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Steffen Porwollik


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Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cells Slow Progression of Cerebral ALD

Jun 1, 2016 1:00:51 PM / by Steffen Porwollik posted in Gene Therapy, Bone Marrow, Stem Cell Therapy, Stem Cells

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A clinical trial evaluates the utility of genetically altered autologous hematopoietic stem cells for the treatment of childhood cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy, a deadly disease portrayed in the movie Lorenzo’s oil. The interim results are encouraging.

In 1984, at the age of six, Lorenzo Odone was a happy, bright, precocious kid, who was fluent in English, French and Italian and loved Greek mythology. However, suddenly that year he appeared to become hard of hearing, started to stumble a lot, and displayed mood swings. Concerned, his parents took him to a doctor who quickly ordered a brain scan. The result was devastating – Lorenzo was diagnosed with childhood cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy (CCALD), a disease that is rare, fatal, and untreatable. Doctors gave him two more years to live. The courageous struggle of his parents to find a cure was portrayed in the 1992 movie Lorenzo’s oil. The real life Lorenzo beat the odds by remaining alive until 2008. However, his disease never relented.

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Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Heals Autoimmune Disorder

May 23, 2016 1:00:05 PM / by Steffen Porwollik posted in Autoimmune Disorders, Bone Marrow, Stem Cell Therapy, Stem Cells

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Canadian doctors observe complete stable remission of the autoimmune disorder myasthenia gravis in all seven patients that underwent autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in their hospital in the past 14 years.

Olympic Games 2004, Athens, Greece. It’s the men’s 400m hurdles finals. American athlete James Carter barrels over the hurdles, going strong, leading the pack. He looks a far cry from his younger 12-year-old self. Back then, he was unable to run, barely able to walk, and his muscles did not follow his mind’s orders. Eventually, he was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder myasthenia gravis (MG) and had his thymus removed. Mr. Carter knows about hurdles.

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Allergy Thumbs a Ride During Transplantation of Hematopoietic Stem Cells

May 11, 2016 1:00:16 PM / by Steffen Porwollik posted in Bone Marrow, food allergy, leukemia, PBMCs, Stem Cell Therapy, Stem Cells, Basic Research

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German scientists prove that the kiwifruit allergy in a male patient was caused by the transplantation of his sister’s hematopoietic stem cells. Obtaining a stem cell donor’s allergy profile prior to such surgeries may be a small effort worth its while.
 

He may have loved to eat kiwifruit. He may have been indifferent towards the fuzzy green egg-shaped things. He may not have liked them at all. But, whatever his attitude towards the innocent-looking berries was, he was not allergic to them. That is, until, at age 26, he needed a bone marrow transplant to battle acute lymphocytic leukemia. His sister turned out to be a matching donor, and the transplantation was a success. It kept the leukemia in check.

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Bone Marrow-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells May Put the Brakes on ALS

May 2, 2016 1:00:07 PM / by Steffen Porwollik posted in Bone Marrow, Stem Cell Therapy, Stem Cells

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A new report shows that autologous therapy with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells secreting neurotrophic factors may slow progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

Henry Louis (“Lou”) Gehrig had a stellar career as first baseman for the New York Yankees. In 17 seasons, through the 1920’s and 1930’s, he hit almost 500 home runs. He seemed indefatigable and powerful, nicknamed “The Iron Horse”. That is, until, in the second half of the 1938 season, his abilities sharply deteriorated. In June 1939, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Lou Gehrig died two years later.

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Craniofacial Stem Cells Finally Unmasked

Apr 27, 2016 1:00:15 PM / by Steffen Porwollik posted in osteocytes, Stem Cell Therapy, Stem Cells

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Researchers identify a hitherto elusive population of craniofacial stem cells. This fosters hope for cell therapy approaches against diseases like craniosynostosis.

Craniosynostosis is a surprisingly common condition. Up to 1 in 2000 newborns in the US are suffering from this congenital disease that results in the premature closing of one or more of the six sutures of the cranium. These sutures are fibrous tissue layers that separate the free-flowing bones of an infant’s skull. If they close before the brain has stopped growing, the expanding brain exerts more and more pressure on the skull, which gives then way in form of irregular deformities. Mental retardation, hearing or vision loss and breathing problems may accompany the disease. Treatment options include surgical removal of skull parts or, if caught early, endoscopical procedures followed by use of a shaping helmet. If this sounds a lot like bare-bones torture to you, you are not entirely incorrect.

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