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Synthetic Corneas Prove Successful

The collagen-based implants could be an alternative to cadaver corneas. A preliminary test shows that they restored vision as effectively as the latter and did not require anti-rejection drugs.
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An experimental synthetic cornea implanted in 10 patients may be a potential alternative to cadaver corneas for curing vision loss due to corneal inflammation and scarring, researchers said .

Eye surgeons currently use primarily cadaver corneas for transplants, but that requires the use of anti-rejection drugs and presents a risk of infection. Plastic corneas can also be used, but they present other problems and are generally tried only when tissue transplants have failed.

The new artificial corneas use collagen produced in yeast as a scaffolding that allows cells from the recipient to grow into the graft so that it mimics the original tissue. The two-year preliminary test showed that the biosynthetic corneas restored vision as effectively as cadaver corneas, did not require anti-rejection drugs and allowed normal tears to form.

“This is a huge breakthrough,” said Dr. Francis W. Price Jr., founder and president of the board of the Cornea Research Foundation, who was not involved in the research. “It still has to go through additional studies … but it shows a lot of promise.”

An estimated 5 million people worldwide suffer corneal damage from trachoma, an eye infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, and another 1.5 million to 2 million people develop it as a result of ulceration and trauma. In the United States, about 42,000 cadaver cornea transplants are performed each year and another 10,000 corneas are exported to other countries, according to Marianne O’Connor Price, executive director of the Cornea Research Foundation.

“The U.S. is very fortunate that everybody who needs a transplant here is able to get one, but there is definitely a big shortage around the world,” she said. “Even people here could benefit if there was a synthetic cornea that eliminated the chance of rejection.”

The new study, reported Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, used biosynthetic collagen produced by FibroGen Inc. of San Francisco. A team headed by Dr. May Griffith of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Canada molded the collagen into an artificial cornea and demonstrated that it worked in animals.

Dr. Per Fagerholm of Linkoping University in Sweden then implanted the corneas in one eye of each of 10 Swedish patients with central corneal scarring. The researchers found that, after two years, no complications developed and, with the use of contact lenses, vision was as good as with cadaver transplants. Contact lenses are normally used with the latter as well.

The study is the first to show that an artificially fabricated cornea “can integrate into the human eye and stimulate regeneration,” Griffith said.

Griffith said her team was now building a clean room to manufacture more of the corneas and that she hoped to begin larger clinical trials after the first of the year with about 20 to 25 patients.
When implanted with contact lenses that they previously couldn’t tolerate, patients saw as well as a similar group of patients who had received standard corneal transplants.

The study is the first to show that an artificially fabricated cornea “can integrate into the human eye and stimulate regeneration,” Griffith said.

Griffith said her team is building a clean room to manufacture more corneas and hopes to begin larger clinical trials with 20 to 25 patients.

Researchers also are working to create stem-cell treatments that could spur corneal growth.

You may click to see this as well and Synthetic cornea offers hope to thousands

Resource :

Los Angeles Times

The Seattle Times

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Your Gums May Save Your Life

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Stem cells now have an easy and superior source — gum tissue.As per latest lab report.

……………....CLICK  & SEE

The history of modern medicine has rarely witnessed anything as controversial as stem cell therapy. Exponents swear by its potential to change the face of treatment and alleviate suffering. Taking advantage of this, unscrupulous medicos across the world have used the therapy to make a quick buck. Their claims — which are, of course, unsubstantiated — have caused further damage, almost discrediting this treatment method that explores the possibility of introducing new cells into damaged tissues to cure a disease or an injury.

As the name suggests, stem cells are capable of growing into various types of cells found in the human body. They can help form bones, muscles and even heart and brain cells. Medical scientists hope they can offer an answer to many diseases that have been so far regarded as incurable.

An enormous amount of research is required to take the therapy to a standard where it can be put to use extensively. However, there is a problem — providing more and more researchers easy access to stem cells is a daunting task.

A team of Indian researchers has found a better source for at least one important type of stem cells. Scientists led by Mohan Wani at the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune, have shown that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) — which have the potential to regenerate muscles, bones and even nerve cells — can be extracted from human gum tissue.

Stem cells are of different types. Some are pluripotent — that is, they can be grown into all types of cells found in the human body. Human embryos are a good source of pluripotent stem cells. Most of the ethical issues relating to stem cell research are in connection with these stem cells.

The MSCs, on the other hand, are multipotent — that is, they can grow into only certain types of cells. Scientists have shown in the lab that MSCs can be used to regenerate bones, cartilage and muscles, but this is yet to become a line of treatment.

Studies in the past have shown that MSCs are present in virtually all organs and tissues in the body. But they are normally harvested from bone marrow, the soft tissue inside the bones. One of the reasons, perhaps, is that the technique to extract bone marrow has been around for more than three decades. Bone marrow transplant has been a popular method of treating many blood disorders, including thalassaemia and certain blood cancers.

However, the process of extracting bone marrow cells is painful, particularly for the elderly. “Harvesting bone marrow from the iliac crest of the pelvic bone is a painful course. Moreover, you need to extract the tissue in a large quantity as the number of MSCs in it is low,” says Wani.

Gum tissue, on the other hand, not only contains more stem cells but also of a more homogenous type. Bone marrow contains more than one type of stem cell. Besides, the process of harvesting stem cells from gum tissue is easy and leaves no scar, says Wani.
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The NCCS work, which appeared in the latest issue of the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications , says that gum tissue can be a superior source of stem cells for several reasons. The yield of MSCs from bone marrow ranges from 0.001 to 0.01 per cent. In case of gum tissue, “we are expecting a four to six-fold increase,” says Wani.

The study looks interesting, says Maneesha Inamdar, a researcher at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, who works in the area of stem cells. Oral cells are more accessible and hence could be a better alternative to bone marrow, she observes.

Another expert from Christian Medical College, Vellore, however, is not so hopeful. “I do not anticipate people lining up to have their gingival (gum) tissue biopsied to produce these cells, nor do I see any dramatic impact of the use these cells in the clinic in the near future,” says the scientist, who prefers to remain anonymous.

There are other benefits of stem cells extracted from gum tissue, says Wani. The scientists, who grew many generations of the cells in the lab, found that they could hold their inherent properties for much longer than those derived from bone marrow. “These cells exhibited no abnormalities and are hence safe for clinical applications,” Wani told KnowHow.

As the next step, the Pune researchers plan to use to the stem cells derived from gum tissue to regenerate different types of human tissues.

So take care of your gums, for they will take care of you one day, if needed.

Massaging of Gum with a finger and rinsing the mouth at least two to three times daily after  eating, is the easiest way to keep the gum muscles strong &  healthy.

You may click to see:->Home Treatments for Gum Disease

Source : The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)

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Daily Dose of Nuts Benefit Heart Health

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A daily dose of nutswalnuts, almonds, pistachios— can make up for a heart-healthy diet, according to Mayo Clinic researchers.

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Most nuts contain some nutrients that can benefit heart health and help with cholesterol control.

They include unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, 1-arginine and plant sterols. Nuts have been shown to reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL, or “bad” cholesterol) levels in the blood.

Eating nuts also can reduce the risk of developing blood clots and improve the health of the lining of the arteries.

The above benefits suggest that eating nuts, in limited amounts, may reduce the risk of heart disease, though studies haven’t yet proved this conclusively.

Almost any type of nut is nutritious — and high in calories. It is best to eat nuts in moderation, no more than a handful a day.

Also, choose unsalted or low-salt versions and use nuts as a substitute for saturated fats, such as those found in meats, eggs and dairy products.

Source: The study has been published in the latest issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource.

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‘Menstrual Blood’ May Save Life

Depicts the variation through the menstrual cy...Image via Wikipedia

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Many refer to it as ‘nature’s curse on women’. It’s commonly thought of as unclean. In some cultures, women are not even allowed to cook during those days of month. But, path-breaking new research could change the way people view the menstrual cycle. And it’s here in India, for the first time ever. The blood that uselessly leaks away from a woman’s body every month until she hits menopause is a good source of stem cells, which are still at an early stage of development and retain the potential to turn into many different types of cell.

Stem cell research classifies them as a super “repair kit” for the body because they can be used to grow new fat, cartilage, bone, skin, heart and brain cells. Japan and American researchers say menstrual blood could actually be banked and used to save lives. It is supposed to contain adult stem cells that can develop into any of nine different types of cells, including heart, lung, nerve and muscle.

Ajit Kumar is chief scientific officer of LifeCell International, India’s biggest stem cell banking facility and the first in the country to launch a menstrual stem cell banking facility. He says, “The menstrual stem cell comes from the uterine lining (endometrium) that is shed as part of a woman’s menstrual period.”

Research is ongoing but if established as a success, it would be a huge advance for stem cell research. Stem cell therapy has become controversial in some parts of the world beca-use scientists believe the most useful ones come from embryos. Adult stem cells are rare in mature tissue. But if they are sourced from hitherto-useless, “unclean” menstrual blood, it would redefine the woman’s role as life-giver.

The master stem cell is the zygote and all of human life really begins here. A zygote is created when an egg is fertilised. Thereafter, this master stem cell multiplies as the embryo develops into millions of cells, including a large number of other stem cells. Less specialised stem cells become ever more so with the process continuing throughout pregnancy to create different cells — skin, muscle, nerve or bone. Throughout the life, the body continues to produce stem cells. Kumar says menstrual stem cells are similar to those from bone marrow and embryos, with the added bonus of even faster replication and higher compatibility.

It is an amazing bit of news for stem cell therapy, which is gaining ground across the world as a wonder cure for Parkinson’s, Alz-heimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, spinal cord damage and much more. Till now, umbilical cord stem cells have been used in 8,000 transplant operations worldwide, says Cryo-Cell a leading global stem cell banking company.

During lab tests, scientists created different types of cells from menstrual stem cells or endometrial regenerative cells (ERCs) as they are known. Within five days, fledgling heart cells had been generated. Kumar says this showed ERCs may be a source of patient-specific stem cells.

It is not hard to bank menstrual blood. The procedure is almost the same as giving a urine sample. Kumar says it may be easier to harvest stem cells from menstrual blood than bone marrow or skin because it is a painless and non-invasive procedure. “Unlike cord blood stem cells, where the cells are frozen directly after extraction, here the blood is expanded before being stored,” he explains.

Preliminary research suggests that menst-rual stem cells could be used to cure a woman’s genetic family, such as parents, sibling or child.

Sources: The Times Of India

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