Mitchell J. Ghen, DO, PhD

Stem Cells and Functional Testing

17th Annual World Congress on Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine 


State-of-the-Art Advancements in Tissue Regeneration

Whereas the demand for organ transplants is great, there are too few donors and transplant rejection remains a major concern. Kevin Shakesheff, from The University of Nottingham (United Kingdom), and colleagues have begun the search for a new class of injectable materials that will stimulate stem cells to regenerate damaged tissue in degenerative and age related disorders of the bone, muscle and heart.  The work, which is currently at the experimental stage, could lead to treatments for diseases that currently have no cure. The aim is to produce radical new treatments that will reduce the need for invasive surgery, optimize recovery and reduce the risk of undesirable scar tissue.

Hutmacher DW, Woodruff MA, Shakesheff K, Guldberg RE.  “Direct fabrication as a patient-targeted therapeutic in a clinical environment.”  Methods Mol Biol. 2012;868:327-40.

Cartilage Repair via Nanoscale Scaffolds & Stem Cells

In that joint pain affects the quality of life of millions of people, current surgical procedures merely offer short-term solutions. Jennifer Elisseeff, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Maryland, USA), and colleagues have engineered a temporary template that mimics the cartilage cell's natural environment. The researchers created a nanofiber-based network using a process called electrospinning, which entails shooting a polymer stream onto a charged platform, and added chondroitin sulfate to serve as a growth trigger. After characterizing the fibers, they made a number of different scaffolds from either spun polymer or spun polymer plus chondroitin. They then used goat bone marrow-derived stem cells (a widely used model) and seeded them in various scaffolds to see how stem cells responded to the material. The team then watched the cells grow and found that compared to cells growing without scaffold, these cells developed into more voluminous, cartilage-like tissue. The resulting scaffold mimics the cartilage cell environment and generates new cartilage tissue.  The environment is a 3-dimensional mix of protein fibers and gel that provides support to connective tissue throughout the body, as well as physical and biological cues for cells to grow and differentiate.

Jeannine M. Coburn, Matthew Gibson, Sean Monagle, Zachary Patterson, Jennifer H. Elisseeff.  “Bioinspired nanofibers support chondrogenesis for articular cartilage repair.” PNAS 2012 109 (25) 10012-10017; June 4, 2012.

The Promising Future of Stem Cell Therapeutics

Stem cell therapeutics offer hope for those suffering from debilitating and deadly diseases.  John Sladek, from the University of Colorado College of Medicine (Colorado, USA), and colleagues submits that: “Current research that is focused on pushing the frontiers of potential stem cell therapeutics strongly suggests that millions of people worldwide who suffer from debilitating diseases can be helped with some form of intervention involving the use of human stem cells.” The team explains that the need for stem cell therapies (based on two categories of stem cells, embryonic stem cells (ESCs), able to differentiate into many kinds of cells (pluripotent), and adult (somatic) stem cells, less capable of high differentiation) - corresponds to many of the diseases most responsible for mortality. With the list of potential stem cell therapy targets includes: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury and autoimmune diseases, including diabetes, the researchers strongly conclude that: “The future indeed is promising and although there are no assurances that cures will be found there is a strong scientific consensus among those involved that time, innovation, and some serendipity together will lead to cures. Those afflicted deserve no less.”

John R. Sladek, Jr., Kimberly B. Bjugstad. “The Future of Stem Cell Applications: Charting the Sea of Opportunity.”  Technology and Innovation, Vol. 13, pp. 75–82, 2011 1929-8241/10.

Zannos Grekos, MD

Stem Cells: Basic Concepts, Current Clinical Applications and Case Studies  

2009 A4M Orlando Conference

Dipnarine Maharaj MD

Delivery of Stem Cell Transplantation for Regenerative Medicine

2010 18th international A4M conference

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