Clinical Research

If you read THE WIRED WORLD IN 2013 Annual Trend Report you may have seen my article predicting we would make a big advancement on the road to growing one of the Big 5 organs from a person's own stem cells this year.  That will mean no more driver's license donor permission, no waiting lists and no immunosuppressive drugs.

A drug developed by Gilead Sciences and tested in an animal model at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio suppresses hepatitis B virus infection by stimulating the immune system and inducing loss of infected cells.  


Trigemina, a company focused on creating non-narcotic pain relief drugs, is enrolling patients in a Phase II clinical trial of inhaled oxytocin to treat chronic migraine. Trigemina's oxytocin product, known as T1-001 (no doubt to be renamed to something lyrical if it comes to market), has already shown promising results in preliminary studies, the company says.

This use makes perfect sense: Oxytocin is a general analgesic (pain reducer), and it also contributes to relaxation and healing.

Discovery of a new protein that controls the presence of the Vel blood group antigen on our red blood cells will make it possible to use simple DNA testing to find blood donors for patients who lack the Vel antigen and need a blood transfusion, say researchers. 


In a two-year sub-study of the STAMPEDE (Surgical Therapy And Medications Potentially Eradicate Diabetes Efficiently) trial, researchers  evaluated the effects of bariatric surgery and intensive medical therapy on blood sugar levels, body composition, and pancreatic beta-cell function
and found that gastric bypass surgery reverses diabetes by uniquely restoring pancreatic function in moderately obese patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes.

Striking metabolic changes were observed in patients who underwent bariatric surgery compared with intensive medical therapy, particularly in the gastric bypass treatment group.


Every year in Germany, approximately 280,000 people suffer a myocardial infarction; more than 52,000 die as a result. Due to an occluded vessel, parts of the heart muscle no longer have sufficient circulation and the tissue dies off. These regions are not replaced by new heart muscle cells but instead by scar tissue – this generally causes the pump function of the heart to decrease following an infarction.  

Scientists have tested a method in mice allowing the morphological and functional sequelae of a myocardial infarction to be reduced and
with which scar tissue can be reduced and cardiac output increased.
 


Surgeon Paolo Macchiarini,  Professor of Regenerative Surgery at Karolinska Institutet, has become famous worldwide due to successfully transplanting bioengineered stem cell-based trachea, composed of both artificial and biological material, in patients. That was an important waypoint on the road to the Big 5 organs, which are far largers and more complex.

Next up is the the esophagus and diaphragm and an experimental attempt to regenerate brain material in mice and rats, he said during his seminar at the scientific AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston. 


Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona report they can cure diabetes in large animals with a single session of gene therapy. Writing in Diabetes, they said the dogs recovered their health and no longer show symptoms of the disease. In some cases, monitoring continued for over four years, with no recurrence of symptoms.


The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has reviewed field performance data of the BOVIGAM(R)Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) test and recommended such tests for inclusion in the official list of stand-alone tests for bovine tuberculosis (TB). BOVIGAM is currently widely used as a supplementary test in addition to skin testing. The Prionics company believes the positive EFSA opinion will lead to the use of BOVIGAM as a stand-alone TB test in the European Union. 


By combining insulin and an inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) betacellulin,  Cleveland Clinic researcher Bela Anand-Apte, MD, PhD
was able to halt the progression of diabetic macular edema (DME), according to data preseneted at the American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting last week in San Francisco.

The study, conducted with insulin-dependent diabetic mice, showed that by thwarting "cross-talk" between insulin and betacellulin (BTC), which promotes the regeneration of pancreatic beta cells that stores and releases insulin, the EGF inhibitor preserved the animals' vascular integrity, she explained.