Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Health

The American Heart Association has presented research that stem cell therapy can help people that have chronic, high-risk heart failure reduce future occurrences.

When the heart is unable to pump blood adequately to satisfy the body of oxygen and nutrients, heart failure can occur. This study was conducted to examine how injecting stem cells into the heart could treat inflammation and reduce chronic heart failure. The potential of this procedure is important on changing the way treatment for heart failure is administered.

The study addresses the aspects of heart failure like inflammation, which are greatly untreated. Currently, the treatments are device therapy development and pharmaceutical. These new findings indicate stem cell therapy could be used in addition to standard guideline therapies.

The study consisted of 537 adult participants that were divided into 2 groups. All of the participants had a history of heart failure and also exhibited reduced ejection fraction. This is when the heart’s left side, which is the main pumping chamber is weakened.

Half of the group were randomly chosen to receive an injection of 150 million stem cells directly into the heart using a catheter. The rest of the group received a scripted procedure that was fake. The participants were then monitored for about 30 months.

The main focus was to see if any of the stem cell recipients had to be admitted to the hospital for worsening heart failure treatment. They also tracked to see whether or not any of the participants had a stroke, heart attack or had died. They were measured for levels of high-sensitivity CRP (c-reactive protein) which is an indication of inflammation found in the blood.

And that while hospitalizations did not decrease other significant findings did occur. The participants that had the stem cell injection showed a 65% reduction in strokes and non-fatal heart attacks. Of those that had high levels of inflammation they showed 79% less to have a stroke or non-fatal heart attack and 80% less cardiac death.

It was determined that the stem cell injection treatment was effective in addition to the current standard treatments for heart failure. The stem cells also helped blood vessels in the body but acted primarily in the heart. This is the first time that these cells could be linked to a cause and effect support to heart failure.

Further research is warranted to understand the progression of heart failure and how the stem cell injections can affect it.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Stem cell therapy for heart failure reduced major CV events and death, not hospitalization

Using Space to Leverage Stem Cell Medicine and Science

Zero gravity conditions found in space may be the secret to mass producing stem cells with life saving advances here on earth.

Stem cells tend to be more productive in microgravity conditions. They could be produced by biomanufacturing biomaterials like microbes and substances to be used in clinical, preclinical and therapeutic applications.

Researchers have found that microgravity and spaceflight are desirable places for biomanufacturing. This is due to the fact that a variety of special properties can be sent to biological processes and tissues. This may help produce cells and other products in a method that can’t be done on earth.

The last 10 years have shown exceptional progress in regenerative medicine research in space technologies which are creating new avenues to commercialize and access space.

More than fifty possible business opportunities for conducting biomanufacturing could be available in space. The three most promising were biofabrication, disease modeling, and products derived from stem cells.

Biofabrication uses manufacturing processes in order to produce materials like organs and tissues. Printing in the form of 3D is one of the basic biofabrication technologies.

A significant issue with the production of these materials on earth involve gravity-induced density. This makes it difficult for cells to expand and grow. With the absence of density of gravity in space, researchers hope they can use printing in the form of 3D to print unique products and shapes in a manner that can’t be done of earth.

Disease modeling is used to study diseases and potential treatments by copying full function structures using organoids, stem cells or other tissues.

Researchers have discovered that exposing the body to low gravity conditions for an extensive period of time can accelerate aging and bone loss. Through the development of disease models, researchers are able to understand the mechanisms of disease progression and aging,

This work not only helps astronauts, but can lead to manufacturing skeletal muscle or bone constructs. These can then be used for diseases such as osteoporosis and similar varieties of muscle wasting in the acceleration of bone aging that happen on earth.

The third avenue is stem cell production in relation to understanding how their fundamental components are affected by microgravity. It is important to discover some of the properties that lead to stem cell renewal and differentiation.

Through understanding how stem cells are affected in spaceflight it can possibly lead to improved manufacturing of stem cells in low gravity. Plans are in process with NASA and a private contractor to send stem cells into space next year. This will determine whether it is possible to produce them in large quantities in an environment that is low gravity.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Biomanufacturing in low Earth orbit for regenerative medicine

Young Blood Helps Rejuvenate Aged Muscles in Mice

As we age our muscles become weaker and smaller and not able to heal as well after an injury. Researchers in a new study have made an important discovery to keep muscles in mice youthful. This discovery could advance the regeneration of muscle therapies for the older population.

The study shows the pattern of circulating extracellular vesicles or EVs. They deliver instructions genetically such as mRNA needed to make the longevity protein Klotho to the cells in muscles. Impaired muscle repair and loss of function of muscles in older mice can be due to older EV’s. They send less mRNA than those in younger mice. These findings are a significant advance in the understanding why the capacity for muscle regeneration lessens with age.

This news is exciting because it helps to understand the biology as to how regeneration of muscle works and doesn’t work as well as people age. Taking this information further, the hope is that EV’s can be used as therapeutics to prevent the defects related to age. EV’s may also be useful in the regeneration of other parts of the body such as organs.

The study adds to years of research showing that the blood of younger mice when given to older mice restores many tissues and cells. In the past it wasn’t clear which components conveyed the rejuvenating effects.

The team wondered if EV’s might add to the regeneration of muscles by traveling between cells through the blood and other fluids. They found that the EV’s are able to deliver information to the muscle cells.

The team collected serum from blood cells in the younger mice that remained after clotting factors. They then injected this into the older mice who had injured muscles. The mice that were given this serum showed greater regeneration of muscles and functional recovery when compared to the mice who received a placebo treatment. However, the serum’s properties to restore the muscles were lost when the EV’s were removed from the serum showing that the vesicles mediated the beneficial effects of the younger blood.

Looking deeper, the team found that EV’s deliver mRNA or genetic instructions that encode the anti-aging Klotho protein to muscle ancestor cells. These types of cells are important for skeletal muscle regeneration. Fewer copies of the Klotho instructions were collected from the EV’s in older mice than those from the younger mice. This prompted muscle ancestor cells to produce smaller amounts of the protein.

As we age, muscles do not heal as well after damage due to creation of scar tissue instead of muscle. In earlier research, the team discovered that Klotho’s regulation of regenerative capacity in muscle ancestor cells is vital and this protein declines with age.

For the first time this study shows that shifts in EV delivery due to age contributes to depletion of Klotho in older stem cells. This suggests that EV’s have the potential for new therapies to heal muscle tissue damage.

EV’s may be advantageous for boosting muscle regenerative capacity in older people and improvement of functional recovery following an injury. An exciting possibility is the engineering EV’s with specific carriers so that they can dictate the target cells responses.

Besides muscles, EV’s might also help improve other affects of aging. Earlier work showed that young blood improves cognitive performance of older mice.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Regulation of aged skeletal muscle regeneration by circulating extracellular vesicles

Aging Reversed / ABC News

Now researchers have found a way not just to stop, but, reverse the aging process. The key is something called a telomere. We all have them. They are the tips or caps of your chromosomes. They are long and stable in young adults, but, as we age they become shorter, damaged and frayed. When they stop working we start aging and experience things like hearing and memory loss.

In a recent study published in the peer reviewed journal Nature scientists took mice that were prematurely aged to the equivalent of 80-year-old humans, added an enzyme and essentially turned their telomeres back on. After the treatment they were the physiological equivalent of young adults. You can see the before and after pictures in the videos above. Brain function improved, their fertility was restored it was a remarkable reversal of the aging process. In the top video the untreated mouse shows bad skin, gray hair and it is balding. The mouse with it’s telomeres switched back on has a dark coat color, the hair is restored and the coat has a nice healthy sheen to it. Even more dramatic is the change in brain size. Before treatment the aged mice had 75% of a normal size brain like a patient with severe Alzheimers. After the telomeres were reactivated the brain returned to normal size. As for humans while it is just one factor scientists say the longer the telomeres the better the chances for a more graceful aging.

The formal study Telomere dysfunction induces metabolic and mitochondrial compromise was published in Nature.

Additional information published by Harvard can be found in the following articles.

Scientists Find Root Molecular Cause of Declining Health in the Old

Decoding Immortality – Smithsonian Channel Video about the Discovery of Telomerase

While scientists are not yet able to accomplish the same results in humans we believe we have developed a nutraceutical to help prolong youth and possibly extend life until age reversal therapy for humans becomes available.

Stem Cell Secret’s of 115 Year Old Woman

New evidence that adult stem cells are critical to human aging has recently been published on a study done on a super-centenarian woman that lived to be 115 years. At death, her circulating stem cell pool had declined to just two active stem cells from stem cell counts that are typically more than a thousand in younger adults. Super-centenarians have survived all the normal diseases that kill 99.9% of us before 100 years of age, so it has been a mystery as to what actually kills these hardy individuals. This recent data suggest that stem cell decline may be the main contributor to aging. If so, stabilizing stem cells may be the best thing one can do to slow your rate of aging.

There are many theories of aging that have been proposed. For example, damage to cells and tissues from oxidative stress has been one of the most popular fundamental theories of aging for more than half a century. Yet antioxidant substances or genes that code antioxidant enzymes have proven largely ineffective in slowing aging when tested in model animals. Thus, interest by scientists has shifted to other hypotheses that might provide a better explanation for the slow declines in function with age.

Stem cells provide one such promising mechanism of aging. Of course, we all know that babies are young and vigorous, independent of the age of their parents. This is because adults have embryonic stem cells that can generate young new cells needed to form a complete young baby. Indeed, these embryonic stem cells are the product of continuously evolving stem cell populations that go back to the beginning of life on earth over 3.5 billion years ago!

In adults, the mostly immortal embryonic stem cells give rise to mortal adult stem cells in all the tissues of the body. These adult stem cells can regenerate your cells and tissues as they wear out and need replacement. Unfortunate, adult stem cells also age, which leads to fewer cells and/or loss of function in cell replacement. As functional stem cells decline, skin and organs decline with age.

Blood from world’s oldest woman suggests life limit

Time Magazine: Long-Life Secrets From The 115-Year-Old Woman

Somatic mutations found in the healthy blood compartment of a 115-yr-old woman demonstrate oligoclonal hematopoiesis

The somatic mutation burden in healthy white blood cells (WBCs) is not well known. Based on deep whole-genome sequencing, we estimate that approximately 450 somatic mutations accumulated in the nonrepetitive genome within the healthy blood compartment of a 115-yr-old woman. The detected mutations appear to have been harmless passenger mutations: They were enriched in noncoding, AT-rich regions that are not evolutionarily conserved, and they were depleted for genomic elements where mutations might have favorable or adverse effects on cellular fitness, such as regions with actively transcribed genes. The distribution of variant allele frequencies of these mutations suggests that the majority of the peripheral white blood cells were offspring of two related hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) clones. Moreover, telomere lengths of the WBCs were significantly shorter than telomere lengths from other tissues. Together, this suggests that the finite lifespan of HSCs, rather than somatic mutation effects, may lead to hematopoietic clonal evolution at extreme ages.

New Link Between Diet, Intestinal Stem Cells and Disease

An unhealthy diet can increase the risk for diabetes, obesity, and gastrointestinal cancer. Researchers have discovered some new insights that help them better understand the connection between the molecular mechanisms responsible for this. The findings open an avenue for developing non-invasive therapies.

A person’s energy balance is maintained by the intestine and it reacts quickly when changes in its nutrient balance and nutrition occur. It does this with the assistance of intestinal cells along with food absorption and hormone secretion. Every 5-7 days these cells regenerate.

Intestinal stem cells are constantly renewing and developing into intestinal cells. This ability is critical for the digestive system to maintain normal adaptability. An unhealthy diet consisting of fats and sugar disrupt this adaptation and can lead to the development of gastrointestinal cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

The research team wanted to find out the molecular mechanisms contributing to this maladptation. They assumed that intestinal stem cells play an important role. By using mice, they measured how a diet high in fats and sugar affected the cells and then compared the results to a control group.

Their findings showed that the size of the small intestine increased substantially with the unhealthy diet. They then compared 27,000 intestinal cells from the high fat/high sugar diet group to the control group. The intestinal stem cells divided and changed faster in the mice on the unhealthy diet. The team hypothesized this happens due to an upregulation of the signaling pathways that links an acceleration of tumor growth in many types of cancer. This is a probable important link that diet influences metabolic signaling leading to an excessive growth of intestinal stem cells and a high risk of gastrointestinal cancer.

With a high resolution technique, the team were able to study cell types that are rare in the intestine. They demonstrated that an unhealthy diet produces less serotonin in the intestine. The study also showed that absorbing cells adapt to the high fat diet and the functionality increases which produces weight gain.

The findings lead to a new understanding of disease mechanisms that are linked to a high calorie diet. They are of critical importance for the development of alternative non-invasive therapies. As of now there are no pharmacological approaches to stop, prevent or reverse diabetes and obesity. Only bariatric surgery can cause permanent weight loss and can lead to a remission of diabetes. These surgeries are non-reversible, invasive and costly.

New non-invasive therapies could be a reality at the hormonal level through targeted regulation of serotonin levels. The group will be examining this and other approaches in later studies.

To view the original scientific study click below:Diet-induced alteration of intestinal stem cell function underlies obesity and prediabetes in mice

Is it Healthy to Eat at Night?

While it may be hard to fit nutritious meals into a busy day especially for someone who works late hours, it appears that eating at nighttime could be bad for your health.

In a study by the National Institutes of Health, a team divided 19 participants, both women and men, into two different groups with different schedules for meals. One group ate during the day, while the other group ate at night. The participants who ate at nighttime showed a 6.4% increase in glucose levels. This can lead to a variety of severe health issues including heart disease and diabetes.

The research reinforces that at what time you eat does matter for determining outcomes of health such as blood sugar levels. This is relevant for workers at night as they will usually eat while on their night shift.

If you do eat at night, there are a few things at play that can effect glucose levels. Typically a person eats easy to grab, highly processed foods that are high in calories, salt and sugar. And the inability to burn some of the calories before you go to bed can result in weight gain.

One of the most important things a person can do is to change eating habits by putting together a daytime routine. Staying away from erratic eating times and creating a consistent eating schedule will go a long way towards benefiting a persons health.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Daytime eating prevents internal circadian misalignment and glucose intolerance in night work


New Discovery About the Anti-Aging Effects of Exercise

Scientists at Monash University in Australia have discovered a new enzyme that works to improve our health through exercise. Promoting the enzyme’s activity helps protect against the results of aging, improves metabolic health and can reduce type 2 diabetes.

The worldwide population over 60 years of age will increase substantially in the next 30 years. Type 2 diabetes incidence increases with age which will result in a larger number of cases in the future given current trends.

The increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes with aging is the developing inability of the body to respond to insulin. Often this is due to reduced exercise and physical activity as people age. However, it has remained a mystery how the exact mechanisms through which exercise and physical inactivity clear the way for the development of the resistance to insulin.

The team shows that skeletal muscle ROS (reactive oxygen species) generation through aging is key in the growth of resistance to insulin. Skeletal muscles will produce ROS and is increased through exercise. This then drives adaptive responses that are key to health benefits. Levels of the enzyme NOX4 in skeletal muscle are directly linked to age associated decline in sensitivity to insulin.

The research shows how the enzyme NOX4 is necessary for ROS to be induced from exercise and then trigger the responses needed for metabolic health. It is the key to the mechanism that can be targeted through drugs for protection against the consequences of aging.

Using mice the team found that NOX4 increases in skeletal muscle following exercise and leads to higher levels of ROS. This evokes adaptive responses that protected the mice from developing resistance to insulin which will otherwise happen with aging or an induced obesity diet. An abundance of skeletal muscle NOX4 in mice models led to a reduction in sensitivity to insulin.

By provoking the activation of the mechanisms coordinated by NOX4 with drugs, it might alleviate key aspects of aging including the development of type 2 diabetes and resistance to insulin.

They did find that one of the compounds is found naturally in cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli. However, the amount required for anti aging effects might be more than a person would want to consume.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Skeletal muscle NOX4 is required for adaptive responses that prevent insulin resistance

New Stem Cell Treatment to Cure Type 1 Diabetes

A new stem cell treatment has been developed to cure type 1 diabetes. An ongoing clinical trial by Vertex Pharmaceuticals has successfully treated the first patient. He had been living with type 1 diabetes for 40 years and was dependent on insulin.

Type 1 diabetes is a major disease affecting almost 1.6 million Americans. Keeping glucose levels in the normal range requires constant attention. Diabetics must check their blood sugar several times a day. This involves pricking a finger or wearing a glucose monitor. It is a life-threatening disease if not kept at bay.

There are many risks associated with the disease. It is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure. Blood sugar level can plummet while a person is sleeping and can lead to leg amputation. It increases the chances of a stroke or heart attack and weakens the immune sys

The pancreas produces insulin and pancreas transplants are the current cure. There are also insulin producing clusters of cells, called islet cells that have been transplanted from a donor. The problem is that there is just not enough pancreas’ or donors to supply everyone.

It took many years to develop this tretment. This involved creating islet cells from stem cells. Finally, one night the experiment worked and functioning pancreatic islet cells had been made from embryonic stem cells.

The first patient in the clinical study had suffered 5 severe and potentially life-threatening episodes in the previous year. His blood sugar was extremely low during these occurrences. Tests revealed that his body was unable to create insulin.

For the trial, he was injected with the islet cells that were grown from stem cells. They were identical to the pancreatic cells that produce insulin lacking in his body. Since the injection his body now controls his blood sugar and insulin levels, curing the disease.

The result is remarkable. The clinical trials will continue for 5 years with 17 patients. The possibility of curing diabetes with this treatment could be life-changing.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Vertex Announces Positive Day 90 Data for the First Patient in the Phase 1/2 Clinical Trial Dosed With VX-880, a Novel Investigational Stem Cell-Derived Therapy for the Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

Food Additive Alters Intestinal Environment and Human Microbiota

A new clinical research project has shown that the commonly used food additive carboxymethylcellulose will alter a healthy person’s intestinal environment. This will upset the levels of nutrients and good bacteria. The findings indicate that there needs to be further study on the impact of this food additive on the health of people.

Carboxymethycellulose, known as CMC, is a member of synthetic food additives called emulsifiers. They are used in a variety of processed foods to promote their shelf life and enhance texture. It has increasingly been used since the 1960s and has not been tested extensively in humans. It was thought that CMC was safe because the body eliminates it instead of absorbing it. However scientists are challenging this assumption because of the increasing value of health benefits from bacteria that live in the colon.

Tests on mice have shown that CMC and other emulsifiers did alter gut bacteria which resulted in more severe diseases. These included inflammatory conditions such as metabolic syndrome, colon cancer and colitis.

The researchers did a randomized, controlled study in volunteers that were healthy. The participants were housed at the site of the study. They consumed a diet that was additive free or the same diet with CMC. Due to the fact that the diseases CMC promotes in mice will take years to happen in humans, the team focused on metabolites and intestinal bacteria. They discovered that the consumption of CMC did change the make-up of bacteria that populate the colon by reducing some species. Also, fecal samples from the participants on the CMC diet showed an obvious depletion of the metabolites that are beneficial to maintain a healthy colon.

The team did colonoscopies on participants at the start and at the end of the research. They observed a subset of participants that consumed CMC had gut bacteria that encroached into the mucus. This has been previously noted to be a characteristic of type 2 diabetes and inflammation of the bowel. The consumption of CMC didn’t result in any particular disease during the two week study. But the results do support the conclusions of the animal studies that consuming CMC on a long term basis promote chronic inflammatory diseases. Further research of CMC is warranted.

It does disprove the argument that CMC just passes through the body to justify any lack of studies on the additive. Besides supporting the reason for further research of CMC, the current study does provide a blueprint to test individual additives that are added to food in a well controlled way.

The results have suggested that the CMC responses and most likely a variety of other additives to food are personalized. The team is now working on approaches to help predict which people might be sensitive to certain additives.

Click here to view the original scientific study:
Randomized controlled-feeding study of dietary emulsifier carboxymethylcellulose reveals detrimental impacts on the gut microbiota and metabolome