Journal: Stem cell research & therapy
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a motor neuron (MN) disease characterized by the loss of MNs in the central nervous system. As MNs die, patients progressively lose their ability to control voluntary movements, become paralyzed and eventually die from respiratory/deglutition failure. Despite the selective MN death in ALS, there is growing evidence that malfunctional astrocytes play a crucial role in disease progression. Thus, transplantation of healthy astrocytes may compensate for the diseased astrocytes.
MSC-NTF cells are Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSC) induced to express high levels of neurotrophic factors (NTFs) using a culture-medium based approach. MSC-NTF cells have been successfully studied in clinical trials for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patients. MicroRNAs (miRNA) are short non-coding RNA molecules that coordinate post-transcriptional regulation of multiple gene targets. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the miRNA profile could provide a tool for MSC-NTF cell characterization and to distinguish them from the matched MSC from which they are derived.
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are currently being evaluated in numerous pre-clinical and clinical cell-based therapy studies. Furthermore, there is an increasing interest in exploring alternative uses of these cells in disease modelling, pharmaceutical screening, and regenerative medicine by applying reprogramming technologies. However, the limited availability of MSCs from various sources restricts their use. Term amniotic fluid has been proposed as an alternative source of MSCs. Previously, only low volumes of term fluid and its cellular constituents have been collected, and current knowledge of the MSCs derived from this fluid is limited. In this study, we collected amniotic fluid at term using a novel collection system and evaluated amniotic fluid MSC content and their characteristics, including their feasibility to undergo cellular reprogramming.
Repair of large bone defects remains a significant clinical challenge. Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs), a subset of which is known as bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, show therapeutic potential for bone regeneration. However, their isolation, expansion and implantation will need to be conducted under good manufacturing practices (GMP) at separate locations. An investigation which mimics this clinical scenario where large bone defects shall be regenerated is required before clinical trials can be initiated.
Recent advances in stem cells and gene engineering have paved the way for the generation of interspecies chimeras, such as animals bearing an organ from another species. The production of a rat pancreas by a mouse has demonstrated the feasibility of this approach. The next step will be the generation of larger chimeric animals, such as pigs bearing human organs. Because of the dramatic organ shortage for transplantation, the medical needs for such a transgressive practice are indisputable. However, there are serious technical barriers and complex ethical issues that must be discussed and solved before producing human organs in animals. The main ethical issues are the risks of consciousness and of human features in the chimeric animal due to a too high contribution of human cells to the brain, in the first case, or for instance to limbs, in the second. Another critical point concerns the production of human gametes by such chimeric animals. These worst-case scenarios are obviously unacceptable and must be strictly monitored by careful risk assessment, and, if necessary, technically prevented. The public must be associated with this ethical debate. Scientists and physicians have a critical role in explaining the medical needs, the advantages and limits of this potential medical procedure, and the ethical boundaries that must not be trespassed. If these prerequisites are met, acceptance of such a new, borderline medical procedure may prevail, as happened before for in-vitro fertilization or preimplantation genetic diagnosis.
Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is characterized by an early decrease in cellularity of the nucleus pulposus (NP) region, and associated extracellular matrix changes, reduced hydration, and progressive degeneration. Cell-based IVD therapy has emerged as an area of great interest, with studies reporting regenerative potential for many cell sources, including autologous or allogeneic chondrocytes, primary IVD cells, and stem cells. Few approaches, however, have clear strategies to promote the NP phenotype, in part due to a limited knowledge of the defined markers and differentiation protocols for this lineage. Here, we developed a new protocol for the efficient differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) into NP-like cells in vitro. This differentiation strategy derives from our knowledge of the embryonic notochordal lineage of NP cells as well as strategies used to support healthy NP cell phenotypes for primary cells in vitro.
Effective prevention and treatment of hypertrophic scars (HTSs), a common consequence of deep-partial thickness injury, remain a significant clinical challenge. Previous studies from our group have shown that autologous adipose-derived regenerative cells (ADRCs) represent a promising approach to improve wound healing and, thereby, impact HTS development. The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of local delivery of ADRCs immediately following deep-partial thickness cutaneous injury on HTS development in the red Duroc (RD) porcine model.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the therapeutic efficacy of intravenously administered immunoselected STRO-3 + mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs) on clinical scores, joint pathology and cytokine production in an ovine model of monoarthritis.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a treatment paradigm that has long been utilized for cancers of the blood and bone marrow but has gained some traction as a treatment paradigm for multiple sclerosis (MS). Success in the treatment of patients with this approach has been reported primarily when strict inclusion criteria are imposed that have eventuated a more precise understanding of MS pathophysiology, thereby governing trial design. Moreover, enhancing the yield and purity of hematopoietic stem cells during isolation along with the utility of appropriate conditioning agents has provided a clearer foundation for clinical translation studies. To support this approach, preclinical data derived from animal models of MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, have provided clear identification of multipotent stem cells that can reconstitute the immune system to override the autoimmune attack of the central nervous system. In this review, we will discuss the rationale of HSCT to treat MS by providing the benefits and complications of the clinically relevant protocols, the varying graft types, and conditioning regimens. However, we emphasize that future trials based on HSCT should be focused on specific therapeutic strategies to target and limit ongoing neurodegeneration and demyelination in progressive MS, in the hope that such treatment may serve a greater catchment of patient cohorts with potentially enhanced efficiency and lower toxicity. Despite these future ambitions, a proposed international multicenter, randomized clinical trial of HSCT should be governed by the best standard care of treatment, whereby MS patients are selected upon strict clinical course criteria and long-term follow-up studies of patients from international registries are imposed to advocate HSCT as a therapeutic option in the management of MS.
Established therapies for managing kidney dysfunction such as kidney dialysis and transplantation are limited due to the shortage of compatible donated organs and high costs. Stem cell-based therapies are currently under investigation as an alternative treatment option. As amniotic fluid is composed of fetal urine harboring mesenchymal stem cells (AF-MSCs), we hypothesized that third-trimester amniotic fluid could be a novel source of renal progenitor and differentiated cells.