Welcome to 360 for the week ending May 26, 2013.
Welcome to this week's 360 e-newsletter produced in collaboration with the Genetics Policy Institute. We have highlighted 10 of over 50 press announcements in this email but you can view all the week's news storieson our website
In the current edition of Spotlight, Charis Ober, founder and director of Save the Cord Foundation gives an interview about the work of her foundation and its links to current research and outreach programs not only in Arizona but across America.
Dr Beverley Vaughan, Director of Operations, univerCELLmarket
An experimental stem cell treatment has restored the sight of a man blinded by the degeneration of his retinal cells. The man, who is taking part in a trial examining the safety of using human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to reverse two common causes of blindness, can now see well enough to be allowed to drive. The company has so far treated 22 patients who have either dry age-related macular degeneration or Stargardt's macular dystrophy.
Monash University researchers are shedding light on the complex processes that underpin the creation and differentiation of stem cells, bringing closer the promise of 'miracle' therapies. For the first time, the process by which mature cells are re-programmed to become an induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell have been mapped, unravelling the precise molecular events occurring in adult skin cells at almost every level throughout the re-programming process.
Scientists at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) in NUI Galway have devised a new molecular technique, inspired by celtic knots and trees. The celtic knots are an example of the new technique using polymerisation. A single chain is linked repeatedly, wrapping around itself, creating a very dense structure. These structures are needed to carry DNA and can be used in gene therapies, new forms of drug treatment or even hydrogels.
The first successful treatment of paediatric cerebral palsy with autologous cord blood has taken place at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Following a cardiac arrest with severe brain damage, a 2.5 year old boy had been in a persistent vegetative state – with minimal chances of survival. Just two months after treatment with the cord blood, the symptoms improved significantly; over the following months, the child learned to speak simple sentences and to move.
Italian lawmakers have given their final approval to a law that allows limited use of a controversial type of stem cell therapy which has been condemned by many scientists but has given hope to families of terminally-ill children. The law gives the go-ahead for therapy being carried out by the Stamina Foundation on dozens of patients to continue, and allows for an 18-month period of clinical trials for the procedure.
California's position as a global leader in stem cell research has been strengthened by the awarding of $36 million in funds to attract six world-class scientists and their teams to the state, and more than $6 million to create a partnership with Sangamo BioSciences to develop a therapy for beta-thalassemia.
Infections can trigger haematopoiesis at sites outside the bone marrow – in the liver, the spleen or the skin. LMU researchers now show that a specific type of immune cell facilitates such "extra medullary" formation of blood cells. The new findings reveal a hitherto unsuspected link between natural killer (NK) cells and haematopoiesis. The development of extramedullary haematopoiesis in the spleen is dependent on the capacity of NK cells to prevent viruses such as CMV spreading by effectively eliminating infected cells.
The Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) announced it is transferring its mission and assets to the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM). Founded in 2001 with a mission to protect regenerative medicine and secure federal funding and oversight for human embryonic stem cell research, CAMR has been the nation's leading bipartisan pro-cures coalition.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that a single injection of human neural stem cells produced neuronal regeneration and improvement of function and mobility in rats impaired by an acute spinal cord injury. The rats received the pure stem cell grafts three days after injury (no other supporting materials were used) and were given drugs to suppress an immune response to the foreign stem cells. Researchers observed that grafting at any time after the injury appears likely to block the formation of spinal injury cavities.
A landmark study in which Oregan Health and Science University researchers reported that they had turned human skin cells into embryonic stem cells contained errors, its lead author has acknowledged. The lead researcher stands by the conclusions of the study published last week in journal Cell, which reported that human stem cell lines for the first time had been created via cloning.