Research

Which injury or disease is important to you?

We AIM to cure it with stem cell research.

Every part of your body originated as a stem cell.  When we harness the power of stem cells, we will be able to cure every part of the body. Support us today, so we can help cure you AND your loved ones, one day.

Our top 5 Target Areas Include:

Cardiac

Diabetes

Neurological Disease and Injury

Oncology

Sports Medicine

Recent Stem Cell Advancements Include:

Cardiac

In the aftermath of a heart attack, cells within the region most affected shut down. They stop beating. And they become entombed in scar tissue. But now, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have demonstrated that this damage need not be permanent—by finding a way to transform the class of cells that form human scar tissue into those that closely resemble beating heart cells.

Last year, these scientists transformed scar-forming heart cells, part of a class of cells known as fibroblasts, into beating heart-muscle cells in live mice. And in the latest issue of Stem Cell Reports, researchers in the laboratory of Gladstone Cardiovascular and Stem Cell Research Director Deepak Srivastava, MD, reveal that they have done the same to human cells in a petri dish.

“Fibroblasts make up about 50% of all cells in the heart and therefore represent a vast pool of cells that could one day be harnessed and reprogrammed to create new muscle,” said Dr. Srivastava, who is also a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, with which Gladstone is affiliated. “Our findings here serve as a proof of concept that human fibroblasts can be reprogrammed successfully into beating heart cells.” Donate for cardiac stem cell research

Diabetes

Scientists are still studying how embryonic stem cells, which can develop into any type of cell in the body, can be coaxed to become cells that make insulin at just the right time, in just the right amounts, and that can be transplanted into patients to cure diabetes. Getting the cells to develop properly and figuring out how to administer them safely has been challenging.

“It’s maddeningly simple as a concept,” says Dr. Gordon C. Weir, a longtime diabetes researcher at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. “It’s been incredibly frustrating that we can’t bring this to the clinic more quickly.”

Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disorder that is usually diagnosed when patients are children or young adults. According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, as many as 3 million Americans have the disease. They face a lifetime of vigilance, blood monitoring and daily insulin injections to keep the condition in check.

(More than 90% of people with diabetes have another form, Type 2 diabetes, which develops when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body becomes unresponsive to it.)

One reason why Type 1 diabetes seemed to be such a great fit for stem cell therapies was how motivated patients and their advocates were to find a cure, says Meri Firpo, a stem cell scientist at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Groups such as the Juvenile Research Diabetes Foundation were willing to fund research using human embryonic stem cells — often controversial, because it involves destroying embryos — before other organizations were.

There were technical reasons too that made the disorder an attractive target, Firpo adds.

In Type 1 diabetes, for reasons not fully understood, a combination of genetic and environmental factors triggers a patient’s immune system to kill off his or her own beta cells, the insulin-producing factories that group together in the pancreas into clusters known as the islets of Langerhans.

Healthy people have about a million functioning islets in the pancreas, each comprised of about 1,000 beta cells. In Type 1 diabetes, those islets are destroyed. Restoring the islet cells would cure the disease — and researchers already know that they can do that. Scientists made the first successful islet cell transplant in 1989, placing beta cells from a cadaver into a diabetic patient.

The treatment, which is still considered experimental, isn’t perfect. Islet recipients must take anti-rejection drugs, which can lead to infection and organ damage, to prevent the body from attacking the foreign cells. Nonetheless, in the last two decades these transplants have greatly improved recipients’ diabetes to the point where some no longer require insulin injections, at least until their new beta cells peter out and a new transplant is needed. Donate for Diabetes Stem Cell Research

Neurological Disease and Injury (examples: Alzheimer’s and Spinal Cord Injury)

At the UC, Irvine, rats whose brain function was impaired showed marked improvement after receiving injections of human (nerve cells) developed from embryonic stem cells. The implications for Alzheimer’s disease research, and one day treatments, are extraordinary.

Can you imagine, giving back a life’s long worth of memories to a parent, grandparent or other loved one. With your support, that’s our AIM! Donate for Alzheimer’s stem cell research

In America, you have have a 1 in 50 chance of becoming paralyzed at some point in your life, due to accident, disease, or stroke. Imagine losing the ability of moving your own body. The average cost of a high-level quad is $3-5 Million in additional costs over the person’s lifetime. With 5.6 million paralyzed Americans, the numbers for care are astronomical. We must cure our paralyzed.

Researchers at UC Irvine, CA have turned embryonic stem cells into precursor oligodendrocyte cells which is the myelin sheath wrapping of the spinal cord which enables electrical impulses to be conducted down the spine to the paralyzed muscles. Dr. Hans Keirstead, Ph.D.

This became America’s first federally approved human embryonic stem cell clinical trials (the Geron trials). These are Phase I human clinical trials to prove that hESC will do no harm. To date none of the enrolled patients have reported any adverse effects. Donate for spinal cord injury stem cell research

Oncology

Half the people on Earth will have cancer at today’s current pace. 1 of 2 people…

California Stem Cell, in partnership with Hoag Memorial Hospital, is developing a clinical program for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. The central concept behind this treatment is immunization against cancer stem cells. The patient’s own purified and irradiated cancer cells are combined with specialized immune cells, educating the immune cells to destroy the cancer stem cells from which tumors arise.

The process was developed during three clinical trials conducted over 15 years, which comprised two phase I-II trials followed by a randomized phase II trial. That most recent clinical trial in metastatic melanoma patients demonstrated significantly improved overall survival and time to recurrence, with 2-year survival of vaccine treated patients tracking at 67%[1], far exceeding that of any other current treatments. The clinical trials program lays the groundwork for what could potentially be effective treatments for melanoma and other terminal cancers such as liver, ovarian, pancreatic, glioblastoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and breast cancer. Donate for cancer stem cell research

Sports Injury

Patients are often familiar with a “shot” for their knee pain. But what’s in these shots and what’s the difference? Let’s talk about how these work and what options are available. Knee pain usually comes from inflammation. There are many causes of inflammation such as sprains and strains, but most commonly arthritis. Today we will focus mainly on arthritis – a natural wear and tear of the knee cartilage.

Treatments for arthritis of the knee includes a wide range of options from arthritis medicines to surgical procedures or knee replacement. Injection treatments are a quick way to get 100% of the medicine straight into the knee without the side effects of oral medicines. There are several injection treatment options but the two most common are cortisone shots and viscosuplementation. There are also other injection treatments for the knee such as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and Stem Cells therapies. These are promising but not widely covered by insurance. Dr. Dewey Jones IV will talk about this and other important Sports Injury related topics in future posts on his blog at www.deweyjonesmd.com

We AIM to cure sports injury, with stem cell research and your support. Donate for sports injury stem cell research

What are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body (such as a muscle cell, a liver cell, or a brain cell) as well as divide to make more stem cells. They play a fundamental role in embryo development and later on in development of organs and tissues. Stem cells continue to function throughout a person’s life and they can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells in the body. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function.


Stem Cell Research Information Sources:

Stem Cells: http://www.californiastemcell.com/about-us/faqs/

Cardiac: http://gladstoneinstitutes.org/pressrelease/2013-08-22/gladstone-scientists-transform-non-beating-human-cells-into-heart-muscle-cel

Diabetes:  http://viacyte.com/press-releases/diabetes-and-the-stem-cell-promise/

Oncology: http://www.californiastemcell.com/cancer-stem-cell/

Paralysis: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/25/19/4694

Memory Loss: http://sciencedude.ocregister.com/2011/07/13/uci-stem-cells-can-restore-brain-function/132101/

Sports Injury: http://www.deweyjonesmd.com/blog/does-your-knee-cartilage-need-an-injection/