Scientists at the Francis Crick Institute have identified a group of latent stem cells that respond to injury in the central nervous system of mice. If a similar type of cell exists in humans, they could offer a new therapeutic approach to treat brain and spinal cord injuries.
After disease or injury, stem cells help repair the damage by replacing cells that have died. In some organs, like the skin and intestine, these stem cells are constantly active, while in others, so called ‘latent stem cells’ lie waiting for harm to occur before being triggered into action.
In their study published in Developmental Cell today (Monday 22 August), the researchers identified a group of latent stem cells in the central nervous system of mice. These are part of the ependymal cells that line the walls of compartments in the brain and spinal cord that hold cerebrospinal fluid.
The cells were identified by chance when the team used a fluorescence tool to look for immune cells called dendritic cells in the brain. The ependymal cells that the tool identified were found to arise from embryonic progenitor cells that shared a same protein as dendritic cells on their surface, which revealed them to the scientists.
Working with neuroscientist colleagues at the Francis Crick Institute and developmental biologists at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Lisbon, they found that in healthy mice, these cells stay still and waft small hairs on their surface to help the flow of cerebrospinal fluid.
However, in injured mouse spinal cords, these cells responded by dividing, migrating towards the damaged area and differentiating into astrocytes, one of the major cell types of the nervous system. The team also looked at these cells in detail in the lab and found they demonstrated key hallmarks of stem cell behaviour. They divided continuously over a long period of time, and were also able to differentiate into all three main cell types of the central nervous system — neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.
Bruno Frederico, co-corresponding author and postdoctoral training fellow in the Immunobiology laboratory at the Crick says, “While we don’t know if these cells exist in humans, if they do, it would be interesting to see if they also default to becoming astrocytes rather than neurons in response to damage. This might help explain why the mammalian central nervous system does not have a strong ability to repair itself after injury.
“If we could find a way to overcome the barriers that are stopping the differentiation into neurons and oligodendrocytes after spinal cord injury, it could present a new avenue of therapies to treat spinal cord injuries.”
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Both in vitro and in vivo experiments have confirmed that platelet-rich plasma has therapeutic effects on many neuropathies, but its effects on carpal tunnel syndrome remain poorly understood. We aimed to investigate whether single injection of platelet-rich plasma can improve the clinical symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Fourteen patients presenting with median nerve injury who had suffered from mild carpal tunnel syndrome for over 3 months were included in this study. Under ultrasound guidance, 1–2 mL of platelet-rich plasma was injected into the region around the median nerve at the proximal edge of the carpal tunnel. At 1 month after single injection of platelet-rich plasma, Visual Analogue Scale results showed that pain almost disappeared in eight patients and it was obviously alleviated in three patients. Simultaneously, the disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand questionnaire showed that upper limb function was obviously improved. In addition, no ultrasonographic manifestation of the carpal tunnel syndrome was found in five patients during ultrasonographic measurement of the width of the median nerve. During 3-month follow-up, the pain was not greatly alleviated in three patients. These findings show very encouraging mid-term outcomes regarding use of platelet-rich plasma for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can be treated by both conservative (Klauser et al., 2009) and surgical interventions. Surgical decompression of the median nerve through the incision of the transverse carpal ligament (either open or mini-open or under ultrasound guidance) is the most cost-effective therapeutic option (Hui et al., 2005). However, mild to moderate CTS can be treated by conservative interventions, like functional braces and local infiltrations (Prime et al., 2010) in the carpal tunnel, mainly with corticosteroids. Local infiltration of corticosteroids easily leads to atrophy of the median nerve, subcutaneous fat, and systematic complications, such as hair loss and Cushing syndrome (Lambru et al., 2012). This treatment option is clearly inferior to surgical intervention despite the fact that it can improve clinical condition. There is evidence that local infiltration of corticosteroids is not superior to local injection of anesthetic (Karadas et al., 2012). To the best of our knowledgement, use of corticosteroids in the clinical practice has not been studied. However, a surgical treatment decision is always taken by the patient who sometimes wants to delay or avoid the surgery because of psychological or medical concerns including allergy to local anesthetic and immune deficiency and prefers a conservative treatment in the initial stage. A conservative treatment has been considered insufficient for CTS. In vitro and in vivo clinical and laboratory studies (Allampallam et al., 2000; Farrag et al., 2007; Cho et al., 2010; Anjayani et al., 2014; Park and Kwon, 2014) have demonstrated that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has therapeutic action in several neuropathies. It would be interesting if a PPP injection is used as an alternative conservative treatment of CTS. The purpose of this study was to investigate if, and to what extent, a PPP injection, under ultrasound guidance, can improve the clinical condition of patients with CTS.
Materials and Methods
Fourteen patients were selected from initial 32 patients who received treatment in the Department of Orthopedics of “Konstantopouleio” General Hospital, Greece because of mild to moderate CTS, with a minimum of 3-month duration of symptoms, regardless of age and gender. Patients were rejected if they had one of the following items: thrombopenia, platelet dysfunction, local infection, NSAID use (less than 48 hours prior to injury), recent illness, malignancy, hemoglobin (Hb) level < 100 g/L, pregnancy, rheumatologic disease, uncontrolled hormonal disorder, vibrating caused neuropathy, systematic inflammatory disease, polyneuropathy, inability to complete questionnaires (due to language unawareness or mental disability), addicted to alcohol or drugs, total loss of sensation in the fingers, prior corticosteroid injection in the same wrist, had undergone a surgical intervention for CTS in the same hand, neurological deficit, cervical radiculopathy and/or cervical spinal stenosis and/or intervertebral disc herniation, nerve entrapment syndrome in the same hand.
PRP injection proved to be well tolerated, with no side effects, infections or complaints for persistent pain. We achieved well defined ultrasonographic mobilization, hydrodissection and hydrodisolution () of the compressed median nerve through PRP simple injection.
At the end of the first month after PRP injection, the mean reduction in VAS (%) was 48.6 mm out of 100 mm in comparison to rates prior to injection. At that time, we found eight patients with full or almost full recovery (VAS: 0 – 20 mm) and three patients with great improvement (VAS decline: more than 30 mm). The mean decline of the Q-DASH score was calculated just a little less than 70% compared to the pre-injection rates (from mean Q-DASH 56.42 prior to injection to mean Q-DASH17.5 one month after). These rates slightly more improved 3 months later ().
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Psoriasis is a chronic and recurrent inflammatory skin disease and its histological features are characterized by epidermal hyperplasia, increased angiogenesis and immune cell infiltration. Psoriasis prevalence is about 0.1%-3%, affecting approximately 125 million people worldwide. In China, there are about 10 million psoriasis patients.
Human umbilical cord-derived MSC (huc-MSC) has many advantages for the treatment of immune disease. Because it was demonstrated that huc-MSCs are effective in modulating immune cells and treating diseases and it has low immunogenicity. Furthermore, huc-MSCs do not raise ethical issue for clinical applications.
Some experimental results and cases has showed that mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) can prevent or treat psoriasis. This clinical study is conducted to provide more data to evaluate the effect and safety of treatment of psoriasis by human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cell.
To read the entire clinical trial, please click on the link below:
More and more athletes are turning to stem cell treatments, because the pressure to get back on the field is high and access to these experimental therapies is continuing to increase. Athletes commonly suffer serious injuries that could potentially end their careers and cause them serious long-term health complications. Most of them turn to surgery to resolve those injuries.
However, some of them are pursuing stem cell treatments and regenerative therapies, because these procedures are less invasive than surgery and have the potential to speed and augment repair. While the effectiveness of these surgeries is largely unknown, what is clear is that a growing number of athletes are turning to this approach.
Athletes Who Have Undergone Stem Cell Treatments
This article outlines 40 pro athletes who have undergone stem cell treatments for their knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, and more. It also includes athletes who have pursued regenerative therapies, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy.
In my case as a professional athlete, I received both of these therapies within a short time frame with each other, because there is evidence to indicate that PRP injections can positively impact stem cell treatment outcomes.
For the entire article, please click on the link below:
40 Pro Athletes Who Have Had Stem Cell Treatments
Stem cell therapy continues to rally worldwide recognition as governments fund research and expand access. This once-controversial therapy is fast becoming one of medicine’s most exciting technologies. From FDA-approved therapies to in-house, physician-initiated autologous techniques, stem cell technology continues to evolve. 2022 promises to be an exciting year for the stem cell market.
The Stem Cell Market in 2022 and Beyond
Government and private funding is the main engine behind stem cell therapy’s persistent growth. Robust research has led to advances in all types of regenerative therapies, with stem cell technology at the forefront.
If anybody doubts the future of stem cells, they should look at their soaring market potential. Here are the top nine driving forces behind the stem cell market’s accelerating momentum.
1. Oncology Applications
While treating cancer with stem cells is not new, the field of cancer treatment is where stem cell therapy excels. With an aging population comes a global rise in cancer rates. While stem cell therapy can help treat certain forms of cancer, it has also proved helpful in combating the damaging effects of chemotherapy.
For over 50 years, hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT) derived from bone marrow or cord blood have been used to treat many cancer forms. Hematopoietic stem cells are widely used in cancer treatments. The key to their popularity? Their ability to form a variety of cell types that constitute our blood and immune system.
Bone marrow transplants have been used to treat cancers such as:
- Multiple myeloma
- Lymphoma (certain types)
Also, scientists and clinicians are learning how to better genetically match and administer these cells, as well as care for patients after stem cell transplantation. The result is the prevention of dangerous conditions like graft versus host disease (GvHD).
Dermatology is another area that lends itself to stem cell adoption. Autologous epidermal stem cells can treat various types of skin conditions, including severe burns. Renovacare’s Skin Gun™ is an example of a technology that uses the patient’s own skin as a stem cell source. A doctor can take a sample of a patient’s skin and place it in the Skin Gun™. The device “blends” the sample into a solution, which then can be sprayed as a thin mist on the affected area. The result is that the burn area readily accepts the genetically-similar sample and can go about regenerating skin locally.
Other dermatology conditions that can make use of stem cell therapy include wound healing, treatment of severe blistering, and skin manifestations of autoimmune diseases.
3. Regenerative Medicine
Stem cell therapy is, by definition, regenerative. But what about its applications for overall human longevity? If you want to get a glimpse into what the future holds for stem cell therapy, consider that stem cells may hold the key to staving off chronic disease as well as replacing old organs.
The net result? A drastically-slowed rate of aging and an average life expectancy well into one’s 80s (and beyond). It is said that the first human who will live to two hundred has already been born. Stem cell technology will undoubtedly play a large role in the long life of future generations.
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What Is the Future of the Stem Cell Market in 2022?