Stem Cell as Anti-Aging "Medicine"
Press Release, December 28, 2009
Medistem Inc issued a press release describing a collaborative publication between the University of California San Diego, Indiana University, University of Utah, the Dove Clinic for Integrative Medicine, Biotheryx, NovoMedix, The Bio-Communications Research Institute, The Center for Improvement of Human Functioning International and Aidan Products, discussing the contribution of circulating endothelial cells to prevention of aging. The publication also provided data showing that healthy volunteers who have been administered the food supplement Stem-Kine had a doubling of circulating endothelial progenitor cells.
The paper "Circulating endothelial progenitor cells: a new approach to anti-aging medicine?" is freely accessible. "Numerous experiments and clinical trials have been published describing the importance of these repair cells that the body possesses to heal internal organs," stated Dr. Doru Alexandrescu from Georgetown Dermatology, a co-author of the publication. "However, to our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive blueprint in the peer-reviewed literature of how this knowledge may be applied to the question of aging."
The paper summarizes publications describing correlations between decline of circulating endothelial cells and aging/deterioration of several organ systems. The main hypothesis of the publication is that the bone marrow generates a basal number of circulating endothelial cells that serve to continually regenerate the cells that line the blood vessels. Many diseases that are prevalent in aging such as Alzheimer's are associated with dysfunction of the blood vessel's ability to respond to various stimuli. This dysfunction is believed to be caused by diminished numbers of circulating endothelial progenitor cells.
Other conditions such as peripheral artery disease are also associated with reduction in this stem cell population, however, when agents are given that increase the numbers of these cells, the degree of atherosclerosis-mediated pathology is decreased. This was demonstrated in a study that administered the drug GM-CSF, which causes an increase in circulating endothelial progenitor cells in a manner similar to Stem-Kine. Unfortunately, drugs currently on the market that have this ability are very expensive and possess the possibility of numerous side effects. The Stem-Kine food supplement is sold as a neutraceutical and is made of natural ingredients that have already been in the food supply.
Another interesting point made by the paper was that the body modulates the number of circulating endothelial progenitor cells based on need. In stroke, the number of circulating endothelial progenitor cells markedly increases in response to the brain damage. Patients in which a higher increase is observed are noted to have a higher chance of recovery. Therapeutic interventions that contain endothelial progenitor cells such as administration of bone marrow cells after a heart attack, are believed to work, at least in part, through providing a cellular basis for creation of new blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis.
Patients with inflammatory conditions ranging from chronic heart failure, to type 2 diabetes, to Crohn's disease are noted to have a reduction in these cells. The reduction seems to be mediated by the inflammatory signal TNF-alpha. Studies reviewed in the paper describe how administration of antibodies to TNF-alpha in patients with inflammatory conditions results in a restoration of circulating endothelial progenitor cells.
In addition to the possible use of Stem-Kine for restoration/maintenance of circulating endothelial progenitor cells, the publication discusses the possibility of using such cells from sources outside of the body, for example cord blood. Although it was previously thought that cord blood can be used only after strict HLA matching, recent work supports the idea that for regenerative medicine uses, in which prior destruction of the recipient immune system is not required, cord blood may be used without immune suppression or strict tissue matching. This is discussed in the following paper: Cord blood in regenerative medicine: do we need immune