Insulin-producing cells grown in the lab could provide a possible cure for the age-long disease (diabetes).
Type 1 diabetes is an auto¬immune disease that wipes out insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells from the body and raises blood glucose to dangerously high levels. These high levels of Blood sugar level can be even fatal. Patients are being administered insulin and given other medications to maintain blood sugar level. To those who cannot maintain their blood sugar level, they are given beta-cell transplants but to tolerate beta cell transplants; patients have to take immunosuppressive drugs as well.
A report by a research group at Harvard University tells us that they used insulin-producing cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells to lower blood glucose levels in mice. Nowadays, many laboratories are getting rapid progress in human stem cell technology to develop those cells that are functionally equivalent to beta-cells and the other pancreatic cell types. Other groups are developing novel biomaterials to encapsulate such cells and protect them against the immune system without the need for immunosuppressant.
Major pharmaceutical companies and life sciences venture capital firms have invested more than $100 million in each of the three most prominent biotechnological industries to bring such treatments into clinical use:
- Massachusetts–based companies Semma Therapeutics
- Sigilon Therapeutics, and ViaCyte of San Diego
Researchers of UC San Francisco have transformed human stem cells into mature insulin-producing cells for the first time, a breakthrough in the effort to develop a cure for type-1 (T1) Diabetes. Replacing these cells, which are lost in patients with T1 diabetes, has long been a dream of regenerative medicine, but until now scientists had not been able to find out how to produce cells in a lab dish that work as they do in healthy adults.
What is T1 diabetes?
T1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas, typically in childhood. Without insulin’s ability to regulate glucose levels in the blood, spikes in blood sugar can cause severe organ damage and eventually death. The condition can be managed by taking regular shots of insulin with meals. However, people with type 1 diabetes still often experience serious health consequences like kidney failure, heart disease and stroke. Patients facing life-threatening complications of their condition may be eligible for a pancreas transplant from a deceased donor, but these are rare, and they are supposed to wait a long time.
Researchers have just made a breakthrough that might one day make these technologies obsolete, by transforming human stem cells into functional insulin-producing cells (also known as beta cells) – at least in mice.
“We can now generate insulin-producing cells that look and act a lot like the pancreatic beta cells you and I have in our bodies,” explains one of the team, Matthias Hebrok from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).
“This is a critical step towards our goal of creating cells that could be transplanted into patients with diabetes.”
Type-1 diabetes is characterized by a loss of insulin due to the immune system destroying cells in the pancreas – hence, type 1 diabetics need to introduce their insulin manually. Although this is a pretty good system, it’s not perfect.
Making insulin-producing cells from stem cells
Diabetes can be cured through an entire pancreas transplant or the transplantation of donor cells that produce insulin, but both of these options are limited because they rely on deceased donors. Scientists had already succeeded in turning stem cells into beta cells, but those cells remained stuck at an early stage in their maturity. That meant they weren’t responsive to blood glucose and weren’t able to secrete insulin in the right way.
Scientists at the University of California San Francisco made a breakthrough in the effort to cure diabetes mellitus type 1.
For the first time, researchers transformed human stem cells into mature insulin-producing cells, which could replace those lost in patients with the autoimmune. There is currently no known way to prevent type-1 (T1) diabetes, which destroys insulin production in the pancreas, limits glucose regulation, and results in high blood sugar levels. The condition can be managed with regular shots of insulin, but people with the disease often experience serious health complications like kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke.
“We can now generate insulin-producing cells that look and act a lot like the pancreatic beta cells you and I have in our bodies,” according to Matthias Hebrok, senior author of a study published last week in the journal Nature Cell Biology.
“This is a critical step toward our goal of creating cells that could be transplanted into patients with diabetes,” Hebrok, director of the UCSF Diabetes Center, said in a statement.
Islets of Langerhans are groupings of cells that contain healthy beta cells, among others. As beta cells develop, they have to separate physically from the pancreas to form these islets.
The team artificially separated the pancreatic stem cells and regrouped them into these islet clusters. When they did this, the cells matured rapidly and become responsive to blood sugar. In fact, the islet clusters developed in ways “never before seen” in a lab. After producing these mature cells, the team transplanted them into mice. Within days, the cells were producing insulin similar to the islets in the mice. While the study has been successful in mice, it still needs to go through more rigorous testing to see if it would work for humans as well. But the research is up-and-coming. “We can now generate insulin-producing cells that look and act a lot like the pancreatic beta cells you and I have in our bodies. This is a critical step towards our goal of creating cells that could be transplanted into patients with diabetes,” He said.
“We’re finally able to move forward on several different fronts that were previously closed to us,” he added. “The possibilities seem endless.”
Basic research keeps elucidating new aspects of beta cells; there seem to be several subtypes, so the gold standard for duplicating the cells is not entirely clear. Today, however, there is “a handful of groups in the world that can generate a cell that looks like a beta cell,” says Hebrok, who currently acts as scientific advisor to Semma and Sigilon, and has previously advised ViaCyte. “Certainly, companies have convinced themselves that what they have achieved is good enough to go into patients.”
The stem cell reprogramming methods that the three companies use to prompt cell differentiation create a mixture of islet cells. Beta cells sit in pancreatic islets of Langerhans alongside other types of endocrine cells. Alpha cells, for example, churn out glucagon, a hormone that stimulates the conversion of glycogen into glucose in the liver and raises blood sugar. Although the companies agree on the positive potential of islet cell mixtures, they take different approaches to developing and differentiating their cells. Semma, which was launched in 2014 to commercialize the Harvard group’s work and counts Novartis among its backers, describes its cells as fully mature, meaning that they are wholly differentiated into beta or other cells before transplantation. “Our cells are virtually indistinguishable from the ones you would isolate from donors,” says Semma chief executive officer BastianoSanna
To get around the donor problem, researchers, including the team at UCSF has been working on nudging stem cells into becoming fully-functional pancreatic beta cells for the last few years. Still, there have been some issues in getting them all the way there.
“The cells we and others were producing were getting stuck at an immature stage where they weren’t able to respond adequately to blood glucose and secrete insulin properly,” Hebrok said.
“It has been a major bottleneck for the field.”
“We’re finally able to move forward on a number of different fronts that were previously closed to us,” Hebrok added. “The possibilities seem endless.”
Regardless of starting cell type, the companies say they are ready to churn out their cells in large numbers. Semma, for example, can make more islet cells in a month than can be isolated from donors in a year in the United States, Sanna says, and the company’s “pristine” cells should perform better than donor islets, which are battered by the aggressive techniques required for their isolation.
As these products, some of which have already entered clinical trials, move toward commercialization, regulatory agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency have expressed concern about the plasticity of the reprogrammed cells. All three firms subject their cells to rigorous safety testing to ensure that they don’t turn tumorigenic. Before successful trials, companies won’t know the dose of beta cells required for a functional cure, or how long such “cures” will last before needing to be boosted. There’ll be commercial challenges, too: while the companies are investing heavily to develop suitable industrial processes, all acknowledge that no organization has yet manufactured cell therapies in commercial volumes.
Nevertheless, there’s growing confidence throughout the field that these problems will be solved, and soon. “We have the islet cells now,” says Alice Tomei, a biomedical engineer at the University of Miami who directs DRI’s Islet Immuno-engineering Laboratory.
“These stem cell companies are working hard to try to get FDA clearance on the cells.”
Protecting stem cell therapies from the immune system
Whatever the type of cell being used, another major challenge is delivering cells to the patient in a package that guards against immune attack while keeping cells fully functional. Companies are pursuing two main strategies:
- Microencapsulation, where cells are immobilized individually or as small clusters, in tiny blobs of a biocompatible gel.
- Macroencapsulation, in which greater numbers of cells are put into a much larger, implantable device.
ViaCyte, which recently partnered with Johnson & Johnson, launched its first clinical trial in 2014. The trial involved a micro-encapsulation approach that packaged up the company’s partially differentiated, ESC-derived cells into a flat device called the PEC-Encapsulation. About the size of a Band-Aid, the device is implanted under the skin, where the body forms blood vessels around it. “It has a semipermeable membrane that allows the free flow of oxygen, nutrients, and glucose,” says ViaCyte’s chief executive officer, Paul Laikind. “And even proteins like insulin and glucagon can move back and forth across that membrane, but cells cannot.”
The trial showed that the device was safe, well-tolerated, and protected from the adaptive immune system—and that some cells differentiated into working islet cells. But most cells didn’t engraft effectively because a “foreign body response,” a variant of wound healing, clogged the PEC-Encap’s membrane and prevented vascularization. ViaCyte stopped the trial and partnered with W. L. Gore & Associates, the maker of Gore-Tex, to engineer a new membrane. “With this new membrane,” says Laikind, “we’re not eliminating that foreign body response, but we’re overcoming it in such a way that allows vascularization to take place.” The company expects to resume the trial in the second half of this year, provided it receives the green light from the FDA.
Semma is also developing macro¬-encapsulation methods, including a very thin device that in prototype form is about the size of a silver dollar coin. The device is “deceptively simple, but it allows us to put [in] a fully curative dose of islets,” Sanna says.
Semma is also investigating microencapsulation alternatives. At the same time, the company is advancing toward clinical trials using established transplantation techniques to administer donated cadaver cells to high-risk patients who find it particularly difficult to control their blood glucose levels. These cells are infused via the portal vein into the liver, and patients take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection.
Sigilon is working on its microencapsulation technology. Launched in 2016 on the back of work by the labs of Robert Langer and Daniel Anderson at MIT, the company has created 1.5-millimeter gel-based spheres that can hold between 5,000 and 30,000 cells (Nat Med, 22:306–11, 2016). Each sphere is like a balloon, with the outside chemically modified to provide immune-protection, says Sigilon chief executive officer Rogerio Vivaldi. “The inside of the balloon is full of a gel that creates almost a kind of a matrix net where the cells reside.”
In 2018, shortly after partnering with Eli Lilly, Sigilon and collaborators published research showing that islet cells that were encapsulated in gel spheres and transplanted into macaques remained functional for four months. The company has not disclosed a time frame for a type 1 diabetes trial “but we’re moving pretty quickly,” says chief scientific officer David Moller.
To conclude, all three firms hope to extend their work to treat some of the 400 million people worldwide with type 2 diabetes, many of them eventually benefit from insulin injections. The recent endorsements from big Pharmaceutical underline the real progress in beta-cell transplants, says Aaron Kowalski, a molecular geneticist and chief executive officer at JDRF, a foundation based in New York that has funded research at ViaCyte and academic labs whose work has been tapped by Semma and Sigilon. “These companies all realize that if they don’t do it, somebody else will. It’s hard to predict exactly when, but somebody is going to make this work.”
Platelet-Rich Plasma has a proven record for healing soft-tissues and other living tissues. But can it actually heal the bones itself?
This could mean PRP, when applied to an affected area whether it’s an elbow joint or knee or back bone area, actually heals everything within it’s reach including the bones. Is that really why PRP actually works?
Platelet-Rich Plasma For Bone Healing
Bones are not just lifeless matter attached to living tissues. It’s as much living as the tissues themselves. And just like the tissues, it’s constantly changing too. The old bone cells are broken down and replaced with new ones in a three-part process called bone remodeling the involves resorption (digestion of old bone cells), reversal (new cells are birthed) and formation (new cells turn into fully formed bones).
This process, just like any other biological processes in the body, requires hormones and growth factors. Some of the names include parathyroid hormone (PTH), calcitriol, insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), prostaglandins, tumor growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP), and plain old cytokines. For this discussion we need to remember only one thing: a large cytokines and growth factors are involved in bone remodeling process.
Which means we accelerate the bone remodeling process by supplying these cytokines and growth factors as suggested by studies like this, this, this, this, this and this.
Why Platelet-Rich Plasma?
Autologous Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP), being completely “whole and natural” can more closely simulate a highly efficient in-vivo situation that anything else out there that are made up of artificial recombinant proteins. In PRP, we are taking advantage of the biological benefits of growth factors whose functions we know as well as those we do not know of yet. From the 15+ factors we know are in PRP including platelet derived growth factor (PDRF), transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), platelet factor 4 (PF4), interleukin 1 (IL-1), platelet-derived angiogenesis factor (PDAF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), platelet-derived endothelial growth factor (PDEGF), epithelial cell growth factor (ECGF), insulin-like growth factor (IGF), osteocalcin (Oc), osteonectin (On), fibrinogen (Fg), vitronectin (Vn), fibronectin (Fn) and thrombospontin-1 (TSP-1)… we’re actually supplying a “holistic” set of nutrients for healing that cannot be mimicked by those obtained artificially.
Platelet-Rich Plasma For Bone Healing
Organic Fertilizers For The Body
The PRP difference is like adding chemical fertilizers versus organic fertilizers on plants. Chemical fertilizers are rich in essential nutrients that we know are needed for crops. On the other hand, organic fertilizers supply nutrients not only to the plants but also to the soil, improving the soil structure and tilth, water holding capacity, reduces erosion as well as promote slow and consistent release of nutrients to the plants itself.
Clearly, organic fertilizers are better, aren’t they?
Platelet-Rich Plasma are like organic fertilizers for our body.
Bonus: Strong Antimicrobial Properties
It seems that the Platelet-Rich Plasma’s healing function has synergistic function to anti-microbial properties. A new study confirms that using Platelet-Rich Plasma in surgeries may have the potential to prevent infection and to reduce the need for costly post-operative treatments.
That’s a nice bonus for the organic fertilizer of our bodies. Perhaps, there are more. So why wouldn’t anyone not take advantage of them?
The scope of Platelet-Rich Plasma is growing as the scientific community continues to unearth its inherent properties. PRP is an unignorable, and unavoidable component of healing.
Thousands of skincare centers across the nation provide at the very least one kind of PRP treatment. However, most do not go any farther than micro-needling with a topical solution. This is mainly because it is far simpler than all other methods, and it is incredibly popular. However, it would make more sense to many practices who have invested in equipment for add in PRP injections as well.
PRP Is Growing Substantially
Regardless of what is being treated, the protocol for obtaining PRP is the same: You draw the blood, place it in the centrifuge, and then take out the PRP from the rest of the material. This simplicity can be combined with PRP’s vast usability to create significant and mindblowing advances in modern medicine.
This includes skincare as well, as the PRP that you get from patients can be used in a plethora of ways. Here are a couple of examples of what can be performed by dermatologists and plastic surgeons the world over.
- Skin Augmentation
Adding a topical solution of PRP ccombined with microneedling can help to regenerate dying skin cells, and makes skin feel soft. Although this will probably work for most clients, many might want more. For instance, if you want to plump up the face, injecting PRPinto the dermis can help provide both beauty, as well as a healing process.
Although if you want to create volume, you will need a filler. One way to do this is by using a Platelet-Poor Plasma filler, or PPP, which is often left over from the PRP process. You can also use Hyaluronic Adic. A combination of these with PRP have been known to provide wonderful results, with some clinicians boasting a 100% success rate.
- Vitiligo Correction
Many companies will shill out millions of dollars to find out how to turn defective cells healthy again. Many are looking into DNA Technology. However, simply utilizing PRPP may provide the same results. Some studies have shown that adding CO2 laser therapy for correcting vitiligo to a PRP treatment can increase it’s effectiveness by 4 times. This can also be beneficial in other areas, such as correcting wrinkles, and even acne scars. So combining PRP treatments are conventional therapies can boost the effects tremendously.
So if PRP can help boost the effects of lasers, it may be able to also boost the effects of other skin therapies as well. It seems like a great opportunity to continue doing the work that you do, but this time it is more effective due to a simple method. This is something that hundreds of skin care facilities are already providing for their clients.
- Hair Rejuvenation
Mesotherapy is a common treatment that utilizes microinjections that deliver a medication throughout the skin’s service. This prodecure has been able to provide great quality results by adding peptides and vitamins to the mix as well. However, one of the best ways that you can incorporate this into your practice is by using PRP therapy.
Mesotherapy can also be used to provide an even amount of PRP all over the body, including face, neck, hands, etc. This helps to rejuvenate the skin and reduce wrinkles, discoloration, and stretch marks. However, this works best when it comes to hair loss treatments. In fact, adding PRP with mesotherapy has exceeding the expectations that the industry has set.
This is why we think PRP therapy is something that every skincare clinic should offer. Since hair loss effects both men and women, it is important to try to work to make your treatments as effective as possible. Your patients will benefit from it and satisfaction will rise, is there any other reason to put it off?
“But I Never Heard Of Them!”
Some of these treatments and combinations are incredibly new, so new, that many might not have heard of them before. However, this is why signing up to use them as soon as possible is vital. This way, you can bee a step ahead of the competition when it comes to providing great services.
The demand for PRP is only growing over time, and the sooner you can get on board, the better off your practice will be. If you are interested in learning more about PRP therapy, or checking out our line of PRP equipment, you can do so by going to the Adimarket website and checking it out for yourself.
PRP provides more effective treatments for less time, less money, and more satisfaction. Tons off practices have been putting their trust in this treatment and have been reaping the benefits long term. PRP is here to stay, so are you ready to seize the potential of this great medical revolution?,
PRP is a powerful means of regenerating tissues, and has pretty a pretty large growth in popularity among patients, especially those who suffer from alopecia. This is despite the apparently lack of evidence that supposedly surrounds the treatment.
Is It A Lack Of Evidence Or Just A Lack Of Funding?The lack of widespread research may have more to do with funding than anything else. Many of the studies that are currently out there about PRP were unfunded, especially on the subject of Hair Regeneration. However, despite this lack of funding, the demand for PRP treatments for hair loss is growing at an unprecedented rate.
When it comes to PRP kits, there are three kinds to choose from. Ones that use gels, one that create a buffy coat, and one that creates a buffy coat utilizing a double spin. It is pretty unanimous that the last option creates the most reliable and concentrated form of PRP possible, at 5-7 times the baseline amount of platelets.
This concentration level also has the most nutrients which helps for the regeneration of blood vessels and stem cells. One commonly recommended tactic is to combine PRP hair regeneration with micro-needling with a topical layer of PRP. This may be beneficial in some cases.
Micro-needling is a way to create small amounts of trauma, which the body reacts to via a healing response. This response, mixed with PRP, can help to stimulate the growth of new cells.
In some instances, a dermatologist might have three sessions, with the first two being PRP injections, and the middle one being a micro-needling with a PRP topical solution. However, micro-needling is completely optional. Whether you choose to use this method or not, you will still be injecting the patient with PRP at the scalp.
Combining PRP with an Allograft Matrix
One thing that many hair regeneration experts do is combine PRP with an Allograft matrix. These are often used when healing wounds, as it changes inactive adult stem cells back into an active form. This makes the wounds heal faster.
This is because an allograft acts like a scaffold that proliferates cell regrowth and speeds up the healing process. Many experts in the fields have noted a high degree of success by using this method.
Allografts are generally made from using the bladder tissue of pigs. However, a better type of allograft is made from amniotic tissues and fluid. This type of allograft can be utilized with little or no chance of being rejected by the body, as opposed to those made from pig bladders.
Medications Vs PRP
The main drugs that are commonly used to regrow hair are Minoxidil and Finasteride. These were designed to be able to prevent male pattern hair loss, but did almost nothing when it came to regrowing lost hair. However, these drugs have been well known to only be temporary solutions, and if the patients stopped taking the drugs, the benefits of them would quickly reverse. These are also not 100% effective at stopping hair loss either, but it can slow the progression.
However, PRP is different. It may actually be the only treatment on the market that has been clinically proven to regrow hair and heal hair follicles. This means that it only only slows down hair loss, but actually helps with hair growth.
Many may ask how temporary the solution is, saying that the other drugs on the market are just temporary solutions. However, many pateints report that a PRP and allograft combination treatment was able to give them great results that lasted for nearly half a decade or more with just one treatment. However, each patient is indeed different.
Aside from drugs, we only had one other choice when it came to hair loss, and that was hair transplants. This is why PRP has been growing in popularity in hair regrowth groups lately. Although those other treatments are not obsolete in the slightest, adding PRP therapy can be both beneficial and safe to patients in the long run.
Some people combine the two, and use PRP alongside Minoxidil and Finasteride with little to no side effects seen to date. You can even combine PRP with laser light scalp stimulation therapy, but that is up to you.
So Try It Out
PRP for hair regeneration, skin rejuvination, and even facelifts is going strong with no sign of stopping. Many dermatologists have already taken the plunge, and since this treatment is not going anywhere anytime soon, it may behoove you to join in on it too.
For more information about PRP including equipment, check out the Adimarket website. We provide great tools for any practice to utilize.
Stem cell research has never been more advanced, and as a result many different types of treatments are currently offered on the market. Unfortunate
ly, some providers are practicing quackery in stem cell therapies, and an abundance of well-intentioned scientific and medical personnel are prematurely publicizing their work. These providers and publishers have cast an unfair shadow of mistrust on this very important branch of medical research and potential treatments.
On the other hand, the contributions of professional medical and stem cell societies and other organizations require self-regulation through accreditation and certification, development of standards, and creation of a platform for collaboration among stakeholders.
Professional Guidelines for responsible Stem Cell Research
International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) is the largest professional organization of stem cell scientists. In 2007, ISSCR impaneled a broad international taskforce to develop a set of professional guidelines for responsible translational stem cell research. Their principles include high standards of preclinical evidence, peer review, scrupulous review of clinical protocol by an Institutional Review Board (IRB), rigorous informed consent, and publication of results whether positive or negative.
The general scientific consensus is that most stem cell therapies are not ready for marketing or commercialization. But the industries that are providing these treatments are increasingly sophisticated and organized, and are challenging established regulatory frameworks.
The International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) has an interest in the promotion of stem cell research and development, but it also is interested in a broader range of cell-based interventions such as immune cell interventions, reproductive medicine, and gene therapy. The ISCT taskforce has working groups on definitions, scientific evidence and biological rationale, laboratory cell processing, clinical practice, regulation, commercial implications, communications, and policy.
Develop terminology, define levels of scientific evidence in new guidelines for stem cell research
The key goals are to develop an appropriate terminology, define the levels of scientific evidence needed to justify routine use or commercialization of a stem cell therapy, address questions of “experimental” and “innovative” use, and understand the global regulatory landscape in order to identify gaps and contradictions.
The ISSCR published revised guidelines for research and clinical translation involving stem cells on May 12, 2016. These new guidelines update and combine guidelines on stem cell research and clinical translation previously issued in 2006 and 2008 Jonathan Kimmelman, Associate Professor of Biomedical Ethics at McGill University, chaired the ISSCR Guidelines Update Task Force. The task force was made up of 25 experts in basic research, clinical research, and bioethics, and received feedback from 85 external individuals and organizations.
2016 guidelines: covering new ground in stem cell research
The 2016 guidelines cover new ground in areas such as gene editing and induced pluripotent stem cells. They introduce a new focus on the communication of results. The task force recognizes that results and potential applications can be exaggerated, leading to distorted understandings of research outcomes in the scientific community, popular press, and among potential patients. The “14-day rule” limiting experimentation on human embryos or embryo-like structures is upheld in these guidelines, although one task-force member has suggested that this may soon be open to revision.
In May, 2016 ISSCR released the following list of all of the new topics addressed in the revised guidelines as part of the announcement of its report:
- Define an Embryo Research Oversight (EMRO) process to encompass both human embryonic stem cell research and human embryo research that may not explicitly pertain to stem cells or generating new stem cell lines;
- Exclude the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from specific stem cell research oversight, and instead call on the existing human subjects review processes to oversee donor cell recruitment (iPS cells behave like embryonic stem cells but are derived by reprogramming more differentiated tissue cells);
- Support laboratory-based research that entails gene editing of the nuclear genomes of human sperm, egg, or embryos, when performed under rigorous review, but hold that any attempt to apply this clinically would be premature and should be prohibited at this time;
- Define principles for evaluating both basic and clinically applied research on mitochondrial replacement therapy, in concordance with recent deliberations in the U.K., U.S., and elsewhere;
- Determine that where there is no undue financial inducement to participate, it may be acceptable to compensate women who donate eggs for research;
- Recognize that the development of increasingly complex in vitro models of early stages of human development should undergo specialized review;
- Highlight opportunities to strengthen preclinical studies in stem cell research, including reproducibility and stringent standards for experimental design;
- Call for robust standards for preclinical and clinical research evidence as clinical trials progress and rigorous evaluation for safety and efficacy before marketing approval;
- Address the valuable contributions made by patients or patient groups to support clinical research and a framework to ensure this is achieved without compromising the integrity of the research;
- Highlight the responsibility of all groups communicating stem cell science and medicine—scientists, clinicians, industry, science communicators, and media—to present accurate, balanced reports of progress and setbacks.
The good news is that stem cell research is evolving into a highly respected and in-demand branch of healing that many consider to be the future of medicine. Since pluripotent stem cells have the ability to differentiate into any type of cell, they are used in the development of medical treatments for a wide range of conditions including physical trauma, degenerative conditions, and genetic diseases (in combination with gene therapy). Further treatments using stem cells are being developed due to stem cells’ ability to repair extensive tissue damage.
Great levels of success and potential have been achieved from research using adult stem cells. In early 2009, the FDA approved the first human clinical trials using embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, which means they can become any cell type of the body, with the exception of placental cells. More and more is being discovered about the plasticity of adult stem cells, increasing the potential number of cell types an adult stem cell can become.