The Science of Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine

Video lecture from Arnold Caplan
Summary and Comments by Falk Heinrichsohn

Medical Treatment in the 21 century is not only limited to treatment with pharmaceutical  drugs, but there are various alternative approaches to treating illness.

Some of them, like acupuncture, are considered potentially more effective than others. Some being more imaginative (like placebo effect) than real, like the recently often cited supposed aphrodisiac stem cell potion called Soup. No. 7 in the Philippines.

But there are more serious equipment supported and science supported activities which also faces “cultural and political pressure” with the attempt to put everything “Being not an approved pharmaceutical drug treatment” into the same basket called “ridicule”.

I have witnessed in the last 50 years dramatic changes in life from what we considered as “normal”. Technological knowledge is presently doubling at a rate of about 18 months! In this last half century,  I and many others have learned, accepted and started to support openly the idea that everything is in motion and with it in evolution. However, only the open minded will eventually depart from defending and accepting historic values only, but will cherish them as a part of the learning curve in life to advance to new horizons.

The new medical approach with stem cells, going away from treating symptoms only, but having a chance to cure illnesses, even still seen as experimental by mainstream medicine, is something which is unstoppable even though there is a lot of lobbying going on against it.

Japan as mentioned in an earlier blog is working to establish stem cell specific rules still this year (2013) which will consider the scientific advances in medicine and shall establish a specified route to approve stem cell treatment without imposing the for chemical or biological based drug formulations correct stringent clinical trial process.

Well the argument, that it is necessary to follow this process  in the name of safety of patients appears to be odd, or would we consciously use the same rules and regulations of speed limits for pedestrians and cars only because both have the capability to move forward?

As widely reported, there are already clinics in various countries like China, Ukraine or Panama which are following all local rules and regulation for high tech sophisticated medical treatments and they are clearly becoming the center of applied new medical knowledge which other countries do not support.

Professor Arnold Caplan of Case Western Reserve University is widely regarded as “The Father of the Mesenchymal Stem Cell”.  Recently he was invited to Panama to give a lecture about Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine. This Event was supported by Panama’s SENACYT, the National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation and INDICAST – AIP, the Institute for Scientific Research and High-Tech Services.

Professor Arnold Caplan is a visionary entrepreneur and was the founder of OSIRIS Therapeutics Inc (no more relationship) and more recently of CellBank Technologies. His lecture is most interesting about stem cells and regenerative medicine and a  “must see” for anyone interested in stem cells.

The lecture is divided into six parts (each video is about 6 to 10 minutes), which you may, follow on YouTube or right here with some summary comments.

01 PART – Summary / Comments:

Interesting slide about the number of scientists and R&D as % of GDP of various countries, suggesting that improvements of scientific Knowledge may be accelerated by centralizing supportive activities.

Insulin and Nitroglycerin are mentioned as drugs treating symptoms in diabetes regulating insulin production, — respectively angina, a chest pain due to ischemia of the heart muscle, generally due to obstruction or spasm of the coronary arteries.

No single FDA / EMA approved drug, however, causes regeneration of tissues as seen naturally via stem cell therapies.

Cells and cell based Therapies being presently managed by the same rules of drugs as stipulated by FDA / EMA  is scientifically difficult to accept. There are, however, also in the US and Europe activities similar to those in Japan to adjust those rules to the new medical advances and reality.

In the USA and Europe a so called “Progressive Approval” for regenerative medicine with stem cells are suggested. In this approval process, Phase I is conducted, and if safety is confirmed Phase II and III are skipped, followed by a direct Marketing approval and a post marketing long-termed follow up study where all positive and negative events are recorded and publicly immediately available. This is basically the same idea as discussed presently in Japan and also was suggested to the government authorities in Panama during the lecture of Prof. A. Caplan.

Part 02  – Summary / Comments:

Stem cells are mainstream at least in the news…… with the keenest interest in regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine has mainly two aspects:

    • Engineering of tissues in vitro for subsequent implantation in vivo
    • Regeneration of tissues directly in vivo

for the purpose of repairing, replacing, maintaining or enhancing organ functions that have been lost due to congenital abnormalities, injuries, diseases or aging.

Naturally every second, about 15 million blood cells expire (drop dead) and are replaced in our body automatically. We need to use this naturally occurring event appropriately in modern tissue engineering.

As Professor A. Caplan invented the term MSC, he explained his understanding of MSC as the name is actually less related to “stemness” and more to see as a “Medical Signaling Cell” which in other terms can be considered as the “naturally injury specific drug store in our body.

Part 03 – Summary / Comments

MSC’s are everywhere in our body because they are “Pericytes”.

What is a Pericyte? A Pericyte, also known as a mural cell, a rouget cell or adventitial cell, is a connective tissue cell that is found in blood vessels. Pericytes are adjacent to endothelial cells, the cells that line the entire circulatory system, of blood vessels. They are known to stabilize the walls of blood vessels and to participate in the regulation of blood flow. These cells influence the maturation, migration and survival of endothelial cells and play an important role in angiogenesis, the growth and development of new blood vessels.

The latest research shows that the highest concentration of MSCs is in adipose tissues of the Stromal Vascular Fraction.

All MSCs are Pericites and are, thus, found thru-out the body. They function to stabilize blood vessels, and at sites of local tissue damage they facilitate tissue regeneration.

Part 04 – Summary / Comments

Information of MSCs in the construction of bone tissues and the harvesting of MSCs from bone marrow while performing hip replacement. Replaced hips should be stored like umbilical cord blood, for later use as they are an extreme rich source of MSCs.

Expertise of this stem cell harvesting method is available from CellBank, USA.

Part 05 – Summary / Comments

Information of immune suppressive capability of MSCs and the OSIRIS pipeline in cell therapy with PROCHYMAL.

Part 06 – Summary  / Comments

In part 6, Prof. Caplan discusses Trophic properties of mesenchymal stem cells; MSCs for heart disease; MSCs homing to heart injury site and also to skin incision site; MSCs limit left ventricular thinning following infarction; Trophic properties of MSCs: anti-apoptotic, anti-fibrotic, anti-scarring, angiogenic, mitotic; phase 1 data for allogeneic MSCs show fewer arrhythmias, prompt heart rate recovery, and improved lung function; autologous adipose tissue-derived stromal vascular fraction for treatment of chronic heart disease;

Active mesenchymal stem cell clinical trials around the world; Induction therapy with autologous MSCs in kidney transplants; MSCs can coax neural stem cells to become oligodendrocytes, curing mice with MS using allogeneic human MSCs.

General Remark:

Stem cells are experimental, but give rise of hope that the cure of illnesses is possible and already in reach at some clinics and various types of illnesses. One of the areas often discussed is Stem Cell Therapies are for Osteoarthritis and Sports Injuries.

This treatment and two of many case studies (see Video below) is available at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama City, Panama and uses neither fetal- nor embryonic-derived stem cells. It utilizes the patient’s own adipose-derived stem cells which are processed in an 8000 sq. ft. GMP and GLP compliant laboratory that features 3 class 10000 clean rooms, 8 class 100 laminar flow hoods, and 12 class 100 incubators.

Legal Disclaimer:

It’s important to understand that treatments mentioned in this ARISTOLOFT BLOG are information for educational use only and do not promote nor confirm any cure. ARISTOLOFT has also no financial nor commercial activities with any of the mentioned institutes and / or companies. However, it is important to note that testimonials confirm that with this type of medical treatment, many, but not all, patients report a decreasing of their pain and increasing of their ability to perform physical tasks.

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