Happy Stem Cell Awareness Day!

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Today is Stem Cell Awareness Day as proclaimed by Governors Arnold Scwartzenegger of California and Jim Doyle of Wisconsin (h/t Mary Meets Dolly). So check out some of the latest advancements in adult stem cell research:

Neuralstem Receives FDA Approval to Commence First ALS Stem Cell Trial:

ROCKVILLE, Md., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Neuralstem, Inc. (NYSE Amex: CUR) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its Investigational New Drug (IND) application to commence a Phase I trial to treat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) with its spinal cord stem cells.

British surgeons are pioneering a new technique which uses stem cells to repair damaged bones. This research could help prevent the need for artificial hip replacements.

Study reveals benefit of adult stem cells for acute lung injury:

UCSF scientists have demonstrated that adult human mesenchymal stem cells reverse the effects of injury in a novel human lung preparation in the lab. The finding, they say, could lead to the development of stem cell therapies for patients with acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome, conditions that presently have a high rate of mortality and no pharmacological treatments.

UW-Madison researcher saved by stem cells. Kurt Saupe is is cancer-free after receiving a bone marrow transplant for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a rare and lethal disease among middle age adults.

“Liposuction leftovers” easily converted to iPS cells:

Globs of human fat removed during liposuction conceal versatile cells that are more quickly and easily coaxed to become induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, than are the skin cells most often used by researchers, according to a new study from Stanford’s School of Medicine.

Positive Results in the MARVEL Phase II/III Clinical Trial for patients with heart failure. According to this story the stem cells were derived from the patients’ leg muscles.

And here are a few articles highlighting some research facilities specifically working to advance ethical stem cell research:

Adult stem cell research creating miracles in Covington:

In the emerging field of adult stem cell therapy, Drs. Gabriel Lasala and Jose Minguell of TCA Cellular Therapy, LLC, are conducting ground breaking innovative research into the regenerative properties of adult stem cells.

“This is like penicillin was a century ago,” said Lasala about his research.

A visit to their facility in Covington is like meeting Louis Pasteur when he proved the germ theory of disease. Working through scientific protocols and funding their studies themselves, Lasala and Minguell have successful treated limb ischemia or peripheral vascular disease, saving people from amputation surgery due to gangrene from diabetes.

They have successfully treated cardiac and other vascular conditions as well.

Tulane enters into agreement to produce adult stem cells (see here as well)

Adult stem cells derived from bone marrow avoid the ethical debate that surrounds embryonic stem cells and may be the future of regenerative medicine. Tulane University is recognized as a leader in the production of adult stem cells for research use.

Stemnion uses placentas, not embryos, to get stem cells for burn therapy:

The company obtains its stem cells from placentas of full-term newborns born at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. Placentas, usually discarded after births, are a rich source of stem cells that can be coaxed to accelerate healing by simply being sprinkled onto a wound, Strom said.

Scientists are working to make stem cells catalyze the growth of more specialized tissues, by draping them on biodegradable frameworks in the shape of tissues and organs.

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