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April 28, 2010

Injected Wnt Proteins Accelerate Bone Healing by 3.5 Times and other Regeneration and Stem Cell News

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Compared to untreated bones, a broken bone heals 3.5 times faster after treatment with liposomal Wnt3a. In this image, yellow indicates bone, green/blue indicates new bone matrix. This image relates to an article that appeared in the April 28, 2010, issue of Science Translational Medicine. The study, by Dr. Steven Minear of Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, Calif., and colleagues was titled, "Wnt Proteins Promote Bone Regeneration."

Wired - Mice healed three times faster than normal after their broken bones were flooded by proteins naturally used to regrow new tissues. The discovery raises the possibility of a stem cell–free route to regeneration. The researchers are now conducing mouse tests of Wnt proteins for skin wounds, stroke and heart-attack recovery, and cartilage injuries. The protein enhancement of healing is applicable to all kinds of tissues.


The following is a rough estimate to how long it will take for your poor broken bone to heal in a cast.

Bone Broken   Time for it to Heal   Time if 3.5 Times Faster
Collar bone (clavicle)  3-8 weeks       6-16 days
Shoulder blade (scapula)  6 weeks         12 days  
Ribs                      4 weeks          8 days 
Upper arm (humerus)    4-10 weeks       8-20 days 
Lower arm (radius,ulna)   6 weeks         12 days
Wrist                  4-12 weeks       8-24 days 
Fingers                 4-6 weeks       8-12 days 
Pelvis                4 - 6 weeks       8-12 days 
Upper leg (femur)        12 weeks         24 days 
Knee (patella)          4-6 weeks       8-12 days 
Lower leg(tibia,fibula)10-24weeks      20-48 days 
Ankle                     6 weeks         12 days 
Foot                 3 - 12 weeks       6-24 days 
Toes                      3 weeks          6 days 


2. One of the papers of the Lancet Series on Renal Medicine addresses the research into kidney regeneration, and how and if it could be possible in humans, as it is in fish. The paper is by Giuseppe Remuzzi, Ariela Benigni, and Marina Morigi, Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Bergamo, Italy.

Evidence from this and other studies suggest that ACE inhibitors might be permissive for kidney repair and regeneration—ie, as well as exerting direct effects they may allow stem cells to repair the underlying pathological damage within the kidney. Despite these positive findings, years of such drug therapy are needed before clinically appreciable benefits in kidney function can be recorded. The authors suggest one strategy could be ACE inhibitors at much higher doses than usually recommended for blood pressure control, in combination with an ARB and a diuretic. Such a strategy, when trialled on 112 patients, resulted in only 2 of 56 patients progressing to end-stage kidney disease, compared with 17 of 56 controls.


3. Forbes covers the stem cell work of Cytori Therapeutics, Geron, Athersys and Celgene.

* The U.S. government lists 2,496 clinical trials of stem cell-based medicines

* Cytori Therapeutics has created a family of medical devices and disposable supplies to extract a cocktail of stem and regenerative cells from a patient's fat and re-inject those cells into the patient during the same surgical procedure. Cytori systems have been used to treat more than 1,000 patients in 38 countries. They are currently being sold for cosmetic and reconstructive procedures and research as well as being evaluated for a range of applications, including heart attack, urinary incontinence, renal failure and liver disease.

* Geron now manufactures seven different types of human cells from embryonic stem cells. Among them are neural cells to treat spinal cord injury and degenerative nervous system diseases, cardiomyocytes to treat heart disease, pancreatic islet cells to treat diabetes, dendritic cells for cancer therapy, chondrocytes for arthritis, osteoblasts to rebuild bone and hepatocytes for drug discovery and liver failure. Geron will restart clinical trials for treating spinal cord injury using human embryonic stem cell therapy. The same drug could be used for treating Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.

* Athersys is testing a stem cell product called MultiStem which could be given to any patient. MultiStem has shown potential to promote healing and tissue repair by reducing inflammation, protecting injured tissue and promoting formation of new blood vessels in areas damaged by heart attack, stroke or other injuries. Athersys recently entered a partnership with Pfizer to jointly develop MultiStem for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, which affects more than 2 million people in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

* Calgene announced that its first stem cell product to enter clinical trials, PDA-001, recently showed very early and very dramatic results in a few Crohn's disease patients. PDA-001 will soon be the object of multiple, larger Phase 2 trials across several diseases
.


4. Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have identified a new growth factor that stimulates the expansion and regeneration of hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells in culture and in laboratory animals


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