Wednesday, November 21, 2007

World first: Hadassah uses adult stem cells to help patients
Jerusalem Post - Israel
... to help multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients by injecting their spinal columns with large numbers of adult stem cells ...
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Nov 22, 2007 1:08 | Updated Nov 22, 2007 1:37

World first: Hadassah uses adult stem cells to help patients | Jerusalem Post

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1195546693963&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Neurologists at Jerusalem's Hadassah-University Hospital, Ein Kerem, are the first in the world to help multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients by injecting their spinal columns with large numbers of adult stem cells taken from their bone marrow and multiplied in culture.

The clinical trial, while "encouraging" and "promising," remains highly experimental, as all the patients have undergone a single injection with no untreated control group for comparison. With the first patients having received it two years ago, it is too early to know how successful it will be in the long term.

Prof. Dimitrios Karousis, a senior Greek-born neurologist at Hadassah for the past 19 years, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that the clinical trial was "the first in the world with this type of stem cells." There have been, though, unproven and much-criticized claims of the doubtful scientific value of stem cell injections in desperate MS patients at private clinics in Russia and China.

Karousis added that a hospital in England recently announced that it would soon launch a program for stem cell injections similar to Hadassah's.

Among his collaborators were Prof. Shimon Slavin, the world-renowned stem cell expert at Hadassah who has just retired and moved to Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, and Hadassah neurology department head Prof. Tamir Ben-Hur. The team first experimented on lab mice with a model of MS and found that after a month or two (a year or two in human time), 90 percent of their neurons remained intact without any breakdown of their myelin sheath, despite the disease.

MS and ALS are incurable. One can live with MS for decades, but with growing disability; ALS, however, is usually fatal within a few years.

The researchers received official permission to conduct a small study with 25 patients - nine with MS and 16 with ALS, none of whom responded to conventional drug treatments - from the hospital's Helsinki Committee on Human Medical Experimentation. They are waiting for permission from the Health Ministry's Supreme Helsinki Committee to conduct a much larger study, Karousis said.

The ministry is asking a lot of questions, such as exactly what elements are in the culture medium, he added.

In addition to Israelis from various parts of the country, the patients in the trial have come from as far away as the US, South Africa and Italy to get the treatment.

"It is a Phase 1-2 trial, aimed at testing to see how safe it is. While most of the patients' conditions are improved or are stabilized, it's impossible to know how long it will last or how significant the improvement is, as there was no control group," Karousis said. "Yet we are encouraged, as these are patients with advanced cases, many of them in wheelchairs. There were no side effects so far except for a passing fever or headache."

One "dose" of adult stem cells is removed by a needle from the hip bone, then processed and "cleaned" and grown in a special culture. After two months, pure adult stem cells numbering some 50 million are produced and injected into the patient's spinal column. The spinal injection is given only once.

"We are optimistic," said Karousis, "as the use of stem cells is not far into the future. They have already shown some promise in the treatment of joint and bone diseases, immune conditions and ischemia of the heart."

Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in Jerusalem.
Photo: Courtesy

Wed, 21 Nov, 14:31 GMT

FOCUS Adult stem cell breakthrough is code for success for stem cell companies

LONDON (Thomson IM) - Research demonstrating that adult stem cells can be reprogrammed as medically important embryonic stem cells could represent an important breakthrough for companies operating in the field.

The research, to be published on Friday in the journal Science, demonstrates that somatic stem cells, which are found for example in the bone marrow of healthy adults, can be reprogrammed back to an embryonic state, rendering them pluripotent, meaning then can be used for a number of developing treatments.

This new technique could cut out the highly controversial need to use embryonic stem cells in developing some treatments.

John Sinden, chief scientific officer of UK-based ReNeuron Group, said: 'We believe that this research breakthrough has much relevance to ReNeuron's approach to the expansion of stable and biologically potent stem cell lines.'

ReNeuron uses somatic stem cells and is developing them as treatments for conditions such as stroke, diabetes and Parkinson's disease.

The research team reprogrammed the adult stem cells using four genes, one of which, c-myc, which is over-expressed in developing embryos, is used in a variant form by ReNeuron to develop its own stem cell lines.

'We regard the research as a strong scientific endorsement of the technique of gene-based manipulation of stem cells such as that employed by ReNeuron in the development of its own, commercially viable, stem cell therapeutics, including our lead product, ReN001 for stroke,' said Sinden.

The study also provides support to stem cell storage company Cryo-Save, which launched on London's AIM market earlier this month.

Cryo-Save takes stem cells from the umbilical cord, rather than from the embryo, and preserves them in case they are required for future treatment.

Chairman Marc Waeterschoot said: 'I'm very pleased with this announcement, there has been too much lobbying on embryonic stem cells.

'We are advocating the use of adult stem cells and this is proof for that,' he said.

The research is particularly relevant for Cryo-Save because the company is launching a new service next year called Cryo-Lip, where people can have somatic stem cells removed and stored during liposuction for use in potential future treatments.

The company estimated that the stem cell storage market could be worth up to 1 bln eur within ten years.

This research will also be welcome news for groups opposed to the use of embryonic stem cells, such as the lobbying group Comment on Reproductive Ethics.

There are around 80 medical problems that stem cells are currently used to treat, including leukaemia, but there are another 850 ongoing trials to use stem cells to treat conditions like diabetes, Alzheimer's, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and stroke.

The research, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Somatic Cells, was undertaken by teams led by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University and James Thomson of University of Wisconsin-Madison.

ben.deighton@thomson.com

Source:

Thomson Investment Management News

http://www.thomsonimnews.com/story.asp?sectioncode=3&storycode=३२१६०
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incyte reviews positive proof-of-concept clinical results achieved ...
Business Wire (press release) - San Francisco,CA,USA
... total cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as modest increases in hdl incb8696, incyte's lead ccr2 antagonist for multiple sclerosis, recently entered ...
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Inflammation

CCR2 Antagonists: A Promising Target for Inflammatory Diseases

�CCR2 is a chemokine receptor that is involved in the trafficking of inflammatory monocytes. These monocytes are believed to play critical roles in the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases, including multiple sclerosis. Based on the published preclinical data on CCR2, an oral CCR2 antagonist may have the potential to provide significant therapeutic effects in MS, and not cause overt immunosuppression.�
Israel F. Charo, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco


Mechanism of Action

CCR2 antagonists prevent blood monocytes from entering tissue and becoming inflammatory macrophages:

  • The severity of inflammation in a number of disease states correlates with the number of macrophages in tissue.
  • In multiple sclerosis (MS), activated macrophages accumulate in the lesions and are associated with destruction of the myelin sheath.
  • In autoimmune nephritides, macrophages are implicated in lupus renal pathology.

Potential Benefits

  • Novel mechanism.
  • Potential for efficacy with minimal immunosuppression.

Our lead compound: INCB8696

  • Selective compound with excellent pharmacokinetic properties.
  • Convenient oral dosing.

Clinical Status

  • IND filed for MS with Phase I trials in healthy volunteers planned in 2007.

http://www.incyte.com/drugs_product_pipeline.html

Elan and Biogen Denied
Motley Fool - USA
Tysabri wasn't the only potential Crohn's disease treatment to hit a snag this year. PDL biopharma (Nasdaq: PDLI) halted development of its drug candidate ...
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Nutra Pharma Announces Publication Of Test Kit Technology In The International Journal Of TB And Lung Diseases
Medical News Today Wed, 21 Nov 2007 3:17 AM PST
Nutra Pharma Corp. (OTCBB:NPHC), a biotechnology company that is developing drugs for HIV and Multiple Sclerosis(MS), has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Designer Diagnostics, Inc।, will be featured in an upcoming article published in the International Journal of TB and Lung Diseases. The article, which is authored by leading NonTuberculous Mycobacterium (NTM) research scientist, Dr. ...

National MS Society Recognizes Key Contributors
Medical News Today Tue, 20 Nov 2007 2:18 AM PST
Birmingham resident Pat McDonald, the past President of the National MS Society, Michigan Chapter, has been recognized for her 28 years of service and personal contributions in the fight to end the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis (MS). This newly created award, entitled the Patricia A. [click link for full article]

Biogen Idec to team with Swiss firm on Alzheimer's drug
Bizjournals.com - Charlotte,NC,USA
Biogen has overseas headquarters in Zug, Switzerland. It makes multiple sclerosis drugs Tysabri and Avonex at its facility in Research Triangle Park.
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Fat Hormone May Contribute To Longevity

ScienceDaily (Nov. 21, 2007) — Both humans and mice that manage to live to a ripe, old age show a clear change in their glucose metabolism, but it's unclear whether this change alone can increase lifespan.



Altered fasting metabolism may contribute to the increased longevity of Snell dwarf mice (bottom). (Credit: Terry Combs

Using a mouse model of longevity, Terry Combs and colleagues report that changes in metabolism can indeed increase longevity. They demonstrated that long-lived Snell dwarf mice burn less glucose and more fatty acids during periods of fasting, and as a result produce fewer free radicals.

The key to this switch may be adiponectin, a hormone produced by fat cells that helps lower glucose production and stimulates cells to use fat for energy instead. The researchers found that Snell mice had three times as much adiponectin in their blood as control mice; Snell mice also had fewer triglycerides in their cells, indicative of higher fat metabolism.

The benefit of burning fats instead of glucose for energy is that it produces fewer oxygen radicals which can damage cells and exacerbate the effects of aging. Confirming this, Combs and colleagues found far less free radical damage, measured as the frequency of a chemical modification on protein known as carbonyl groups, in Snell mice than controls.

Article: "Low utilization of circulating glucose after food withdrawal in Snell dwarf mice" by Natasha L. Brooks, Chad M. Trent, Carl F. Raetzsch, Kevin Flurkey, Gunnar Boysen, Michael T. Perfetti, Yo-Chan Jeong, Simon Klebanov, Kajal B. Patel, Valerie R. Khodush, Lawrence L. Kupper, David Carling, James A. Swenberg, David E. Harrison, and Terry P. Combs

Adapted from materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071121162443.htm

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