Archive for ipsc

Embryonic, adult, iPSC & epSPC Research

Posted in ALL ARTICLES with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2009 by David Granovsky


A moment in time…

Embryonic stem cell research has taught us an incredible amount and we have much more to learn from them. Unfortunately, embryonics have overshadowed the advances of adult stem cell treatments.

There is a grim fairy tale going on in the US today derived from the love/hate relationship with embryonic stem cell TREATMENT research. You can view the 6 part series here:

The US is waking up to the fact that embryonic stem cells will produce no cures for 7-12 years if then and adult stem cells have been treating people around the world for up to 10 years successfully.

Both will continue, in addition to iPSC and epSPC research, and will do so accompanied by the hysteria, controversy, misinformation and confusion that they have been surrounded by for the past 10 years. My only hope is that the uneven focus on embryonic research does not continue to overshadow the successes of adult stem cells, thereby depriving more millions of Americans from receiving treatments that are available to them just a plane trip away.


Oz, Oprah, Michael J Fox and Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Posted in ALL ARTICLES, BEST OF THE BEST with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2009 by David Granovsky


The Wisdom of Oz

Visualize the surreal image of Oprah Winfrey, Michael J Fox and Dr. Mehmet Oz, wearing purple surgical gloves, sitting on stage around a human brain.  Dr. Oz explains the absence of Nigro-Striatal Neurons in the brain of Parkinson’s patients while lifting out partially dissected chunks of brain and placing them into Michael’s shaking hand.

The camera zooms in as Dr. Oz steadies Michael’s hand in his.  Dr. Oz weaves an intimidating, steel needle between Michael’s gloved and trembling fingers and illustrates the procedure for injecting stem cells into the brain by plunging it both into and through the quivering cerebellum.  Michael’s legs spasm and contort and my stomach clenches empathetically with what I sense is Michael’s extreme discomfort, but is really a symptom of his condition.

And yet, NOTHING could have prepared me for what happened next as Dr. Oz, unbelievably and without prelude or warning, makes the stunning statement:

“I think, Oprah, the stem cell debate is dead.”

“The problem with embryonic stem cells is that embryonic stem cells come from embryos, like all of us are made from embryos, and those cells can become any cell in the body, but it’s very hard to control them and so they can become cancer.”

While astonished by his public announcement, I soon began to wonder: “why did Dr Oz only briefly allude to the potential of iPS cells and the proven benefits of adult stem cell treatments?”  And then it became clear.

Dr Oz recognizes that the average person on an American street is led to believe, “a stem cell is an embryo is a stem cell”.  Due to years of misleading media saturation, as far most Americans know, there are no other stem cells besides embryonic.  Walk down the street and ask someone “what is an adult stem cell…what is an iPS cell”, and your inquiries will surely be met by blank stares.

So in retrospect, what Oz DID do, was truly…amazing.

Shunning the history of the love/hate affair Americans have with Embryonic stem cell research and ignoring the majority of US media over the past 5 years, the decrees of President Obama’s funding policies, the positions of the FDA and AMA and the fruitless decade long public pursuit of embryonic cures undertaken by Michael J Fox (with the benevolent and optimistic spirit of Christopher Reeve hovering over him) and before the bewildered eyes of Michael, Oprah and ~7.2 million viewers, Dr Mehmet Oz nailed the coffin shut on ESC treatments:

“I think, Oprah, the stem cell debate is dead.”

With this one simple statement on national TV, Dr Oz has taken the first step towards educating the American public about the current insurmountable limitations of embryonic stem cells and cracked open the door to the American collective mind-set regarding the potential of iPS cells and the reality that Repair stem cells (RSC) have been treating diseases around the world successfully for a decade.  Despite the fact that thousands of American doctors refer to RSC as “snake oil,” more and more American patients are realizing that the US medical system is faltering, dated and just not working while the greatest medicine the world has ever seen is available just beyond the borders of their own country.

The seeds planted by Dr Oz will take a long time to find purchase in the collective American mind-set.  There is too much embryonic momentum, media and drama, and America loves drama.  Embryonic stem cells will not go away and like Romeo and Juliet, this love/hate affair may have to run its course for most, despite Dr Oz stealing the “distilled liquor” and Romeo’s poison and dagger in an attempt to avoid all of the deaths at the end of this play.

To read more about this grim fairy tale:

One step at a time we will climb this mountain and slowly open American eyes to improve their knowledge of treatment options so all can intelligently exercise the freedom of choice in their individual medical care.  One inch at a time, Oz wisely created a pathway to an amazing new world of available medical treatments for what were previously believed to be incurable diseases and are in fact treating patients successfully around the world.

Dr Oz took this first step and it was a HUGE first step!

So from where I am sitting, I would like to express my heartfelt and sincerest appreciation for Dr Oz’s bravery, statements and actions.  Thank you, Dr. Oz and thank you Oprah; for allowing this sage doctor the forum to break the walls restricting millions of Americans from the knowledge of the medical treatment options they so unquestionably deserve.

To see the original video:


Posted in ALL ARTICLES, BEST OF THE BEST, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2009 by David Granovsky


Dr Mehmet Oz says to Michael J Fox, Oprah & ~7.2 million viewers:

“I think, Oprah, the stem cell debate is dead.”

“The problem with embryonic stem cells is that embryonic stem cells come from embryos, like all of us are made from embryos, and those cells can become any cell in the body, but it’s very hard to control them and so they can become cancer.”

“I can take a little bit of your skin, take those cells, get them to go back in time so they are like they were when you were first made, and then they will start to make that dopamine & I think those cells, because they won’t be as prone to cancer & because they’re your genes will be the ones that are ultimately used to cure Parkinsons.”

“I think we are single digit years away from making a big impact in the lives of Parkinson’s disease but also diabetics, heart disease, people who have had a lot of problems.”

you can see the video here:

news: Stem cell pioneer Thomson’s lab achieves ‘fairly big milestone’

Posted in ALL ARTICLES, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2009 by David Granovsky

This is not the first time that scientists have endowed differentiated cells like skin cells with the capacity to develop into any of the roughly 220 types of cells in the body, a process known as induced pluripotency. However, it is the first time that they have done so without using viruses, which can insert potentially harmful genes into the cells’ genetic material and trigger cancer. –

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers in the lab of Jamie Thomson have made another stem cell breakthrough.

Stem cell pioneer Thomson’s lab achieves ‘fairly big milestone’

Todd Finkelmeyer — 3/27/2009 7:00 am

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers report they have found a way to further purify adult stem cells, taking scientists a step closer to the day when such stem cells could potentially be used to treat people with chronic ailments.

A team of scientists working in the laboratory of Jamie Thomson found a way to reprogram skin cells to an embryonic-like state without leaving behind genetic remnants, which can interfere with basic research by leading to mutations. The UW-Madison researchers are believed to be the first to accomplish this feat, which was reported in Thursday’s online edition of the journal Science.

“It’s a fairly big milestone,” said Thomson, a professor in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health who also is the director of regenerative biology for the Morgridge Institute for Research. “But we also have to keep it in perspective, because we still have a long way to go in this field.”

The study was led by UW-Madison geneticist Junying Yu.

Thomson was the first to successfully culture human embryonic stem cells in 1998. These cells are highly valued because they can turn into any cell of the body. But using them is controversial, as days-old embryos are killed in the process, which social conservatives view as morally reprehensible.

In 2007, Thomson and Yu then co-discovered a way to “reprogram” ordinary skin cells by slipping genes inside them to return these cells to an embryonic-like state. These induced pluripotent stem cells, known as iPS cells, also appear to have the ability to transform into any cell of the body.

Although that 2007 discovery was ground-breaking and exciting, Thomson said the technique used to turn back the clock in these skin cells and convert them to an embryonic-like state was “fatally flawed.” That’s because engineered viruses were used to insert several exotic genes into the cell nucleus, which switched on the reprogramming process. But this genetic baggage could lead to mutations that would crop up and skew basic research.

This extra genetic material also posed health risks to those potentially receiving therapeutic treatment. For example, there would be little benefit to receiving iPS stem cell treatment to cure an ailment if there was a good chance mutations in these cells might trigger cancer.

Rather than using a virus to carry the reprogrammed genes into adult stem cells, the new method developed by the UW-Madison researchers uses a plasmid, a circle of DNA, and cells from the foreskins of newborns. Thomson explained that these plasmids carry all the necessary transgenes, but don’t integrate into the host DNA. According to the Science report, the plasmids replicate, and after they do their job of reprogramming, they can be weeded out — leaving the iPS cells free of any genetic debris which could cause problems.

“This discovery is sort of like the holy grail of being able to convert normal adult cells into iPS cells,” said Jeremy Berg, director of the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Geneal Medical Sciences. “It’s an incremental advance in the sense that a lot of work still needs to be done, but it’s a significant step forward in really creating the tools that people need to develop iPS cells.”

Scientists hope that, some day, they will be able to control the metamorphosis of stem cells to develop replacement tissue to treat a range of ailments, from Alzheimer’s, diabetes and Parkinson’s, to those paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury.

“There’s still room for improvement and we’ll have to make this system even more efficient,” said Berg. “But it’s certainly a full step forward. And as one looks toward the long-term future of actually using iPS cells in therapy, I think the concerns about the previous methods would have been quite profound, whereas this gets around many of those concerns.”

Although most stem cell researchers are hopeful that these skin cells which are reprogrammed into iPS cells can someday replace the use of embryonic stem cells, most agree a great deal of testing still must be done to prove that these iPS cells measure up to the embryonic ones, which are often referred to as the “gold standard” in this field of science.

“Now we have to compare embryonic stem cells in really excruciating detail to see if they’re different at all from these new cells,” said Thomson. “And right now they’re looking very similar. But we hadn’t spent a lot of time on this, because we knew they were flawed and that this would only be temporary. So now we’re going to examine these iPS cells in great detail to see how different they are from embryonic cells. And if they are different, are those differences clinically significant? And that will take some time to work out.”

If these iPS cells do, indeed, perform just like embryonic stem cells, these discoveries could help end the moral debate that sometimes surrounds this science, as using embryonic stem cells would no longer be necessary.

“And if these new cells do end up being the equivalent of embryonic stem cells, then all the work we’ve done on embryonic stem cells directly applies to them, and that’s good,” said Thomson. “But we still have a long way to go.”

Thomson said iPS cells could be especially valuable because they give researchers the ability to individualize treatments by using a patient’s own genetic material.

“And for experimental work, that’s really important,” said Thomson. “Say you want to test a drug on heart cells. You could make a whole lot of different cell lines that genetically match the population — because we already know that drugs respond differently depending on genetic background. And if you can do that ahead of time, you can test how different heart drugs will impact different people. With the (embryonic stem cells), you never had control over that.”

Additionally, iPS cells could be used to study a particular disease. If a person has Parkinson’s, for example, cells could be taken from that person and reverted to iPS cells. Researchers could then observe how that disease unfolds in a lab dish.

“So this is all very exciting,” said Thomson. “But, again, this discovery is just another step in one of many more to come. It’s a long process.”

But a process that is moving along quickly.

“This field is moving at a pretty breakneck pace,” said Berg. “The number of discoveries that are coming is fast and furious. Multiple groups are working very hard and the advances keep coming.”

via news: Stem cell pioneer Thomson’s lab achieves ‘fairly big milestone’.

Dismissing Successful Adult Stem Cell Science

Posted in ALL ARTICLES with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2009 by David Granovsky


Dismissing Successful Science

Filed under: adult stem cell awareness, alternative sources — chelseaz @ 2:38 pm

Regular readers of this blog (and my blog Reflections of a Paralytic) know that I am a steadfast advocate for ethical research and treatments and I will frequently point out the ineffectiveness of embryonic stem cell research and the existence of more effective and ethical alternatives. Although I make it a point to stress the fact that, in the final analysis, the question of whether or not science should proceed with ESCR is really a matter of ethics, not science (in other words, it’s not a battle between ASC and ESC research, that’s not the point) – it still really bothers me when successful, ethical research is constantly dismissed or belittled by those who advocate destroying tiny human beings in the name of science.

A commenter on this post from Regular Guy Paul’s blog recently objected to some claims against ESCR by quoting from this piece on regarding the claims from adult stem cell research advocates that ASCs have treated over 72 different diseases and/or disabilities. The author’s main objection is that there aren’t actually 72 “different” treatments, but only one treatment (Hematopoietic stem cell replacement of bone marrow) for most of those 72 conditions.

First of all, those of us who use that list of 72 ASC successes, don’t claim that it’s 72 different treatments, but that – in humans – 72 different diseases and conditions are or have been treated with ASCs – whether it was the “same” treatment or not – something that cannot be said of ESCs, even in animal models. At any rate, he goes on to say:

while these cells (ASCs) are great at doing their job, the issue with adult stem cell research is, can they do another stem cell’s job? That is, instead of making just blood, could a hematopoietic stem cell make, say, an insulin secreting pancreatic cell? The answer, despite some initial promising results around 2001, is no.

And the commenter asserts:

ASCs don’t look like they have the potential to rebuild organs or repair the CNS…Hematopoietic stem cell replacement of marrow is a far simpler matter than using ESCs to treat Parkinson’s or spinal cord injuries, or to regenerate livers and kidneys.

It must be said here that, although they have had the most success, there is way more to ASCs than just those derived from bone marrow and these folks are ignoring some pretty significant advancements that have been made in ASCR (though, in their defense they may have never seen these stories as they are typically not carried by any mainstream media outlets.) A few examples:

Re: ASCs and insulin:
5/25/07, scientists are able to make umbilical cord blood produce insulin. 3/17/09, scientists successfully use a gene called neurogenin3 to induce cells in the liver to produce insulin. said Dr. Vijay Yechoor: “They look similar to normal pancreatic islet cells (that make insulin normally).”

ASCs and Parkinson’s:
Dennis Turner was treated for Parkinson’s disease with his own neural stem cells, taken from his brain, nearly ten years ago. He went into a significant remission that lasted for about four or five years before symptoms returned. This study has now been peer-reviewed as of 2/09 and phase II trials are now in the works.

Another study with humans: Stem Cell Implant to the Brain Helps Improve Parkinson’s Symptoms – said Dr. Augusto Brazzini Armestar, MD, Director, Instituto Brazzini Radiologos Asociados, Lima, Peru when it was presented at a recent meeting for the Society of Interventional Radiology: “Stem cells from bone marrow have the ability to differentiate into neurons and other tissues”

Most recently: researchers at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass., have converted skin cells from people with Parkinson’s disease into the general type of neuron that the disease destroys.

ASCs and Spinal Cord Injury:
I just did a post last week on the latest ASC-SCI success in which SCI patients were treated with bone marrow derived stem cells and received increased bladder control, regained mobility and sensation. A video accompanies the amazing story.

I link to a number of other stories on that post of SCI being treated with bone marrow derived stem cells, however, the most famous SCI study comes from Dr. Carlos Lima’s treatment of SCI patients with stem cells from their own noses using olfactory mucosa autograft transplantation – not bone marrow.

ASCs regenerating organs:
Last November scientists conducted the first stem cell derived organ transplant when they grew a new windpipe using the patients own stem cells both from bone marrow and cells taken from the healthy part of her own trachea.

Scientists have been able to grow a beating heart in the lab using ASCs.

Study uses bone marrow stem cells to regenerate skin.


There is evidence that stem cells taken from a patient’s nose could produce dopamine-producing brain cells when transplanted into the brain.

Heart derived stem cells have developed into heart muscle.

Australian trials found the injection of adult stem cells – taken from human donors’ bone marrow, abdominal fat, hip, skin or teeth – protected damaged knee cartilage for up to nine months.

Uterine Stem Cells Create New Neurons That Can Curb Parkinson’s Disease.

There have been impressive results in clinical trials using bone marrow, muscle, and fat cells in in heart therapies.

A Finnish man was able to replace his upper jaw thanks to stem cells taken from his own fatty tissue.

a 50 year old man awaiting a heart transplant was treated with muscle stem cells taken out of his thigh.

According to a Japanese study, doctors have used stem cells from liposuctioned fat to fix breast defects in women after they have undergone breast cancer surgery.

University of Manchester researchers have transformed fat tissue stem cells into nerve cells – and now plan to develop an artificial nerve that will bring damaged limbs and organs back to life.

Stem cells collected at birth from the umbilical cord may help doctors fashion new heart valves for children born with heart valve defects.

Louisville clinical trial will use cardiac stem cells to regrow muscle after attack

From a snippet of a patient’s skin, researchers have grown blood vessels in a laboratory and then implanted them to restore blood flow around the patient’s damaged arteries and veins.

Heart valves have been grown from cells in the womb.

And I’ll just end with this one since this is starting to get rather lengthy: Scientists have been able to grow a beating heart in the lab.

Obviously there’s much more than just bone marrow replacement here and ASCs are showing themselves to be way more diverse and useful than was ever originally thought. To assert otherwise is to simply ignore science and dismiss real advancements that are being made in either treating patients now or developing treatments for the future – this with science that does not use or destroy tiny human beings in the process.

As well as keeping your eye on this blog, also check out my ASCR archive at Reflections and Don Margolis’ blog for the latest in ASCR news and successes.

031209 – Daily Dose of Stem Cells

Posted in ALL ARTICLES, Daily Dose of Stem Cells with tags , , , , , , , on March 12, 2009 by David Granovsky


THE BAN IS LIFTING…but so what?

Posted in ALL ARTICLES, BEST OF THE BEST with tags , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2009 by David Granovsky


As the ban is lifting PLEASE remember:

While Embryonic stem cells (ESC) were previously thought to be more powerful than Adult Stem Cells (ASC) because they can become any cell in the body, new studies on ASC are showing that they can become virtually anything. Scientists recently turned Skin-ASC into Neuron-ASC.

A decade of ESC research around the world has resulted in no human treatments & because the ESC continue to divide beyond the scientist’s control, they can turn into tumors. ESC also require immunosuppressive drugs, which one of the most common forms of ASC (autologous) used in treatment do not.

Over the same decade of research, adult stem cell treatments have given thousands improved health, extended lives, helped paraplegics to walk…

Gave a man with AIDs 2 years (so far) free of symptoms…

Successfully improved MS & Cerebral Palsy patients, the list goes on and on…

ASC are already helping improve & extend the lives of patients with dozens of “incurable” diseases,” 73 diseases when you count only US published scientific papers & well over 100 if you read all of the papers from outside the USA.

Additionally, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC) are ASC modified to be able to become any cell in the human body & seem to have all of the benefits of ESC without the tumor potential & with significantly less of a rejection issue; not to mention without the political & religious controversy.

And now, even the NIH is jumping into the ASC research and treatment pool.

Why so much focus on ESC when both ASC & iPSC seem capable of achieving everything ESC can do with a fraction of the obstacles?

The world is treating thousands successfully with ASC. Shouldn’t the majority of funding and research go into ASC & iPSC because only they actually work…and so we can treat the multitude of patients dying and debilitated NOW?

David Granovsky