Journal of Organ Biology
Organ replacement regenerative therapy is purported to enable the replacement of organs damaged by disease, injury or aging in the foreseeable future. A research group led by Professor Takashi Tsuji (Professor in the Research Institute for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science, and Director of Organ Technologies Inc.) has provided a proof-of-concept for bioengineered organ replacement as a next stage of regenerative therapy.
Reporting in Nature Communications the group demonstrate that bioengineered hair follicle germ reconstructed from adult epithelial stem cells and dermal papilla cells can regenerate fully functional hair follicle and hair growth. Their bioengineered follicles showed restored hair cycles and piloerection through the rearrangement of follicular stem cells and their niches. The bioengineered hair follicle also developed the correct structures and formed proper connections with surrounding host tissues such as the epidermis, arrector pili muscle and nerve fibers.
This study thus reveals the potential applications of adult tissue-derived follicular stem cells as a bioengineered organ replacement therapy.
This was collaborative research with Lecturer Tarou Irié and Professor emertius Tetsuhiko Tachikawa (Department of Oral Pathology, Showa University School of Dentistry, Japan), Professor Akio Sato (Department Regenerative Medicine, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Kitasato University School of Medicine, Japan) and Associate Professor Akira Takeda (Department of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery, Kitasato University School of Medicine, Japan).
Journal of Organ Biology
The researchers believe that discussing the issue of donation with relatives of victims of catastrophic brain injury earlier on in the process may have a negative effect on the consent rate.
The Dutch team set out to examine the ways in which organ donation from brain dead donors has changed over time, using data collected retrospectively from 228 patients declared brain dead between 1987 and 2009 in the Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Netherlands.
Yorick de Groot and co-workers found that several trends emerged over the 22-year time period in the Dutch hospital, including, significantly, that the introduction of the Donor Register in the Netherlands in 1998 increased patient-consent rates more than seven-fold, from 5.7% to 41%. The Donor Register, designed as an opt-in system, allows people to register their preferences regarding organ donation. Those who aren’t registered can donate only with consent from their next of kin.
Journal of Organ Biology
Scientists have managed to successfully transplant stem cells from patients with a rare form of muscular dystrophy into mice that suffered from the same form of dystrophy. The first time, managed to turn fibroblast cells, i.e. common cells within connective tissue, from muscular dystrophy patients into stem cells and subsequently changed these cells into muscle precursor cells. After modifying the muscle precursor cells genetically, the researchers transplanted them into mice.
In future, this new technique could be used in order to treat patients with the rare condition of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, which primarily affects the shoulders and hips, and maybe other types of muscular dystrophies. The method was initially developed in Milan at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute and was completed at UCL. Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder, which typically affects skeletal muscles.The condition leads to severely impaired mobility and can, in severe cases result in respiratory and cardiac dysfunction. At present, there is no effective treatment for the condition. A number of new potential therapies, including cell therapy, are entering clinical trials.
The scientists of this study concentrated their research on genetically modifying mesoangioblasts, i.e. a self-renewing cell that originates from the dorsal aorta and differentiates into most mesodermal tissues, which demonstrated its potential for treating muscular dystrophy in earlier studies. Given that the muscles of patients with muscular dystrophy are depleted of mesonangioblasts, the researchers were unable to obtain sufficient numbers of these cells from patients with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, and therefore “reprogrammed” adult cells from these patients into stem cells, which enabled them to prompt them to differentiate into mesoangioblast-like cells. The team then genetically corrected these ‘progenitor’ cells by using a viral vector, and injected them into mice with muscular dystrophy so that the cells targeted damaged muscle fibers. In a mice study, the same process demonstrated that dystrophic mice were able to run on a treadmill for longer a longer time than dystrophic mice that did not receive the cells.