- Issued By: Florida Spine Center
- City / State: Clearwater
- Company Website: http://www.DrLox.com
- Submitted: October 29, 2010 1:18 am
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Clearwater, October 29, 2010:
Australian scientists investigating stem cells derived from deep within the nose, have opened a new window of hope for patients suffering from brain-related conditions. People with Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia took part in the groundbreaking work at the National Centre for Adult Stem Cell Research at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.
Scientists took scrapings from approximately six centimeters up inside the nose, from the olfactory system – which provides the sense of smell. These scrapings were found to contain adult stem cells very similar to those that would be active inside the brain.
A professor at Griffith University’s School of Biomolecular and Physical Sciences, Alan Mackay-Sim, said this was the first time researchers had found stem cells which could indicate what was different in the nervous systems of the patients, particularly for diseases where there are unknown genetic causes. Such brain-related changes were not evident in stem cells that could be derived from a person’s skin or found in the blood, Mackay-Sim added.
The easy ability to collect neural stem cells with a simple biopsy, via the nose, would give scientists a new way to search for the genetic factors thought to be driving many brain disorders. This could reveal new targets for treatments, allow for earlier diagnosis of disease, and speed up the development of drug-based treatments, Mackay-Sim said, while the stem cells themselves could also be used as a therapy.
The research is detailed in a paper published in the Nov./Dec. issue of Disease Models and Mechanisms journal.
Stem cells are cellular blanks that exist inside the body, waiting for a trigger that prompts them to change into other types of more complex cells as needed by the body. Stem cells can be derived from various tissues in the body, such as blood, bone marrow and even fat.
Dr. Dennis Lox, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician practicing in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, uses adipose (fat) -derived stem cells to treat some patients suffering from chronic musculoskeletal injuries and conditions.
Dr. Lox applauds the Australian research. “This is yet another step in the movement towards using stem cells to help severely injured patients,” he said.
Dr. Lox points to other stem cell study examples, including the recent Food and Drug Administration authorization for the Geron Corporation to begin an embryonic stem cell trial for use on patients with spinal cord injuries. In early October 2010, Geron reported that it had enrolled its first trial participant.
Earlier this year, Italian scientists studied patients blinded with corneal injuries caused by chemical burns. The patients were injected with stem cells derived from their own bodies and many regained their vision.
Dr. Lox also makes use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in treating his patients. With platelet-rich plasma, the patient’s blood is drawn and then separated in a centrifuge. The resulting plasma is a concentration of platelets, which are high in growth and healing factors. The PRP is then injected into the body area suffering from a chronic or slow-healing musculoskeletal injury or condition.
Platelet-rich plasma is not new technology, having been used in the veterinary world since the 1990s. Recent media attention on high-profile athletes who have had the procedure, such as Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu, has increased public awareness and acceptance of PRP.
In addition to PRP’s use in musculoskeletal injuries, it is also being used by some ophthalmologists to treat dry eye diseases. Here, the PRP product is referred to as autologous serum eye drops.
Dr. Lox concluded by saying, “These (stem cell) studies, as well as PRP, indicate the power that our own bodies have to heal ourselves – given the right technology. With the application of emerging stem cell technologies, I look forward to the future of medicine and the impact they will have on patients suffering from all sorts of conditions.”
For more information on Dr. Lox and his practice, go to http://www.DrLox.com
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