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This post was written during early stages of trying to understand a complex scientific problem, and we didn't get everything right. The original author no longer endorses the content of this post. It is being left online for historical reasons, but read at your own risk.
“Stem cell therapy extends incubation and survival time in prion-infected mice in a time window-dependent manner,” Relano-Gines et al., J Infect Dis. (2011)
Prion diseases, which are mostly represented in humans by Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, are transmissible neurodegenerative disorders characterized by vacuolization and neuronal loss, as well as by the accumulation of an abnormal form of the prion protein. These disorders have yet no effective treatment, and drugs that block prion replication in vitro do not significantly slow down the progression of the disease when used in vivo at late stages. Cell therapy that has been already tested in other neurodegenerative disorders therefore represents an interesting alternative approach. In this study, we showed for the first time in prion diseases that intracerebral transplantation of fetal neural stem cells significantly extended both incubation and survival time. This result was dependant on the time window chosen for the engraftment and was obtained with both genetically modified and wild-type stem cells, therefore forging a path toward efficient stem cell therapy for human prion diseases.
In February 2010 the British company ReNeuron announced it had been approved to conduct a Phase I clinical trial of a neural stem cell treatment for stroke.
Regenerative Medicine/ Stem Cells: http://www.
Institute of Human Genetics, Montpellier, France
Stem cell research, therapy and proteomics
More recently, we started working on gene and cell therapy approaches to TSEs based on ”lentivirus expression” and of the use of neural stem cells. Experiments are performed both on cell culture and on scrapie infected mice. The latter are also used to test more classical therapies based on new chemical molecules tested in the laboratory. In addition, a new topic in the laboratory concerns proteomic analysis of cells and biological samples. We are using a classical bi-dimensional electrophoresis (2D) approach, as well as a new protein chip technology developed by the Ciphergen/Bio-Rad company, which is based on SELDI (Surface-Enhanced Laser Desorption / Ionization). These proteomic approaches allow us to investigate the physiopathology of TSEs and to look for proteomic markers of these diseases.
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh: http://www.mirm.pitt.edu/
Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences, Kyoto University: http://www.frontier.kyoto-u.
Georgia Tech and Emory Center for Regenerative Medicine: http://www.gtec.gatech.edu/
University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials: http://www.uweb.engr.
Carnegie Mellon University Biomedical Engineering: http://www.bme.cmu.edu/