation and repair based on a complex interaction of cell autonomous and non-autonomous regulatory mechanisms. While reductionist approaches to understanding stem cell control continue to be extremely productive, understanding the physiological contexts in which stem cells function, will ultimately require definition of the microenvironments in which they live. The location of stem or precursor populations within numerous solid tissues has been described, but delineating specific associated cells and how they participate in regulating stem cell function has generally been lacking for mammalian tissues. However, the use of invertebrate-based models has created particularly productive systems in which ... Read more

Stem cells and cancer cells share common growth mechanism

Stem cells have enormous therapeutic potentials. As of today, however, they remain as a “loose cannon.”

Scientists and clinicians are attracted to stem cells’ potential to divide and differentiate. There are, however, numerous hurdles to cross in order for stem cells to have safe, reliable, and predictable therapeutic benefits. Chief among the hurdles are the difficulty in harnessing the stem cells to differentiate into the right kind of functional mature cells and behave like normal differentiated cells.

Drs. Tsai and McKay of National Institutes of Health reported recently that they discovered a novel protein, nucleostemin, that is found in both stem cells ... Read more

Therapeutic Applications of Human Adipose-Derived Stromal Cells for Soft Tissue Reconstruction

Abstract: Adipose derived stromal cells (ASCs) are a multipotent cell population derived from the stromal vascular fraction of lipoaspirate. Given their relatively broad differentiation potential and paracrine capabilities, ASCs represent a readily accessible, endogenous resource for novel reconstructive strategies. In particular, augmentation of autologous fat grafts with ASCs has already been employed clinically for restoration of soft tissue defects. While fat grafting alone remains highly unpredictable, enrichment of fat with supplemental ASCs, also known as cell-assisted lipotransfer (CAL), has been shown to significantly enhance volume retention. How addition of these cells to fat grafts results in improved outcomes, however, remains poorly understood. Furthermore, the safety of CAL in the setting of prior malignancy and post-radiation wound beds has yet to be fully determined, an important consideration for its use in cancer reconstruction. Thus, further studies to determine the "how" and "why" behind the efficacy of CAL are necessary before it can be widely adopted as a safe and reliable surgical technique. ... Read more

New Hope for Diabetics: Adult Blood Stem Cells Can Make Insulin

Abstract: Human blood stem cell-derived insulin-producing cells can be easily isolated from autologous blood based on their unique phenotype. They act as pancreatic islet beta-cell progenitors, as demonstrated by authentic insulin production and homing to diabetic pancreatic islets. Clinical application of these autologous blood-derived insulin-producing cells holds great promise for diabetic treatment. ... Read more

Adult Mesenchymal Stem Cells: An Innovative Therapeutic for Lung Diseases

Abstract: Adult human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are the focus of a number of clinical applications. The advantage of hMSCs is that they are immuno-modulatory and versatile due to their secreted bioactive molecules that are anti-inflammatory and regenerative. These cells have the potential to orchestrate reparative processes in diseased or injured tissues. Much of the diversity and uniqueness of hMSCs is defined by their response to the milieu of injured tissue. hMSCs are sensitive to their site-specific microenvironment, and it is anticipated that they will deliver the bioactive agents in a site-specific manner quite different from the way pharmaceutical drugs work. This review highlights current concepts of such functions with a focus on the clinical utility of hMSCs in the treatment of lung diseases. ... Read more

Genetically Modified Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Their Clinical Potential in Acute Cardiovascular Disease

Abstract: Adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are non-hematopoietic cells with multi-lineage potential to differentiate into various tissues of mesodermal origin. They can be isolated from bone marrow and other tissues and have the capacity to extensively proliferate in vitro. Moreover, MSCs have also been shown to produce anti-inflammatory molecules which can modulate humoral and cellular immune responses. Considering their regenerative potential and immunoregulatory effect, MSC therapy is a promising tool in the treatment of degenerative, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases. However, the current understanding from results of clinical trials is that MSC-therapy is safe but its therapeutic efficiency needs to be improved. In this article we will focus on options for genetic manipulation of MSCs and on current progress in adapting genetically-modified MSCs for clinical use in acute cardiovascular disease. ... Read more

Two Decades of Clinical Gene Therapy – Success Is Finally Mounting

Abstract: Human gene therapy has made substantial progress since the initiation of the first clinical trials 20 years ago. Here, we summarized important applications of gene transfer protocols in the treatment of various human diseases using different viral vectors. Recent successful trials on the treatment of ocular diseases and inherited immune deficiencies are particularly encouraging and have raised hopes that human gene therapy as a standard treatment option will finally become a reality. While immune responses and insertional mutagenesis pose obstacles for this novel form of molecular medicine, continuous progress suggests that a wider range of diseases can be treated with gene therapy in the future. ... Read more

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