Stem Cells for repairing kidneys and Indian company targets commercial stem cell treatment in 2014

1. Transplanting autologous renal progenitor cells (RPCs), (kidney stem cells derived from self-donors), into rat models with kidney damage from pyelonephritis – a type of urinary infection that has reached the kidney – has been found to improve kidney structure and function.

Autografting of Renal Progenitor Cells Ameliorates Kidney Damage in Experimental Model of Pyelonephritis

Current therapies for pyelonephritic renal damage have severe limitations; stem cells may offer an exciting potential in regenerating nephrology. We aimed to investigate the feasibility of direct intrarenal injection of autologous renal progenitor cells (RPCs; originated from epithelial cells in Bowman’s capsule) in chronic pyelonephritis rat model. Twenty-seven rats were divided into three groups. The control group (GI, n = 3) underwent sham subcapsular injection of isotonic saline. Pyelonephritis was induced in the right kidney of the remaining 24 rats and isotonic saline (GII, n = 12) or labeled autologous RPCs, obtained from a biopsy of left kidney (GIII, n = 12), were injected into the subcapsular space 6 weeks later. At 7, 14, 28, and 60 days, dimercaptosuccinic acid scan was performed in three animals of each group at every interval and subsequently renal sections were obtained for the evaluation of tubular and glomerular regeneration and proliferation. Cell transplantation resulted in the reduction of tubular and glomerular atrophy after 2 weeks. The transplanted cells were observed in the reconstructed region of the kidneys as evidenced by the presence of fluorescently labeled cells both in tubules and glomeruli. We also observed significant decrease
in interstitial fibrosis in the fourth week and there were higher amount of Ki-67-positive cells in GIII. Notably, the right renal tissue integrity was significantly improved in this group and revealed normal cortical function on day 60. Transplanting RPCs showed the potential for partial augmentation of kidney structure and function in pyelonephritis. Cellular repair was seen predominantly in the proximal tubule, the major site of injury in pyelonephritis. Our findings may
pave the way toward the future regeneration of renal scarring of pyelonephritis in children.

2. Global Investments in Adult Stem Cells Research is expected to reach US$2.4 Billion by 2015.

3. Stem cells have been used to repair damaged hearts in humans

4. India’s first set of government-approved clinical trials of stem cells on patients with chronic obstructive lung disease, diabetes, liver cirrhosis and osteoarthritis are likely to begin in five cities in April this year. Commenting on the milestone achieved by the company, Mr.B.N. Manohar, CEO, Stempeutics Research, said “We are the only company in India which has achieved this significant mile stones. Our team is working towards hitting the first stem cell “off-the-shelf” product in the Indian market by the end of 2013.

The Phase II trials will involve testing the mesenchymal stem cells on 30 patients with COPD, 30 with diabetes, 45 with osteoarthritis, and 60 with liver cirrhosis, distributed across the five cities. Each volunteer patient will receive a dose of mesenchymal stem cells derived from the bone marrow of healthy persons. The stem cells, coaxed to proliferate in a broth of laboratory biochemicals, will be injected at the site of illness — the pancreas, the liver, the lungs, or the bone — where they are expected to stimulate resident stem cells and regenerate the damaged or lost tissue.The evaluation of the results is expected to take several months, and Manohar cautions that a commercial therapy may emerge only by early 2014. “We need just 50ml from five or six donors to generate a million doses each containing up to a million stem cells,” said Satish Totey, a research scientist who had helped develop the nutrient medium at Stempeutics, but is no longer with the company.

5. Patients with slow-healing distal tibial fractures showed faster bone union when they were injected with concentrated, autologous mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) along with platelet-rich plasma, a researcher reported here.

The mean time to achieve union was 71 days in 12 patients receiving the stem cell therapy compared with 112 days in a control group of 12 patients receiving usual care, reported Meir Liebergall, MD, of Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem

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