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Stem cells

NASA advances stem cell therapy science

Saturday, June 22, 2013 by: Jeffery Scott
Tags: stem cells, NASA, organ regeneration

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(NaturalNews) Regenerating organs and damaged tissues has long been the dream of forward-thinking biologists and medical researchers. But it wasn't until advances in stem cell technology in the 1990s that such a dream became a reality.

Stem cells hold a unique role in human physiology being as yet undifferentiated into any specific mature cell type. Depending on the signals and environmental stimuli they receive, genetically identical stem cells may then differentiate into bone, heart, or even neurons. Hormone signals, such as insulin, may trigger stem cells to become adipocytes - fat cells, which may help explain why insulin-resistant people gain fat-mass so easily.

Currently, there are two methods by which one can undergo stem cell therapy: exogenous and endogenous. Exogenous therapies rely on stem cells harvested from either non-embryonic (adult somatic cells) or embryonic tissues with the latter being responsible for much of the controversy in early years. Once harvested, stem cells are grown in the lab, expanded in number, and conditioned before implantation back into the host. Stem cell clinics around the world offer treatment protocols for the regeneration of selected organs, such as heart or liver and for conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Enter NASA

In the 1980s, scientists at NASA became keenly interested in stem cell therapy as a potential off-set for bone loss resulting from prolonged weightlessness in space. However, as stem cell experiments proceeded onboard the Space Shuttle, a most curious anomaly was observed. Under the direction of Dr. David Wolf, NASA Chief Astronaut, the stem cells were observed to grow more dramatically when the shuttle was over the earth's polar regions rather than over equatorial regions. Further analysis of the culture media showed that a number of natural tissue growth factors such as endothelial growth factor were also produced providing enhanced tissue repair and reduced inflammation.

Theorizing this to be an effect of the electromagnetic fields unique to the polar regions, researchers attempted to duplicate those same conditions in the laboratory. Dr. Donnie Rudd of Sugar Land, Texas, one of the three researchers on this project stated: "We were surprised by the unusual characteristics of the pulsed-electromagnetic field required to replicate the Shuttle results. We expected a smooth, natural sine wave to be effective, but found the exact opposite was true. Without the data from the Shuttle experiments we would have never figured it out."

After 10 years of research, in vivo stem cell proliferation using pulsed EMF fields became a reality. Animal studies demonstrated these pulsed fields were able to fully regenerate bone surgically excised from the leg within 30 days. Thermographic studies and clinical feedback from veterinarians demonstrated that both pain and inflammation were quickly reduced in both soft and hard tissues. Dr. Rudd added: "Although finding the precise wave-form that worked proved to be quite a challenge, being able to expand a patient's own stem cells non-invasively eliminates the risk of infection and provides clinicians with a simpler therapeutic model".

Epigenetics and nature's synergy

Although the results of stem cell therapies may be impressive, we can only deepen our appreciation for the importance of caring for the environment into which these regenerative cells are ultimately placed. Regardless of which stem cell therapy method one chooses, one must remember that stem cells differentiate based upon the signals from their environment which is affected by nutritional status, toxins, stress, glucose-insulin interaction, and presumably foreign gene fragments introduced by GMO foods. This represents the essence of the epigenetic model, where the environment influences genetic expression. Clearly, a new frontier awaits but ultimately we may find that our greatest success arises from our wise use of the principles of synergy built into Nature.

Sources for this article include:

http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/pages/basics4.aspx
NASA/TP-2003-212054

Physiological and Molecular Genetic Effects of Time-Varying Electromagnetic Fields on Human Neuronal Cells Thomas J Goodwin, PhD, LBJ Space Center http://ston.jsc.nasa.gov/collections/TRS/_techrep/TP-2003-212054.pdf

http://www.forbes.com

About the author:
Jeffery Scott, PhD, CCN is a author, researcher and health educator. He is author of "Mind Myths", "Your Guide To Body pH" and other works published by www.ClinicalNutritionPress.com
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