Anti-aging stem cell therapy shows "remarkable" results in human trials

The results of two human clinical trials involving elderly patients suffering from frailty showed no adverse side effects and “remarkable” physical improvement. 

Anti-aging stem cell therapy shows "remarkable" results in human trials


Stem cell therapy appears to be a safe and effective way to reverse age-related frailty among the elderly, suggest researchers at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The researchers conducted two human clinical trials to study the safety and efficacy of stem cell therapy on frailty, a geriatric syndrome that includes weakness, muscle and weight loss, decreased energy, and increased likelihood of catastrophic injury, and which affects about 10 percent of the 50 million senior citizens in the U.S.

“These trials represent potential landmarks in the treatment of frailty,” wrote David G. Le Couteur and colleagues in an editorial accompanying the papers about the clinical trials, all published in The Journals of Gerontology. “Both studies are early-phase trials of a small number of participants, designed primarily to assess safety, so conclusions about efficacy need to be treated with caution. Even so, the results are striking and, at minimum, pave the way for large randomized Phase III clinical trials.”

A Phase III clinical trial typically involves many patients, and it’s the last stage a health intervention must pass through before it’s approved by the FDA.


The therapy tested in the clinical trials involves mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), a type of adult stem cell that scientists are studying in efforts to combat everything from brain disease to multiple sclerosis. Like all adult stem cells, MSC can self-regenerate and generate progeny of several distinct cell types, but these abilities diminish as people age. That’s why the elderly might benefit from MSC transplants from young donors.

“MSC have a number of biological properties that make them attractive as therapeutic agents: they home to sites of inflammation and tissue injury after an intravenous injection; they differentiate into many cell types including muscle and bone; they secrete bioactive compounds that induce tissue recovery and suppress inflammation; and they avoid host immune responses because of their immunomodulatory effects,” wrote Le Couteur et al.

In the first trial, 15 frail patients were administered a single MSC infusion derived from donors between the ages of 20 and 45. After six months, the participants experienced no adverse side effects and all showed improved fitness outcomes, tumor necrosis factor levels and overall quality of life.

The second trial was a randomized, double-blind study with a placebo group, and the results again showed what researchers called “remarkable” physical improvements and no negative side effects.

"With the aging of the population, stem cells hold great promise to treat aging-related disability and frailty, improving physical capacity and quality of life," said Joshua M. Hare, who worked on the project and is Director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "There is no FDA approved treatment for aging frailty and an enormous unmet need that will only increase with the changing demographics."

Richard M. Cohen, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was the first person in the world to be treated with mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). This is his story:

 

 

Did early humans hibernate?

New anthropological research suggests our ancestors enjoyed long slumbers.

Credit: Gorodenkoff / Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • Neanderthal bone fragments discovered in northern Spain mimic hibernating animals like cave bears.
  • Thousands of bone fragments, dating back 400,000 years, were discovered in this "pit of bones" 30 years ago.
  • The researchers speculate that this physiological function, if true, could prepare us for extended space travel.
Keep reading Show less

Does science tell the truth?

It is impossible for science to arrive at ultimate truths, but functional truths are good enough.

Credit: Sergey Nivens / 202871840
13-8
  • What is truth? This is a very tricky question, trickier than many would like to admit.
  • Science does arrive at what we can call functional truth, that is, when it focuses on what something does as opposed to what something is. We know how gravity operates, but not what gravity is, a notion that has changed over time and will probably change again.
  • The conclusion is that there are not absolute final truths, only functional truths that are agreed upon by consensus. The essential difference is that scientific truths are agreed upon by factual evidence, while most other truths are based on belief.
Keep reading Show less

A canvas of nonsense: how Dada reflects a world gone mad through art

Using urinals, psychological collages, and animated furniture to shock us into reality.

A Dadaist artist is painted with the ashes of burned banknotes during the financial crisis.

Credit: MICHELE LIMINA via Getty Images
Culture & Religion
  • Dada is a provocative and surreal art movement born out of the madness of World War I.
  • Tzara, a key Dada theorist, says Dada seeks "to confuse and upset, to shake and jolt" people from their comfort zones.
  • Dada, as all avant-garde art, faces a key problem in how to stay true to its philosophy.
Keep reading Show less
Surprising Science

Study: Tripping might not be required for psychedelic therapy

Two different studies provide further evidence of the efficacy of psychedelics in treating depression.

Quantcast