Can Stem Cells Treat Lyme Disease?

Because many people with Lyme disease do not fully recover with antibiotics alone, many are seeking stem cell treatments as an option.

Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of blacklegged ticks (deer tick, Ixodes scapularis) infected with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. A number of debilitating and long-lasting symptoms can include the development of a distinctive skin rash (erythema migrans), fever, fatigue, muscle pain, and headaches. Due to the nonspecific and diverse symptoms, Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed and can progress to serious conditions of the heart, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems.

Stem Cell Method Sheds Light on Heart Disease

Studying the biological processes that lead to the development of heart disease is essential in the study of preventive and therapeutic approaches to combat the illness.

One in every four deaths in the US is due to heart disease, and the most common type is coronary heart disease caused by arteriosclerosis, a hardening and thickening of the arteries. Studying the biological processes that lead to the development of arterial disease is essential in the study of preventive and therapeutic approaches to combat cardiovascular disease. In vitro methods important for studying disease mechanisms are challenging because explanted endothelial cells can lose their distinctive characteristics.

Stem Cells May Aid ALS Treatment

New research shows the potential regenerative power of hematopoietic stem cells in ALS and may be a feasible treatment approach in the future.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a neurological disease characterized by the progressive destruction of motor neurons, leading to disability and later death. There is no cure for the disease, and the only FDA-approved treatment (riluzole) adds only an additional few months of life to patients with ALS. Many factors are associated with the development of ALS, yet the exact causes of ALS development remain poorly understood.

Research Advances in Stem Cell Therapy for Rheumatic Diseases

There is promising research that shows adult stem cells may advance the treatment of rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. 

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can develop into any type of specialized cell, and are broadly divided into embryonic and adult stems cells. A current and well known application of stem cells includes the use of hematopoietic stem cells for bone marrow cancers. Stems cells are studied for their utility in treating a variety of diseases, particularly to treat organ damage and conditions involving a dysfunctional immune system. 

Genes That Enable Adult Cells to Divide and Multiply May Help Regenerate Heart Tissue

A new study showed that a cell-cycle regulator combination can induce cardiomyocyte proliferation and cell survival.

Myocardial infarction (MI or heart attack) is a result of decreased blood flow to heart tissue and heart tissue damage. The challenges in recovery from MI is due to the limited ability of regenerative processes within heart. The discovery of stem cells present in adult heart tissue has led to extensive research regarding their use for cardiac cell therapy. Some favorable effects of cardiac stem cell transplantation in injured cardiac tissue has been observed, but this may be due to processes unrelated to the growth of new cardiomyocytes.

Stem Cell-Like Function of Adult Immune Cells Stimulate Healing

New research suggests that wound fluid induced macrophage clustering shows improved healing.

Tissue damage is repaired by the proliferation of normal cells, tissue stem cell maturation, and scar formation. However, the inflammation associated with tissue damage or injury promotes cell plasticity as part of the tissue repair process. Fibroblasts that are critical for wound healing are mesenchymal cells that are actually derived from myeloid cells such as macrophages. Macrophages are immune cells that are the first line of defense against pathogens. They are also important in wound healing and inflammatory processes.

Therapeutic Gene Editing in CD34+ Stem Cells from Patients with Fanconi Anemia

Gene (or genome) editing refers to various technologies that are used to alter genetic material. This technology is used as a new means to treat diseases including genetic disorders. Fanconi anemia is an inherited disease that affects bone marrow leading to decreased production of all blood cell types. In general, editing of CD34+ (hematopoietic) stem cells have proven more difficult than for fibroblasts or embryonic stem cells. Some advances have been achieved in this regard; however, the efficiency of gene editing for CD34+ stem cells remains less than that possible with lentiviral vectors.

Use of Cord Blood CD34+ Stem Cells for Large-Scale Production of Human Neutrophils

Severe and prolonged neutropenia is a common consequence of cancer chemotherapy and is associated with an increased risk of severe infections. Transfusion of donor neutrophils is a viable option to combat this, but obtaining matched donors is a dilemma. There are pharmacologic interventions aimed at shortening the duration of neutropenia and combatting infection; however, infection risk remains high due to a lack of response to these treatments in many patients.

The Role of CD34+ Stem Cells in Treating Cardiovascular Disease

The leading cause of death for U.S. citizens is cardiovascular disease, which affects nearly a third of the U.S. population. There is an active and dedicated search for effective therapies to address this serious medical issue. The use of immunotherapy approaches for a number of diseases and conditions is continuously gaining momentum. Included in this is the use of CD34+ stem cells from a patients’ own blood (autologously derived) to treat cardiovascular disease. CD34+ is derived from bone marrow and other tissue types. However, CD34+ stems cells are more widely known for their hematopoietic origin.

CD34: More Than a Hematopoietic Stem Cell Marker

Hematopoietic progenitor and stem cells, which express CD34 antigen, are widely used clinically in the treatment of a number of conditions and diseases such as vascular disease, spinal cord injury, multiple myeloma, and more. However, emerging research data indicates that CD34 stems cells are not exclusively hematopoietic. CD34 antigen is expressed on a number of other cell types including keratocytes, multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells, and interstitial dendritic cells, among others.