Wee Yong, PhD, discovered that imperative immune cells in the brains of cancer patients are compromised. Upon identifying this anomaly, researchers at the Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute developed a drug that can re-activate those immune cells, thereby reducing tumor growth and extending lifespan in mouse models. The human brain uses microglia, a specialized brain cell, to defend against injury and infection. This study, published in Nature Neuroscience, demonstrated for the first time that these immune system cells are compromised in living brain tumor patients, causing tumor proliferation. Yet, upon administering Amphotericin B, the microglia were re-activated and halted the progression of tumor growth.
Skin Cells to Stem Cells to Dopamine-Making Neurons to a Brain Transplantation in Parkinson's Patients.
The Scripps Research Institute has paved the groundwork to implement an 8 person clinical trial in which they will surgically implant re-engineered neurons developed as non-embryonic IPS stem cells, into the brains of Parkinson's patients. Once injected into the brain, these new neurons are expected to fully integrate within the brain matter, forming the necessary connections with adjacent neurons to produce dopamine in imperative brain locations. Regulatory discussions are currently under way with the FDA, with hopes to begin the trial in mid 2014.
Stanford University neurosurgeons have successfully implanted the first ' brain radio' in the subthalamic nucleus of a patient suffering from Parkinson's disease. The unique neurostimulation device not only corrects aberrant electrical signaling in specific geographic regions of the brain, but also records electrical signaling data between neurons on a consistent basis. " With this brain radio we can study the brain's signaling patterns at the same time that we're observing a patient's precise movements, with the goal of understanding just which brain rhythms correspond to which specific patterns of movement," said Helen Bronte- Stewart, MD.
This might be the biggest advancement against Leukemia in decades. By transforming a patients very own blood cells into miniature soldiers that can destroy cancer cells, doctors have had great success in keeping their patients cancer free for years. By re-engineering the cells of a patient to seek and destroy cancer cells, doctors were successful in curing 5 adults and 19 of 22 pediatric patients suffering from acute lymphocytic leukemia. This may be the first gene therapy approved in the United States.
Penn has patented its method of engineering blood cells and licensed it to Switzerland-based Novartis AG. Novartis is building a research center on the Penn campus. They plan to undertake a clinical trial next year that could lead to federal approval of the treatment as soon as 2016
Beyond advocating how Google Glass will be utilized to provide surgeons with real-time imaging information during operations, neurosurgeons enthusiastically promoted key innovations in their respective fields. A novel laser technology that enables neurosurgeons to target near brain stem tumors, and other previously inoperable tumors due to location, is being accepted with excitement. The ultra-thing laser is capable of selectively heating up the tumor, thereby providing a heat map for the surgeon to destroy diseased tissue in a manner unimaginable hitherto.
Stanford University scientists report in the journal Neuron that electrical brain stimulation of the anterior midcongulate cortex evoked feelings of an imminent challenge coupled with an unwavering determination to overcome the impending obstacle.
Scientists from Columbia University report in Nature Biotechnology that they have successfully converted human stem cells intro functional lung cells. This unprecedented discovery may pave the way for innovations involving lung transplants made from the patients very own cells, as well as methods to develop models of lung diseases and ways to test future drugs.
NASA is enabling research aboard the International Space Station with a novel microgravity laboratory for stem cell research. Scientists will study the progression of cardiac stem cells in a microgravity environment with hopes to discover new characteristics of these unique cells, as well as improve cardiac therapy via the administration of stem cells. Prior studies have reported that microgravity influences the stem cell growth, mitosis, and stem cell differentiation and specialization. Discoveries in space could also lead to advancements in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research reports the discovery of brain cancer cells that resist therapy via decreasing the mutation in their own genes that are targeted by the administered cancer drugs. After the drug, which is seeking this gene mutation, leave the region, the cancer cells then re-amplify these hiding genes to cause the cancer to continue to grow. This is a significant breakthrough illustrating the intense necessity for developing wittier therapies for brain cancer.