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Israeli stem cell research shows umbilical cord blood can rejuvenate damaged heart tissue
Israel21c ^ | September 18, 2005 | David Brinn

Posted on 09/19/2005 1:17:30 PM PDT by nickcarraway

When Dr. Christian Barnard performed the world's first successful heart transplant back in 1967, he reached a new peak of human scientific achievement.

However, almost 40 years later, the criteria for receiving a new heart is quite stringent, and heart transplants are granted to those patients who have the highest chance for recovery. For thousands of elderly or gravely ill patients with damaged hearts, a transplant is not an option.

Now Israeli researchers are at the forefront of research which could one day make heart transplants obsolete - using stem cell technology, they're developing a way to use the blood of a newborn baby's discarded umbilical cord (UCB) as an unlimited source of stem/progenitor cells that could be injected into the injured heart in order to regenerate damaged heart tissue.

Despite major advances in diagnosis and prevention, myocardial infarction (MI) continues to be a leading cause of morbidity and mortality around the world. According the American Heart Association, over 13 million Americans suffer from coronary heart disease, which account for over one million deaths a year.

The loss of heart muscle cells - or myocytes - in an injured heart often leads to irreversible deficits in cardiac function. Current clinical interventions to minimize the devastating effects of heart attack have not found a way to regenerate the damaged cells and prevent possible heart failure.

But recently, stem-cell based therapy has emerged as a novel strategy to repair myocardial damage. However, according to Professor Jonathan Leor, one of the pioneers of the UCB research, one of the biggest unmet challenges so far has been to produce a sufficient number of suitable cells. He said that stem cell transplantation into the damaged tissue has limitations from both a practical and clinical points of view.

"The two main groups of stem cells that have been investigated until now as potential sources of tissue for repair are human embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells," explained Leor, director of the Neufeld Cardiac Research Institute, a Tel-Aviv University Institute located at the Sheba Medical Center.

"The limitation of the former is that it's difficult to control its differential - its conversion to adult tissue - and the risk of tumor formation is high. Another limitation is the likelihood of serious complications of immunosuppressive therapy - this could result in infections, or cancer," Leor told ISRAEL21c.

"Adult stem cells on the other hand are autologous - they're taken from the patient themselves, so they're a perfect match. However, these stem cells are rare, and difficult to isolate. And if you're dealing with a sick or elderly patient - which is mostly the case - their capacity of their cells to regenerate and proliferate is low," he added.

For all those reasons, Leor said that there's been a need to find alternative sources of stem cells for regeneration and repair. And, according to his research, umbilical cord blood has turned out to be a very attractive source for myocardial repair.

"UCB cells are readily available, are used in patients with hematologic disorders including genetic diseases and hematologic malignancies, and have many advantages that are relevant to cell therapy for cardiac healing and repair," he said, adding, "The use of UCB stem cells is of importance to elderly and sick people in whom the availability of autologous stem cells is limited."

Among the advantages he outlined are the UCB cells' richness in stem and progenitor cells, with improved characteristics for regeneration. These cells can be easily obtained, expanded in vitro have the potential for enhanced self-renewal and can be 'banked' for future use.

The collection of UCB from as many donors as possible would also increase the likelihood of finding a match for people from many ethnic groups. And according to Leor's research, it appears that there is reduced risk of rejection by the recipient's immune system with UCB-derived stem cells. And finally, the use of UCB may make stem cell transplants available more quickly for patients with severe cases of heart disease who may die before a donor match can be made.

"The cells can participate in repair in more than one way - there's the potential for them to be converted into heart cells or cells that create new vessels to repair the damaged heart tissue. In addition, the cells release molecules and hormones that promote the healing and repair of damaged heart cells," he said.

Just as importantly, there is no ethical issue involved with using the stem cells of UCB, as there are with using stem cells from embryos.

"Usually, the umbilical cord is thrown away anyway, there's no ethical dilemma involved, we're not using an embryo," said Leor.

Leor - who worked together with Prof. Arnon Nagler, director of the Sheba Medical Center Hematology Department, its Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, and its Cord Blood Bank, performed a pilot study to demonstrate the safety and feasibility of intracoronary delivery of UCB progenitor cells into the infarcted myocardium of pigs, and to track cell migration and colonization.

They discovered clusters of human cells had colonized and survived in the infracted myocardium - thus, the experiment proved that UCB-derived cells can be delivered to the infracted myocardium by a catheter-based technique and some cells can survive..

The mechanism by which cell transplantation improves cardiac function is uncertain and in many studies remains speculative, explained Leor.

"One of the challenges today is to develop a technique to expand the cells and increase their number," he said, adding that he's collaborating in this effort with Israeli stem cell research innovators Gamida-Cell in this effort.

Gamida-Cell is a leader in the expansion of blood stem cell therapeutics in clinical development for cancer and autoimmune diseases, as well as future regenerative cell-based medicines including cardiac and pancreatic repair.

"They have a patent on how to expand and increase the number of stem cells - we're doing research for them. They're expanding the cells, and we test them in animal model of heart disease. We have the proof of concept that even after expansion the cells are able to generate new tissue and improve heart function." said Leor.

His team plans to initiate pre-clinical trials using pigs sometime before the end of the year.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Israel; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: adultstemcells; biotechnology; cardiacmyopathy; cordblood; cvd; heartattack; heartdisease; heartfailure; israel; prolife; stemcell; stemcells; umbilicalcord; umbilicalcordblood

1 posted on 09/19/2005 1:17:37 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah; cpforlife.org; MHGinTN; NYer

ping


2 posted on 09/19/2005 1:18:40 PM PDT by nickcarraway (I'm Only Alive, Because a Judge Hasn't Ruled I Should Die...)
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To: nickcarraway

!!!!!


3 posted on 09/19/2005 1:19:01 PM PDT by Red Badger (I was born in poverty. I didn't like it, so I left.............)
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To: nickcarraway

More power to democratic Israel. I always found them sincere and smart.


4 posted on 09/19/2005 1:29:01 PM PDT by velocityguy
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To: nickcarraway

meanwhile today in "Palestine", 'ahmed abu mussa' figured out how to make a suicide belt explode giving greater control of the throw weight to the shahid...


5 posted on 09/19/2005 1:50:18 PM PDT by APRPEH
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To: velocityguy

The use of stem cells to repair myocardial muscle was reported at the major lecture at the American Society of Hemtology meeting in 2002. Umbilical cord blood is a new twist but the principle is the same. Please chalk another up for America!


6 posted on 09/19/2005 1:53:03 PM PDT by AZFolks
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To: AZFolks
To thing of it is: instead of all the brouhaha over stem cells, scientists should have and could have been looking at cord blood from the beginning. Methinks some abortion ideologues hijacked the bio-research field.
7 posted on 09/19/2005 3:01:32 PM PDT by NYCynic
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Yehuda; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; ...
If you'd like to be on this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.

..........................................

The treatment to be boycotted by some, I'm sure.

8 posted on 09/19/2005 4:26:54 PM PDT by SJackson (“I worry that I've seen this movie before”, Rep. Mark Kirk on aid to palestinians.)
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To: SJackson; neverdem

heavy duty heart ping


9 posted on 09/19/2005 5:09:58 PM PDT by bitt ('But once the shooting starts, a plan is just a guess in a party dress.' Michael Yon)
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To: nickcarraway; Coleus; Peach; Mr. Silverback; airborne; Asphalt

bump & a ping


10 posted on 09/19/2005 10:42:07 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: APRPEH

No kidding. One saves lives, one takes lives. Such a stark difference.


11 posted on 09/20/2005 5:42:42 AM PDT by veronica ("America has been killing people on this continent since it was started." - Mother Sheehan)
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To: neverdem; 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; ...


12 posted on 09/20/2005 8:41:19 AM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: Coleus

Amazing stuff ... and it doesn't involve killing people, either.


13 posted on 09/20/2005 8:49:50 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: SJackson

What boycott?

Pro-lifers are all in favor of umbilical cord stem cell usage.

No soul is sacrified in the process.


14 posted on 09/20/2005 12:37:58 PM PDT by George from New England
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To: George from New England; SJackson

Boycott was in reference to those who are choosing to "divest" from evil Israel.

Somehow the hypocrites are not rushing to divest from those Israeli products that may save their sorry asses.

I also doubt they will all toss their PC's.

http://tinyurl.com/aowvl


15 posted on 09/20/2005 12:47:10 PM PDT by Sabramerican (Islam is to Peace as Rape is to Love)
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To: PatrickHenry; b_sharp; neutrality; anguish; SeaLion; Fractal Trader; grjr21; bitt; KevinDavis
FutureTechPing!
An emergent technologies list covering biomedical
research, fusion power, nanotech, AI robotics, and
other related fields. FReepmail to join or drop.

16 posted on 09/20/2005 6:52:43 PM PDT by AntiGuv (™)
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To: AntiGuv

Ping acknowledged.


17 posted on 09/20/2005 6:54:11 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (Disclaimer -- this information may be legally false in Kansas.)
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To: AntiGuv

Why can't those umbilical cords be sold by the woman who gave birth? It's her tissue. It was thrown away in the past because it had no value, but now it has considerable value. So why not recognize it as her property? It might help to pay for at least some of the cost of the delivery. I don't see any ethical issues that could interfere with this. It's not as if she's selling her baby's tissue.


18 posted on 09/20/2005 7:02:29 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (Disclaimer -- this information may be legally false in Kansas.)
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To: George from New England

Later pingout.


19 posted on 09/20/2005 8:04:36 PM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: AntiGuv

Thanks for ping. Great article!


20 posted on 09/20/2005 10:47:44 PM PDT by SeaLion ("Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man" -- Thomas Paine)
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To: nickcarraway

In April of 2001 or 2002, a local guy was on TV news telling about a treatment which is only available to a patient who cannot undergo surgery again. Said it was experimental, and derived from the fetus, when the organs are developing. Sounds a lot like what they're referring to in Israel.


21 posted on 09/24/2005 1:50:28 PM PDT by Waco
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