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Archive for the ‘Regeneration’ Category

Breakout Session 3: Hans Keirstead

Posted by katewillette on April 13, 2008

He says that in his lab they focus on acute, sub-acute, and chronic.  (Hans Keirstead, for those who haven’t met him, is kind of Robert Redford type.  I’m just sayin’.)  He’s describing an animal whose cord had been cut exactly 50%; within days it has lost a lot of tissue because of a “bad guy” molecule.  A single injection — of a restorative molecule –that could be given by any nurse — gets rid of a lot of the secondary degeneration.

There’s a video taken from underneath a glass table top on which a rat is dragging itself along — a single dose of the molecule prevents a LOT of the secondary damage.

The technology to do this is in clinical testing –Medarex began  clinical trials in 2006 for ulcerative colitis . . . the Keirstead approach is to find other (more profitable) diseases that studies can get funded for, then piggyback onto what’s learned and done in the process to bring the therapies to sci.

If Hans can get 1.5 million dollars, Medarex might provide him with $3 million worth of product to run a trial of his own

Subacutes— different beast completely from the acute.  Wow, he puts up a picture of a human egg sitting in a fallopian with a tiny blue speck of sperm heading its way. Wow.

We’re going to talk about how to grow human embryonic stem cell lines just for clinical use. The job is to be able to do that with certainty that they’re pure, and then be able to grow them into whatever you wanted.  Aborted fetuses are not a source for this for ethical, political, and practical reasons.

What if we had limitless sources of something like human heart tissue,not to grow new hearts, but to try out things that might

2 guys and a rat show up at the FDA and say, we’ve made a rat walk again . . . the FDA says, so what.  Do it again, under our regulations.

OEG’s are the cells that make myelin, the conductor that makes transmission of information through the cord possible.

He cooked up a soup to make pure OEG’s . . . it’s cooking time is 42 days.  They did this by simulating the media in which our own brains create these things.  This is the only place in the world where a pure and inexhaustible source of any kind of cell has been developed.

Hans just radiates confidence.

Geron is going to submit their IND to the feds this summer and they plan to go to clinical trial right away.  They went to the FDA and said they’d treated thoracic injuries in rats and the FDA said, well you can’t test humans with cervical injuries until you repeat the work with cervical injuries.  Jeebus.

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Posted in Clinical Trials, embryonic stem cells, paralysis, Regeneration, stem cell research | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Breakout 1: Wise Young

Posted by katewillette on April 13, 2008

Gahh, my laptop just had a meltdown, so I’ve been frantically trying to fix it and simultaneously take notes.

Wise has been doing the quick rundown about what an injury to the cord means, physiologically.  If I had to miss something, I guess this part would have been my first choice . . . it’s the standard information. He’s explaining how it is that things pass through damaged cords. . .  talking about reflexes . . . he says that Chris Reeve’s reflexes were so strong that if you gave him a hug, his spacticity would toss his 250# body right out of the chair.

He says that people should stop thinking about axons as if they were wires . . . they’re not.  They’re living body parts, like arms.  And when we talk about regenerating them, we’re talking about re-growing body parts.

It takes a long time to grow an axon–as long as a year for a quad to get an axon all the way down the cord.

Spasms are the result of messages from above that get mixed up trying to get through the dead part of the spine.  Neuropathic pain is the result of messages from below that get mixed up trying to get through the dead part.

Putting in stem cells and expecting people to walk is never going to work, because 3 things are necessary for regeneration.

The first one is to replace the damaged injury site with something that is hospitable to axonal growth, but not so hospitable that the axons enjoy the environment so much that they just stay there.  What we need is something just friendly enough to be a bridge.  Hello, nice to see you, move along.

The second one is to have something that is a sustained source of growth factors that will stimulate the system to grow and keep growing.

The third one is to find a way to deal with the things natural to the cord that inhibit growth–the blockers.

In order to get regeneration, we need all 3: a bridge, a source of growth factors, and blockers.

The process of figuring out how to make this work in humans is about combination therapies.

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Posted in Christopher Reeve, Combination therapies, Regeneration, spasticity, Wise Young | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »