Stem Cell Institute Welcomes Special Guest Speaker Roberta F. Shapiro DO, FAAPM&R to Stem Cell Therapy Public Seminar in New York City

Stem Cell Institute Welcomes Special Guest Speaker Roberta F. Shapiro DO, FAAPM&R to Stem Cell Therapy Public Seminar in New York City May 17th, 2014 (via PRWeb)

The Stem Cell Institute located in Panama City, Panama, welcomes special guest speaker Roberta F. Shapiro, DO, FAAPM&R to its public seminar on umbilical cord stem cell therapy on Saturday, May 17, 2014 in New York City at the New York Hilton Midtown…

Panama’s First Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Clinical Trial for Rheumatoid Arthritis Approved by Comité Nacional de Bioética de la Investigación Institutional Review Board

Translational Biosciences Site Header
Panama City, Panama (PRWEB) January 14, 2014

Translational Biosciences, a subsidiary of Medistem Panama has received the county’s first clinical trial approval for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from the Comité Nacional de Bioética de la Investigación Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the patient’s immune system generates cellular and antibody responses to various components of the joint such as type I collagen. As a result of this immune response, not only does joint destruction occur, but also other secondary complications such as pulmonary fibrosis, renal damage, and even heart damage. RA affects approximately 0.5-1% of the population in the United States.

Mesenchymal stem cells harvested from donated human umbilical cords after normal, healthy births possess anti-inflammatory and immune modulatory properties that may relieve RA symptoms. Because they are immune privileged, the recipient’s immune system does not reject them. These properties make MSC interesting candidates for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders.

Each patient will receive five intravenous injections of umbilical cord stem cells over the course of 5 days. They will be assessed at 3 months and 12 month primarily for safety and secondarily for indications of efficacy.

The stem cell technology being utilized in this trial was developed by Neil Riordan, PhD, founder of Medistem Panama. The stem cells will be harvested and processed at Medistem Panama’s 8000 sq. ft. laboratory in the prestigious City of Knowledge. They will be administered at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama City, Panama.

The Principle Investigator is Jorge Paz-Rodriguez, MD. Dr. Paz-Rodriguez also serves as the Medical Director at the Stem Cell Institute.

“While this is just the first step, it is our hope that Panama’s rapid emergence as a leader in applied stem cell research will lead to safe, effective treatments for debilitating diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and serve to benefit all Panamanians who suffer from it in the not-too-distant future,” said Ruben Berocal, M.D., National Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation (SENACYT). “Oversight by the National Committee for Investigational Bioethics ensures patient safety by demanding ethical transparency and compliance with the highest levels of international standards,” he added.

For detailed information about this clinical trial visit http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. If you are a rheumatoid arthritis patient who has not responded to disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD) for at least 6 months you may qualify for this trial. Please email trials(at)translationalbiosciences(dot)com for more information about how to apply.

About Translational Biosciences

A subsidiary of Medistem Panama Inc., Translational Biosciences was founded solely to conduct clinical trials using adult stem cells and adult stem cell-derived products.

Translational Biosciences Web Site: http://www.translationalbiosciences.com

Email: trials(at)translationalbiosciences(dot)com

About Medistem Panama Inc.

Since opening its doors in 2007, Medistem Panama Inc. has developed adult stem cell-based products from human umbilical cord tissue and blood, adipose (fat) tissue and bone marrow. Medistem operates an 8000 sq. ft. ISO 9001-certified laboratory in the prestigious City of Knowledge. The laboratory is fully licensed by the Panamanian Ministry of Health and features 3 class 10000 clean rooms, class 100 laminar flow hoods, and class 100 incubators.

Medistem Panama Inc.
Ciudad del Saber, Edif. 221 / Clayton
Panama, Rep. of Panama

Phone: +507 306-2601
Fax: +507 306-2601

About Stem Cell Institute Panama

Founded in 2007 on the principles of providing unbiased, scientifically-sound treatment options, the Stem Cell Institute has matured into the world’s leading adult stem cell therapy and research center. In close collaboration with universities and physicians world-wide, our comprehensive stem cell treatment protocols employ well-targeted combinations of autologous bone marrow stem cells, autologous adipose stem cells, and donor human umbilical cord stem cells to treat: multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases. To-date, the Institute has treated over 2000 patients.

For more information on stem cell therapy:

Stem Cell Institute Website: http://www.cellmedicine.com

Stem Cell Institute
Via Israel & Calle 66
Plaza Pacific Office #2A
Panama City, Panama

Phone: +1 800 980-STEM (7836) (USA Toll-free) +1 954 636-3390 (from outside USA)
Fax: +1 866 775-3951 (USA Toll-free) +1 775 887-1194 (from outside USA)

Volume two of stem cell research benefit album features Thee Oh Sees, Cave Singers, Dr. Dog members and more

Stem cell therapy recipient Ryan Benton's follow-up album, Coming Together for a Cure

Stem cell therapy recipient Ryan Benton’s follow-up album, Coming Together for a Cure

Now, a second volume is being released with a whole new line up, which includes Thee Oh Sees, Cave Singers, and members of Dr. Dog (via bands Golden Boots and Springs). Coming Together For A Cure, Vol. 2, which will be released 29 October, will also feature Benton’s band Sunshine Dreamers.

See the full track listing below, as well as a documentary about Benton’s triumphant recovery, against all odds, and how he has to travel outside of the U.S., where stem cell treatment is banned, to acquire his treatment.

Coming Together For A Cure, Vol. 2 Tracklist
01. Miracle Days – “Miracle Days”
02. Springs – “Waste My Time”
03. Thee Oh Sees – “The Factory Reacts”
04. The Wonder Revolution – “Cloud Wonder Sky”
05. Music Wrong – “Clyde”
06. Student Film – “Facts and Values”
07. Shine Brothers – “So Many People”
08. Elf Power – “1494″
09. Cave Singers – “Ohio Nights”
10. Golden Boots – “Be My Champ”
11. Gentle Ghost – “Oblivion Tide”
12. Sleeping in the Aviary – “Long Gone”
13. Sunshine Dreamers – “Empty Nest”
14. Bellafonte – “Sea of Trees”
15. Beau Jennings & the Tigers – “Sweet Action”

Jorge Paz MD: Adult Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis, Sports Injury, and Autoimmune Disease || 3 of 3

Stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis using adipose (fat) stem cell. Case study of 76 year-old man with osteoarthritis in his knees. Stromal vasular fraction treatment statistics including side effects collected over 800 infusions. Stem cell treatments for sports injuries and why pro sports stars are seeking treatment. Case study of a professional dancer with knee and neck problems who returned to competition after stem cell treatment in Panama.

Stem cell treatment in Panama benefits autistic Glenburn youth

Autism Stem Cell Patient Ken Kelley

As Kenny Kelley of Glenburn awaits an infusion of adult stem cells at a Panamanian city in November 2011, a Panamanian physician holds two syringes containing the cells. Autistic since birth, Kenny has undergone several such infusions since 2009.

As Kenny Kelley of Glenburn awaits an infusion of adult stem cells at a Panamanian city in November 2011, a Panamanian physician holds two syringes containing the cells. Autistic since birth, Kenny has undergone several such infusions since 2009.[/caption]

By Dale McGarrigle, Of The Weekly Staff
Bangor Daily News
Posted Sept. 14, 2012, at 12:17 p.m.

GLENBURN — Now Kenny can read.

Kenny Kelley can now also do many things that other 11-year-olds take for granted. According to his mother, Marty Kelley, that’s because injections of adult stem cells, taken from umbilical cord blood, have helped Kenny to shake off the shackles of autism, with which he was first diagnosed at age 2.

“The results from stem cells can be seen everyday in his amazing thoughts and vast imagination!!,” Marty Kelley wrote in her blog, http://www.kensjourneytorecovery.blogspot.com/. “How lucky we are for such a miracle treatment!”

Autism is a brain disorder found in children that interferes with their ability to communicate and relate to other people. Autism affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys. What causes autism has not been established.

Stem cells are the body’s internal repair system and can fix and replace damaged tissue. These unspecialized cells are a blank slate, capable of transforming into muscle cells, blood cells, and brain cells. Stem cells can also renew themselves by dividing and giving rise to more stem cells.

Stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood, such as Kenny received, are the least likely to be rejected.

The stem-cell treatment is the latest effort by Marty and her husband, Donald, to find ways to improve Kenny’s life. The Kelleys also have two other children: Philip, 13, and Caroline-Grace, 6.

First was in-home treatment in a mild hyperbaric oxygen chamber, three hours a day equaling 800 hours over the course of two years, beginning when Kenny was 5 ½ to 6 years old. This was coupled with a Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which restricts the use of complex carbohydrates and eliminates refined sugar and all grains and starch from the diet.

“We saw results right away with the chamber,” Marty recalled in a recent interview. “He made slow gains, such as tracing the alphabet.”

Then the Kelleys discovered on the Internet the story of Matthew Faiella, a New York boy who has been making great strides after stem-cell treatment in Panama for his autism. They decided to follow suit.

Why take this path, when there has been little scientific research into the use of stem cells to treat autism?

“We were willing to do it as long as it’s safe, and I’ve researched this,” Marty said. “Stem cells are very natural. I’m not a scientist, but I care much more than any scientist would, and I would never do anything to hurt my baby.”

When Kenny went for his first stem-cell treatment in July 2009, at the Stem Cell Institute in Costa Rica, Marty assessed the condition of her then 8-year-old son in her blog http://www.kensjourneytorecovery.blogspot.com:

• Behavior: Screaming, aggressive, giggles/silly/inappropriate with his brother or new people, running around, destructive, uncooperative while being dressed, hitting, not potty trained (still wearing diapers).

• Speech: Vocabulary of a 4-year-old. He can talk, but it is difficult for strangers to understand him. Answers some questions, but he does not understand or like why, when, or how questions.

• Physical: A body the size of a 5-year-old boy.

Kenny has had stem-cell treatments in 2009, 2010, and May and November of 2011. The repeated treatments are required because adult stems cells will work repairing cells for a period of time, about six months, then leave the body.

“When I think I’ve seen his skills level out, we’ll go for another treatment,” explained Marty.

What are some of the changes that Kenny has undergone in the past three years? First came the ability to read and clearer speech.

“When he got back, he just picked up a book and started reading, and I could understand every word,” said Mike Hughes, Marty’s brother. “It was like a light just turned on.”

Other gains: Kenny is talking about past events for the first time, and he’s conversational now. He expresses opinions and looking ahead to the future. He was finally potty trained at age 9. He’s doing math now. He’s calmed down considerably. This summer, he went to summer camp, staying overnight for three nights, in the same cabin as Philip.

“There’s no doubt in my mind how much he’s progressing,” Marty said. “We’re working on catching up right now, and how do we best do that?”

The costly treatment, which isn’t covered by insurance, hasn’t been approved yet by the Food and Drug Administration. Despite the fact that the stem cells come from the human body, the cells are considered a new drug by the FDA and are subject to stringent research and testing that can take years.

So this leaves the Kelleys and others like them seeking stem-cell treatment, going overseas to get it.

“It’s just a matter of how much are you going to spend,” Marty said. “There’s no treatment here that was going to do this much for him.”

Mesenchymal Stem Cells Stop Arthritis in its Tracks – Duke University

Researchers at Duke University announced a promising new stem cell therapy aimed at osteoarthritis prevention after a joint injury.

The probability of developing arthritis after injury (post-traumatic arthritis – PTA) greatly increases after injury. Currently, the US FDA has not approved any drugs that slow or eliminate the progression of PTA.

However, at Duke researchers are beginning to confirm mesenchmal stem cell (MSCs) therapy in arthritis treatment. The treatment is similar to that which professional athletes and others have been seeking abroad in places like Panama and Germany for the past few years.

Ref: Pro/Am Dancer is “Dancing with the Stars” Again After Stem Cell Therapy in Panama

In the study, mice sustaining fractures that commonly lead to arthritis were treated with MSCs. “The stem cells were able to prevent post-traumatic arthritis,” said Farshid Guilak, Ph.D., director of orthopaedic research at Duke and senior author of the study.

The study was published on August 10 in Cell Transplantation.

Lead author Brian Diekman, Ph.D said the scientists observed markers of inflammation and noted that the stem cells affected the joint’s inflammatory environment following injury.

“The stem cells changed the levels of certain immune factors, called cytokines, and altered the bone healing response,” stated Diekman.

The Duke team used mesenchymal stem cells isolated from bone marrow. Bone marrow stem cells are very rare; making isolation difficult and requiring that the isolated cells be cultured in the lab under low-oxygen conditions.

“We found that by placing the stem cells into low-oxygen conditions, they would grow more rapidly in culture so that we could deliver enough of them to make a difference therapeutically,” Diekman said.

A richer source of mesenchymal cells is adipose (fat) tissue. Therapeutic doses of MSCs are routinely harvested from fat tissue and do not require culturing in the lab. However, it does takes 5 five days to thoroughly test the adipose cell samples for aerobic bacteria, anaerobic bacteria and endotoxins.

Ref: Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis

Medistem Signs Exclusive Worldwide License With Yale University for Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes Using Stem Cells

Acquisition of Intellectual Property and Data Leads to Expansion of Medistem Therapeutic Pipeline

SAN DIEGO, CA, Mar 07, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Medistem Inc. (pinksheets:MEDS) and Yale University have signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement covering the generation of pancreatic islets from stem cells such as the Endometrial Regenerative Cell (ERC). These pancreatic islets have effectively treated diabetes in animal models.

Professor Hugh Taylor of Yale University, inventor of the technology, made international headlines in September 2011 when he published his findings in the peer-reviewed journal Molecular Therapy.

“Medistem is the first company to develop clinical-grade endometrial-derived stem cells and initiate trials in humans,” said Professor Taylor. “Since Medistem’s Endometrial Regenerative Cells are manufactured inexpensively, can be used as an ‘off the shelf’ product, and to date appear safe in human subjects, I am very excited to see diabetes added to the list of diseases that can potentially be treated with Medistem’s ERCs.”

Medistem is currently in two clinical trials with ERCs: One for critical limb ischemia and a second for congestive heart failure, both of which are complications of uncontrolled diabetes.

“Type 1 diabetes is a rapidly growing poorly-served market. There is great optimism that cell-based therapies can address not only pancreatic degeneration but also the underlying immunological causes,” said Dr. Alan Lewis, former CEO of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the largest non-profit organization focused on development of new therapeutic approaches for this disease. “The ERC is the newest adult stem cell to enter clinical trials. Based on this unique source of cells, as well as their immune modulatory properties, we believe this work may be expanded into other autoimmune diseases.”

About Medistem Inc. Medistem Inc. is a biotechnology company developing technologies related to adult stem cell extraction, manipulation, and use for treating inflammatory and degenerative diseases. The company’s lead product, the endometrial regenerative cell (ERC), is a “universal donor” stem cell being developed for critical limb ischemia and congestive heart failure. A publication describing the support for use of ERC for this condition may be found at http://www.translational-medicine.com/content/pdf/1479-5876-6-45.pdf . ERC can be purchased for scientific use through Medistem’s collaborator, General Biotechnology http://www.gnrlbiotech.com/?page=catalog_endometrial_regenerative_cells .

Cautionary Statement This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any of our securities. This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified. Future events and actual results could differ materially from those set forth in, contemplated by, or underlying the forward-looking information. Factors which may cause actual results to differ from our forward-looking statements are discussed in our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007 as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Panamanian-US Scientific Research Supports Using Fat Stem Cells to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dallas, TX (PRWEB) February 21, 2012

A Panamanian-led, multidisciplinary research team has published the first description of non-expanded fat stem cells in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis patients. “Autologous Stromal Vascular Fraction Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rationale and Clinical Safety,” which appears in the January publication of the International Archives of Medicine, followed 13 rheumatoid arthritis patients who were treated with their own fat-derived stem cells.

Treating arthritis with fat-derived stem cells has become commonplace in veterinary medicine over the past five years with over 7,000 horses and dogs treated by publication contributor Vet-Stem, a San Diego-based company. The objective of the joint Panamanian-US study was to determine feasibility of translating Vet-Stem’s successful animal results into human patients.

Observing no treatment associated adverse reactions after one year, the team concluded that its protocol should be studied further to determine efficacy in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Their publication details the rationale for the use of fat derived stem cells in treatment of autoimmune conditions and is freely available at: http://www.intarchmed.com/content/pdf/1755-7682-5-5.pdf

“Key to advancement of any medical protocol is transparent disclosure of rationale, treatment procedures and outcomes to the research community in a peer-reviewed and IRB-compliant manner,” said Dr. Jorge Paz Rodriguez, Medical Director of the Stem Cell Institute and research team leader. “While we have previously published case studies on the use of fat stem cells in multiple sclerosis patients, and one rheumatoid arthritis patient, this is the first time that comprehensive follow-up has been completed for a larger cohort of patients,” he added.

An important distinction that separates this particular approach from those which are being explored by several international investigators is that the fat stem cells were not grown in a laboratory, affording a substantially higher level of safety and protocol practicality.

“This work signifies Panama’s emergence into the burgeoning field of translational medicine,” commented Dr. Ruben Berrocal Timmons, the Panamanian Secretary of Science and publication co-author. “We are proud to have attracted and collaborated with internationally-renowned stem cell clinical researchers such as Dr. Michael Murphy and Dr. Keith March from the Indiana University School of Medicine Center for Vascular Biology and Medicine, Dr. Boris Minev from the University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center, Dr. Chien Shing Chen from Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center and Dr. Bob Harman from Vet-Stem. By leveraging their vast, collective clinical experience with Panamanian scientific infrastructure and know-how, we are striving to develop effective, internationally recognized stem cell procedures that will be accepted the world over.”

The treatment procedure involves a mini-liposuction, collection of the fat’s cellular component, processing to obtain a population of cells that includes stem cells, freezing the cells in preparation for quality control, and subsequent re-administration of the cells into patients.

The Panamanian-US group has previously shown that there is a specific type of T cell, called the T regulatory cell, associated with fat stem cells, which is capable of suppressing pathological immunity. Their current theory, which is described in detail in the publication: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20537320, is that the T regulatory component of the fat is capable of slowing down or suppressing the “autoimmune” reaction, while the stem cell component causes formation of new tissue to replace the damaged joints.

About the Stem Cell Institute
Founded in 2006 on the principles of providing unbiased, scientifically-sound treatment options, the Stem Cell Institute has matured into the world’s leading adult stem cell therapy and research center. In close collaboration with universities and physicians world-wide, the institute’s doctors treat carefully selected patients with spinal cord injury, osteoarthritis, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. Doctors at The Stem Cell Institute have treated over 1000 patients to-date.

For more information on stem cell therapy:

Stem Cell Institute Web Site: http://www.cellmedicine.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stemcellinstitute
Blogger: http://www.adult-stem-cell-therapy.blogspot.com

Stem Cell Institute
Via Israel & Calle 66
Pacifica Plaza Office #2A
San Francisco, Panama
Republic of Panama

Phone: +1 800 980-STEM (7836) (USA Toll-free) +1 954 636-3390 (from outside USA)
Fax: +1 866 775-3951 (USA Toll-free) +1 775 887-1194 (from outside USA)

Twins’ family coping with cerebral palsy

ASHLAND — Three-year-old twins with cerebral palsy are making life adventurous, challenging and bittersweet for the Hancock family.

“They’re happy kids but it definitely makes it more difficult because as a parent you want them to have every opportunity that every other child has,” said mother Carrie Hancock. “It’s hard, but we’re handling it the best we can.”

Because they were born 10 weeks premature, both children suffered developmental delays.

By the time Tessa and Dylan were 20 months old, Tessa had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a permanent disorder that affects movement and posture. At that time, parents Carrie and Jeremy were getting ready to take their daughter overseas for a stem cell transplant, a procedure that would allow Tessa to live a better, less physically restricted life.

In the midst of their planning, the family was soon faced with another obstacle. That January, Dylan also was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

“What do you do? They’re your babies. You just go with it and do what you think is best,” Carrie said. “Before, we were always told that he just had developmental delays, but as much as you hated to hear it, it was almost a blessing because we were paying out of pocket for him because he hadn’t been officially diagnosed.

“That’s the silver lining I guess and now we’re able to get him the help he needs.”

The Ashland family ended up taking Tessa to Panama City, Panama, where she had her first round of stem cell treatments in 2009.

“She did really well and had a lot of improvement with her vision,” Carrie said. “Her tone in her hand had decreased and she wasn’t fisting all the time. When we went back in July, we took both the kids.”

The results were remarkable.

“As soon as we took him, he was like a whole other kid,” Carrie said of Dylan. “He was babbling and it helped him in so many different ways. He also just walked independently a couple months ago. For Tessa, it made her stronger. She was already smart and attentive.”

Today the twins attend therapy sessions at MedCentral Pediatric Therapy one day a week and preschool at Tri-County Preschool four days a week. They receive occupational, speech and physical therapy.

“A typical day for us includes them going to school a little after 8 and they’re picked up a little after 11,” Carrie said. “After we get them home and fed, Tessa goes down for a nap and then Dylan stays awake and I get alone time with him, which is nice. We work on walking and sitting up with them, but try to incorporate it into their play. We try to make it a fun time.”

The family takes the twins on outings by stroller and enjoy their play time together, but each day can be daunting.

“The biggest difference is the physical challenge of dressing and feeding. Tessa is in the process of being potty trained, but Dylan doesn’t want to yet,” Carrie said. “She can’t feed herself and we’re still changing diapers at age 3.

“Dylan’s not walking. If you ask him to pick up something, he doesn’t understand. It’s challenging.”

Recently, Dan and Stephanie Kreisher, of Ontario, held their third fundraiser for the family. Jeremy was on Dan’s 1994 state championship baseball team at Ontario High School.

The Kreishers and friends raised $1,400 for the Hancocks, along with providing them two iPads for Tessa and Dylan after learning the electronics would help their communication skills. The iPads were sponsored by Elite Excavating and Zara Construction.

“We have so much and are so fortunate that we wanted to help others,” Dan said. “Jeremy and Carrie are such positive people. They’re the happiest parents, just very admirable people.”

The feeling was mutual.

“I can’t say enough about Dan and Stephanie. The iPads are huge for us. We’re in the process of getting different communication devices to help with fine motor skills,” Carrie said. “They use them in school and it’s nice to be able to incorporate what they’re learning at home. Life isn’t easy, but we are very blessed.

“The best way to describe our family is that we’re taking the scenic route. We’re taking the back roads. We’ll get them there, but it just might take a little longer.”

Stem Cell Institute in Panama Collaborates on New Method of Treating Diabetes-Associated Heart Disease

Zhang et al. Journal of Translational Medicine

Diabetes is associated with numerous “secondary complications” including premature heart disease, renal failure, critical limb ischemia (an advanced form of peripheral artery disease) and diabetic retinopathy. One of the common features of these secondary complications is that they are all associated with low levels of circulating endothelial progenitor cells. We have previously discussed the interaction between inflammation and low levels of circulating endothelial progenitor cells http://www.translational-medicine.com/content/7/1/106. It appears that the uncontrolled sugar levels in the blood cause generation of modified proteins, which initiate low level, chronic inflammation. One of the major mechanisms by which sugar- modified proteins induce inflammation is by stimulating a molecular signaling protein called Toll like receptor (TLR)-4. Generally TLR-4 is used by the body to sense “danger”, that is, to sense pathogens, tissue injury, or various factors that may negatively affect the well-being of the host.

In a collaborative study between Stem Cell Institute Panama, Medistem, and the University of Western Ontario, Canada, it was observed that TLR-4 is associated with induction of heart cell (cardiomyocyte) death in diabetic animals. The scientists demonstrated that suppressing the gene encoding for TLR-4 resulted in prevention of heart disease. The results were published in the article Zhang et al. Prevention of hyperglycemia-induced myocardial apoptosis by gene silencing of Toll-like receptor-4. J Transl Med. 2010 Dec 15;8(1):133. TLR-4 is known to recognize bacterial endotoxin, fragments of degraded extracellular matrix, as well as the stress protein HMBG-1.

In the current experiment, mice were made diabetic by administration of the islet-specific toxin streptozotocin. Diabetic mice were treated with double stranded RNA specific to the gene encoding TLR4. It is known that when cells are treated with double stranded RNA, the gene that is similar to the double strand is silenced. This process is called “RNA interference”.

Seven days after mice became diabetic, as evidenced by hyperglycemia, the level of TLR4 gene in myocardial tissue was significantly elevated. This suggested that not only does hyperglycemia activate TLR4, which was previously known, but that expression of this pro-inflammatory marker actually is increased. Indeed it may be possible that triggers of TLR4 actually act in an autocrine manner in order to increase cell sensitivity

In order to determine whether TLR4 was associated with the cause of cardiomyocyte death, animals were administered the double stranded RNA in order to suppress levels of TLR4. When this was performed the level of cardiomyocyte death was markedly reduced. This is an important finding since usually scientists think of TLR4 as a molecule that activates inflammation through stimulation of the immune

The authors conclude by stating that new evidence is presented suggesting that TLR4 plays a critical role in cardiac apoptosis. This is the first demonstration of the prevention of cardiac apoptosis in diabetic mice through silencing of the TLR4 gene.

The research finding that TLR4 is implicated in death of cardiac cells means that agents that suppress it, such as double stranded RNA, may be useful for incorporation into stem cells in order to make the cardiac cells that are derived from the stem cells resistant to death induced by conditions of stress such as hyperglycemia.