The mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) is being broadly studied in clinical trials. Contrary to the early paradigm of cell replacement and differentiation as a therapeutic mechanism of action, evidence is mounting that the secretions of the cells are responsible for their therapeutic effects. These secretions include molecules and extracellular vesicles that have both local and distant effects. This review summarizes the up- and down-regulation of MSC anti-inflammatory, immune modulating, anti-tumor, and regenerative secretions resulting from different stimuli including: a) hypoxia, which increases the production of growth factors and anti-inflammatory molecules; b) pro-inflammatory stimuli that induce the secretion of immune modulating and anti-inflammatory factors; and c) 3 dimensional growth which up regulates the production of anti-cancer factors and anti-inflammatory molecules compared to monolayer culture. Finally we review in detail the most important factors present in conditioned medium of MSC that can be considered protagonists of MSC physiological effects including HGF, TGF-b, VEGF, TSG-6, PGE2 and galectins 1, and 9. We conclude that there is potential for the development of acellular therapeutic interventions for autoimmune, inflammatory, and malignant diseases and tissue regeneration from cellular secretions derived from MSCs cultured under the appropriate conditions.
Interleukin-2 (IL-2) therapy has been demonstrated to induce responses in 10-20% of advanced melanoma and renal cell carcinoma patients, which translates into durable remissions in up to half of the responsers. Unfortunately the use of IL-2 has been associated with severe toxicity and death. It has been previously observed and reported that IL-2 therapy causes a major drop in circulating levels of ascorbic acid (AA). The IL-2 induced toxicity shares many features with sepsis such as capillary leakage, systemic complement activation, and a relatively non-specific rise in inflammatory mediators such as TNF-alpha, C-reactive protein, and in advanced cases organ failure. Animal models and clinical studies have shown rapid depletion of AA in conditions of sepsis and amelioration associated with administration of AA (JTM 9:1-7, 2011). In contrast to other approaches to dealing with IL-2 toxicity, which may also interfere with therapeutic effects, AA possesses the added advantage of having direct antitumor activity through cytotoxic mechanisms and suppression of angiogenesis. Here we present a scientific rationale to support the assessment of intravenous AA as an adjuvant to decrease IL-2 mediated toxicity and possibly increase treatment efficacy.
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C, ascorbate) is a key water soluble antioxidant that, when administered in doses well above its recommended dietary allowance, may have preventative and therapeutic value against a number of pathologies. The intravenous administration of high dose ascorbate (IVC) has increased in popularity among complementary and alternative medicine practitioners: thousands of patients received IVC, at an average dose of 0.5 g/kg, without significant side effects. While IVC may have a variety of possible applications, it has generated the most interest for its potential use in treating cancer.
In mid November the biopharma industry was shocked by the announcement from Geron that they were ending work on embryonic stem cell research and therapy. For more than 10 years the public image of all stem cell research has been equated with embryonic stem cells. Unfortunately, a fundamentally important medical and financial fact was being ignored: embryonic stem cell therapy is extremely immature. In parallel to efforts in embryonic stem cell research and development, scientists and physicians in the field of adult stem cells realized that the natural role of adult stem cells in the body is to promote healing and to act like endogenous "repair cells" and, as a result, numerous companies have entered the field of adult stem cell therapy with the goal of expanding numbers of adult stem cells for administration to patients with various conditions. In contrast to embryonic stem cells, which are extremely expensive and potentially dangerous, adult cell cells are inexpensive and have an excellent safety record when used in humans. Many studies are now showing that adult stem cells are practical, patient-applicable, therapeutics that are very close to being available for incorporation into the practice of medicine. These events signal the entrance of the field of stem cells into a new era: an era where hype and misinformation no longer triumph over economic and medical realities.
One of the most important and complex diseases of modern society is metabolic syndrome. This syndrome has not been completely understood, and therefore an effective treatment is not available yet. We propose a possible stem cell mechanism involved in the development of metabolic syndrome. This way of thinking lets us consider also other significant pathologies that could have similar etiopathogenic pathways, like lipodystrophic syndromes, progeria, and aging. All these clinical situations could be the consequence of a progressive and persistent stem cell exhaustion syndrome (SCES). The main outcome of this SCES would be an irreversible loss of the effective regenerative mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) pools. In this way, the normal repairing capacities of the organism could become inefficient. Our point of view could open the possibility for a new strategy of treatment in metabolic syndrome, lipodystrophic syndromes, progeria, and even aging: stem cell therapies.
The history of ascorbic acid (AA) and cancer has been marked with controversy. Clinical studies evaluating AA in cancer outcome continue to the present day. However, the wealth of data suggesting that AA may be highly beneficial in addressing cancer-associated inflammation, particularly progression to systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and multi organ failure (MOF), has been largely overlooked. Patients with advanced cancer are generally deficient in AA. Once these patients develop septic symptoms, a further decrease in ascorbic acid levels occurs. Given the known role of ascorbate in: a) maintaining endothelial and suppression of inflammatory markers; b) protection from sepsis in animal models; and c) direct antineoplastic effects, we propose the use of ascorbate as an adjuvant to existing modalities in the treatment and prevention of cancer-associated sepsis.
A various array of cutaneous granulomatous disorders have been found to be associated with internal malignancy. Among them, sarcoidosis, granuloma anulare (GA), psoriasis, pyoderma gangrenosum (PG), or other neutrophilic dermatoses such as the Sweet syndrome and subcorneal pustular dermatosis may precede the development of a neoplastic process by months or years. Pathogenic links of inflammation with cancer are discussed, including inflammation, intrinsic immune dysfunction, cytokines and interleukins, angiogenetic factors, and epigenetic changes.
Whereas the association between multisystem and pulmonary sarcoidosis and malignancy has been documented, a relationship between cutaneous sarcoidosis and neoplasia has not yet been reported. Because cutaneous manifestations are seen in 20-25 percent of cases of sarcoidosis, this association deserves further investigation.
Apoptosis is an early event involved in cardiomyopathy associated with diabetes mellitus. Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling triggers cell apoptosis through multiple mechanisms. Up-regulation of TLR4 expression has been shown in diabetic mice. This study aimed to delineate the role of TLR4 in myocardial apoptosis, and to block this process through gene silencing of TLR4 in the myocardia of diabetic mice.
Cellular therapy for spinal cord injury (SCI) is overviewed focusing on bone marrow mononuclear cells, olfactory ensheathing cells, and mesenchymal stem cells. A case is made for the possibility of combining cell types, as well as for allogeneic use. We report the case of 29 year old male who suffered a crush fracture of the L1 vertebral body, lacking lower sensorimotor function, being a score A on the ASIA scale. Stem cell therapy comprised of intrathecal administration of allogeneic umbilical cord blood ex-vivo expanded CD34 and umbilical cord matrix MSC was performed 5 months, 8 months, and 14 months after injury. Cell administration was well tolerated with no adverse effects observed. Neuropathic pain subsided from intermittent 10/10 to once a week 3/10 VAS. Recovery of muscle, bowel and sexual function was noted, along with a decrease in ASIA score to "D". This case supports further investigation into allogeneic-based stem cell therapies for SCI.
Immunotherapy is an important modality in the therapy of patients with malignant melanoma. As our knowledge about this disease continues to expand, so does the immunotherapeutic armamentarium. Nevertheless, successful preclinical models do not always translate into clinically meaningful results. The authors give a comprehensive analysis of most recent advances in the immune anti-melanoma therapy, including interleukins, interferons, other cytokines, adoptive immunotherapy, biochemotherapy, as well as the use of different vaccines. We also present the fundamental concepts behind various immune enhancement strategies, passive immunotherapy, as well as the use of immune adjuvants. This review brings into discussion the results of newer and older clinical trials, as well as potential limitations and drawbacks seen with the utilization of various immune therapies in malignant melanoma. Development of novel therapeutic approaches, along with optimization of existing therapies, continues to hold a great promise in the field of melanoma therapy research. Use of anti-CTLA4 and anti-PD1 antibodies, realization of the importance of co-stimulatory signals, which translated into the use of agonist CD40 monoclonal antibodies, as well as activation of innate immunity through enhanced expression of co-stimulatory molecules on the surface of dendritic cells by TLR agonists are only a few items on the list of recent advances in the treatment of melanoma. The need to engineer better immune interactions and to boost positive feedback loops appear crucial for the future of melanoma therapy, which ultimately resides in our understanding of the complexity of immune responses in this disease.
The current paradigm for cord blood transplantation is that HLA matching and immune suppression are strictly required to prevent graft versus host disease (GVHD). Immunological arguments and historical examples have been made that the use of cord blood for non-hematopoietic activities such as growth factor production, stimulation of angiogenesis, and immune modulation may not require matching or immune suppression.
Nonviral delivery systems are relatively easy to produce in the large scale, are safe, and elicit a negligible immune response. Nanoparticles (NPs) offer promise as nonviral vectors as biocompatible and -degradable carriers of drugs with targeting to specific sites by surface receptors of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). We investigated the effect of four PEG-PLGA (polyethylene glycol-polylactic-co-glycolic acid) NP systems on drug-resistant B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) cells in vitro, three of them encapsulating the drug, hydroxylchloroquine (HDQ), two with NP surface coatings of mAbs (NP1) CD20, (NP2) CD19, and CD20, and one (NP3) with no mAb, but tagged with the fluorescent marker, fluorescein isothiocyanate. The fourth NP system (NP4) was coated with anti-CD19/FITC and anti-CD20/Alexa-Fluor((R)) antibodies, but did not contain the active drug, HCQ. Our data indicate that PEG-PLGA nanoparticles with surface mAbs are suitable for selective drug delivery to B-CLL cells and produce a strong apoptotic effect when loaded with the lysosomotropic agent, HDQ.
Induction of tumor-specific immunity is an attractive approach to cancer therapy, however to date every major pivotal trial has resulted in failure. While the phenomena of tumor-mediated immune suppression has been known for decades, only recently have specific molecular pathways been elucidated, and for the first time, rationale means of intervening and observing results of intervention have been developed. In this review we describe major advances in our understanding of tumor escape from immunological pressure and provide some possible therapeutic scenarios for enhancement of efficacy in future cancer vaccine trials.
Patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) that are not eligible for transplantation have limited therapeutic options. Stem cell therapy such as autologous bone marrow, mobilized peripheral blood, or purified cells thereof has been used clinically since 2001. To date over 1000 patients have received cellular therapy as part of randomized trials, with the general consensus being that a moderate but statistically significant benefit occurs. Therefore, one of the important next steps in the field is optimization. In this paper we discuss three ways to approach this issue: a) increasing stem cell migration to the heart; b) augmenting stem cell activity; and c) combining existing stem cell therapies to recapitulate a "therapeutic niche". We conclude by describing a case report of a heart failure patient treated with a combination stem cell protocol in an attempt to augment beneficial aspects of cord blood CD34 cells and mesenchymal-like stem cells.
Since the days of Medawar, the goal of therapeutic tolerogenesis has been a "Holy Grail" for immunologists. While knowledge of cellular and molecular mechanisms of this process has been increasing at an exponential rate, clinical progress has been minimal. To provide a mechanistic background of tolerogenesis, we overview common processes in the naturally occurring examples of: pregnancy, cancer, oral tolerance and anterior chamber associated immune deviation. The case is made that an easily accessible byproduct of plastic surgery, the adipose stromal vascular fraction, contains elements directly capable of promoting tolerogenesis such as T regulatory cells and inhibitory macrophages. The high content of mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells from this source provides the possibility of trophic/regenerative potential, which would augment tolerogenic processes by decreasing ongoing inflammation. We discuss the application of this autologous cell source in the context of rheumatoid arthritis, concluding with some practical examples of its applications.
The medical significance of circulating endothelial or hematopoietic progenitors is becoming increasing recognized. While therapeutic augmentation of circulating progenitor cells using G-CSF has resulted in promising preclinical and early clinical data for several degenerative conditions, this approach is limited by cost and inability to perform chronic administration. Stem-Kine is a food supplement that was previously reported to augment circulating EPC in a pilot study. Here we report a trial in 18 healthy volunteers administered Stem-Kine twice daily for a 2 week period. Significant increases in circulating CD133 and CD34 cells were observed at days 1, 2, 7, and 14 subsequent to initiation of administration, which correlated with increased hematopoietic progenitors as detected by the HALO assay. Augmentation of EPC numbers in circulation was detected by KDR-1/CD34 staining and colony forming assays. These data suggest Stem-Kine supplementation may be useful as a stimulator of reparative processes associated with mobilization of hematopoietic and endothelial progenitors.
Angiogenesis is critical to tumor growth and is therefore a potential target for cancer therapy. As many current inhibitors of angiogenesis exhibit host toxicity, natural alternatives are needed. At millimolar concentrations, ascorbate (vitamin C) inhibits migration and tubule formation by mature endothelial cells and endothelial progenitors. In the present study, we examined the effects of ascorbate, at levels relevant during intravenous infusion therapy, on angiogenesis using an ex vivo an in vivo assay.
Endothelial dysfunction is associated with major causes of morbidity and mortality, as well as numerous age-related conditions. The possibility of preserving or even rejuvenating endothelial function offers a potent means of preventing/treating some of the most fearful aspects of aging such as loss of mental, cardiovascular, and sexual function.Endothelial precursor cells (EPC) provide a continual source of replenishment for damaged or senescent blood vessels. In this review we discuss the biological relevance of circulating EPC in a variety of pathologies in order to build the case that these cells act as an endogenous mechanism of regeneration. Factors controlling EPC mobilization, migration, and function, as well as therapeutic interventions based on mobilization of EPC will be reviewed. We conclude by discussing several clinically-relevant approaches to EPC mobilization and provide preliminary data on a food supplement, Stem-Kine, which enhanced EPC mobilization in human subjects.
The stromal vascular fraction (SVF) of adipose tissue is known to contain mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), T regulatory cells, endothelial precursor cells, preadipocytes, as well as anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages. Safety of autologous adipose tissue implantation is supported by extensive use of this procedure in cosmetic surgery, as well as by ongoing studies using in vitro expanded adipose derived MSC. Equine and canine studies demonstrating anti-inflammatory and regenerative effects of non-expanded SVF cells have yielded promising results. Although non-expanded SVF cells have been used successfully in accelerating healing of Crohns fistulas, to our knowledge clinical use of these cells for systemic immune modulation has not been reported. In this communication we discuss the rationale for use of autologous SVF in treatment of multiple sclerosis and describe our experiences with three patients. Based on this rationale and initial experiences, we propose controlled trials of autologous SVF in various inflammatory conditions.
Endometrial Regenerative Cells (ERC) are a population of mesenchymal-like stem cells having pluripotent differentiation activity and ability to induce neoangiogenesis. In vitro and animal studies suggest ERC are immune privileged and in certain situations actively suppress ongoing immune responses. In this paper we describe the production of clinical grade ERC and initial safety experiences in 4 patients with multiple sclerosis treated intravenously and intrathecally. The case with the longest follow up, of more than one year, revealed no immunological reactions or treatment associated adverse effects. These preliminary data suggest feasibility of clinical ERC administration and support further studies with this novel stem cell type.
Animal studies have demonstrated that selective tropism of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) for glioma may be used as a means of selective delivery of cytotoxic payloads. Endometrial Regenerative Cells (ERC) are a population of mesenchymal-like cells which possesse pluripotent differentiation capacity and is characterized by unique surface markers and growth factor production. In this study we sought to determine whether unmanipulated ERC would alter the growth of glioma using the aggressive C6/LacZ7 (C6) into Sprague Dawley rat model. ERC administration by intravenous (i.v.) or intratumoral (i.t.) showed significant inhibition of glioma: volume reduction of 49% after i.v. treatment (p < 0.05), and about 46% i.t. treatment (p < 0.05). Tumor reduction was associated with inhibition of angiogenesis and reduced numbers of CD133 positive cells in the incranial tumor. Despite the angiogenic potential of ERC in the hindlimb ischemia model, these data support a paradoxical tumor inhibitory activity of ERC. Further studies are needed to determine the qualitative differences between physiological angiogenesis, which seems to be supported by ERC and tumor angiogenesis which appeared to be inhibited.
The altered energy metabolism of tumor cells provides a viable target for a non toxic chemotherapeutic approach. An increased glucose consumption rate has been observed in malignant cells. Warburg (Nobel Laureate in medicine) postulated that the respiratory process of malignant cells was impaired and that the transformation of a normal cell to malignant was due to defects in the aerobic respiratory pathways. Szent-Györgyi (Nobel Laureate in medicine) also viewed cancer as originating from insufficient availability of oxygen. Oxygen by itself has an inhibitory action on malignant cell proliferation by interfering with anaerobic respiration (fermentation and lactic acid production). Interestingly, during cell differentiation (where cell energy level is high) there is an increased cellular production of oxidants that appear to provide one type of physiological stimulation for changes in gene expression that may lead to a terminal differentiated state. The failure to maintain high ATP production (high cell energy levels) may be a consequence of inactivation of key enzymes, especially those related to the Krebs cycle and the electron transport system. A distorted mitochondrial function (transmembrane potential) may result. This aspect could be suggestive of an important mitochondrial involvement in the carcinogenic process in addition to presenting it as a possible therapeutic target for cancer. Intermediate metabolic correction of the mitochondria is postulated as a possible non-toxic therapeutic approach for cancer.
Advancements in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment protocols and introduction of targeted biological therapies have markedly improved patient outcomes, despite this, up to 50% of patients still fail to achieve a significant clinical response. In veterinary medicine, stem cell therapy in the form of autologous stromal vascular fraction (SVF) is an accepted therapeutic modality for degenerative conditions with 80% improvement and no serious treatment associated adverse events reported. Clinical translation of SVF therapy relies on confirmation of veterinary findings in targeted patient populations. Here we describe the rationale and preclinical data supporting the use of autologous SVF in treatment of RA, as well as provide 1, 3, 6, and 13 month safety outcomes in 13 RA patients treated with this approach.
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