Posts tagged with "Northern Ireland"

Endothelial progenitor cells for treating stroke patients

A new study recently published in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine demonstrates the long-term safety of laboratory-expanded endothelial progenitor cells for treating ischemic stroke. This could be good news for the 15 million people who, according to to the World Stroke Organization, suffer from this dangerous condition each year.

Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, affecting nearly 90 percent of all cases. It is caused by a blocked blood vessel in the brain. In the normal central nervous system, endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) play an active role in building blood vessels. This has led researchers to wonder whether EPCs circulating in the blood could be recruited after a stroke to assist in repairing damaged vessels in the brain. However, there is one major problem with this idea: The number of circulating EPCs is too low to provide much regenerative capacity – a number that further decreases in the aging or in those with heart problems.

This makes ex vivo (lab) expanded EPCs an attractive alternative.

“Transplantation of EPCs was already determined in animal experiments to be a safe and effective method for treating ischemic stroke. However, their safety and efficacy had yet to be determined in humans,” said Zhenzhou Chen, M.D., Ph.D., Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China, and a corresponding author on the study. “In our trial, we tested the safety and feasibility of transplanting an acute ischemic stroke patient with his or her own (autologous) ex vivo expanded EPCs.”

Eighteen patients were recruited for the randomized, single-blinded study. Each received conventional treatment after their stroke then, seven days after symptom onset, underwent a bone marrow aspiration to collect EPCs and bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) for expansion in the lab. The patients were divided into three groups and, beginning at week four after the aspiration, one group was intravenously infused with their own EPCs, while the other two groups received either their own BMSCs or a saline placebo as the controls.

Each patient was then monitored for 48 months. Study co-author Xiaodan Jiang, M.D., Ph.D., also from Southern Medical University, explained, “We watched for mortality of any cause, adverse events and any new-onset diseases or conditions. Changes in neurological deficits were also assessed at different time points.”

In the end the researchers found no toxicity events nor did they see any infusional or allergic reactions in any of the patients. “The EPC group had less serious adverse events compared to the placebo-controlled group, although there were no statistical differences in mortality among the three groups,” Dr. Chen reported. “Ex vivoexpansion always raises concerns that it may cause instability in the chromosomes or maybe lead to tumors. However, in our long-term study we observed no increased tumorigenicity. This safety indicator was also confirmed by many animal studies and other trials using expanded bone marrow-derived stem cells for treatment of ischemic stroke.”

The researchers did note limitations in their study, including lack of patient-centered quality of life outcomes. “Moreover, because of the small size of the cohorts involved, we could neither identify the neurological or functional benefits of EPCs on ischemic stroke, nor determine the pros and cons between EPCs and BMSCs for stroke treatment,” Dr. Jiang said. “Thus, we believe a larger phase 2 trial is warranted.”

“This is a promising line of cell therapy research using a novel treatment method that is simple and non-invasive,” said Anthony Atala, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. “We look forward to larger phase 2 trial results.”

The full article, “Autologous endothelial progenitor cells transplantation for acute ischemic stroke: A four-year follow-up study,” can be accessed at http://www.stemcellstm.com.

About STEM CELLS Translational Medicine: STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (SCTM), published by AlphaMed Press, is a monthly peer-reviewed publication dedicated to significantly advancing the clinical utilization of stem cell molecular and cellular biology. By bridging stem cell research and clinical trials, SCTM will help move applications of these critical investigations closer to accepted best practices. SCTM is the official journal partner of Regenerative Medicine Foundation.

About AlphaMed Press: Established in 1983, AlphaMed Press with offices in Durham, NC, San Francisco, CA, and Belfast, Northern Ireland, publishes two other internationally renowned peer-reviewed journals: STEM CELLS® (www.StemCells.com), celebrating its 36th year, is the world’s first journal devoted to this fast paced field of research. The Oncologist® (www.TheOncologist.com), also a monthly peer-reviewed publication, entering its 23rd year, is devoted to community and hospital-based oncologists and physicians entrusted with cancer patient care. All three journals are premier periodicals with globally recognized editorial boards dedicated to advancing knowledge and education in their focused disciplines.

About Wiley: Wiley, a global company, helps people and organizations develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Our online scientific, technical, medical and scholarly journals, combined with our digital learning, assessment and certification solutions, help universities, learned societies, businesses, governments and individuals increase the academic and professional impact of their work. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The company’s website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

About Regenerative Medicine Foundation (RMF): The non-profit Regenerative Medicine Foundation fosters strategic collaborations to accelerate the development of regenerative medicine to improve health and deliver cures. RMF pursues its mission by producing its flagship World Stem Cell Summit, honouring leaders through the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards, and promoting educational initiatives.

Travel Ireland 

For 2018 – Cliffs and Castles, Food and Fiddles

Permeate Newly Crafted Itineraries 
For Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

 
Inquisitive adventure travelers would be wise to put Ireland on their tour map for 2018. Vagabond Adventure Tours, Ireland’s award-winning tour operator serving fit and active travelers, and its complementary division, Driftwood Journeys of Discovery that emphasizes unique scenery, culture and history at a more relaxed pace, have added new tours and itinerary embellishments for the coming year.
 
“From the addition of unique accommodations to totally brand-new tours, 2018 is shaping up to be our most exciting new year!” says Amy Rankin, co-founder and director of Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland (https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/).
 
New from Driftwood Journeys of Discovery
 
With multiple departures scheduled for May into September 2018, Vagabond’s Driftwood Journeys of Discovery is launching a new leisurely paced 7 Day Kerry UnCorked Tour through Ireland’s southwest including two nights in Ireland’s foodie capital, Kinsale, where guests savor sea food, visit craft breweries and enjoy whiskey tasting in a local pub. Another stop with plenty of time allotted for exploring is Dingle where galleries and pubs (54 at last count) abound. The itinerary embraces visits to ancient ruins and lunar landscapes, planting a kiss on the Blarney Stone, watching the centuries-bred instincts of working sheep dogs, strolling through stately homes and gardens, being spell-bound by the green fields and stone walls of Dingle and Ireland’s wild and rugged Atlantic coastline where near the Cliffs of Moher in the Burren original Irish music still emanates. The gateway city is Dublin. The per person double rate is €1,699 (€300 single supplement). For more details see: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/cultural-ireland-tour-7-day/.
 
Driftwood Journeys of Discovery’s 6 Day Northern Island Tour lavishes guests inclined to leisurely paced culture with castles and manor house estates on whose walls is written much of Northern Island’s resiliency. Appetites for grandeur are whetted on Day 1 at two Palladian-style estates, Castletown House on 550 acres maintained by the Guinness fortune, and Strokestown Park and The Irish National Famine Museum. Sweet dreams this night are within the confines of Markee Castle Hotel. After extensive renovation to become an accommodation, as of 2017 this family-owned castle-hotel is the fourth member of Romantic Castles of Ireland and a new addition to this itinerary. Guests also get tweedy in Donegal, home of the famous weave and Donegal Castle and they’re imbued in clan lore at Dunluce Castle, the McDonald stronghold. One night they sleep with ghosts in 17th century Ballygally Castle. Another recent addition to this tour is a night at a Victorian red brick masterpiece right on the beach, Slieve Donard Resort and Spa. Over six days guests enjoy jaw-dropping vistas atop Atlantic Ocean cliffs; the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Giant’s Causeway; Celtic myths and monasteries; walks on the beach along the Wild Atlantic Way; fiddle-filled pubs, tours of cultural hubs and more. The gateway city is Dublin. Scheduled departures run from April through October. The rate per person double is €1,509 (single supplement €210). For details see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/6-day-northern-ireland-tour/.
 
New from Vagabond Adventure Tours
 
Vagabond Adventure Tours offers a new-for-2018 itinerary, 7 Day Magnetic North Adventure Tour, that embraces the complex history of Northern Ireland and the north-west counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo and Mayo. The journey follows inland and sea-kissed routes where guests hike, horseback ride, bike and kayak. This seven-day tour’s magic includes:

  • castles watching over world-class gardens
  • the flora and fauna of national parks, moorlands and glens
  • villages where weavers still ply their trade
  • morning walks on Ireland’s holiest mountain
  • bike rides along the famous Western Greenway
  • museum visits
  • kayak outings on sea and river
  • playing a prehistoric sport, hurling
  • wondering at ancient Neolithic stone circles and Celtic ring forts

 
The gateway is Dublin. The rate per person double is €1,619 (€220 single supplement). Weekly departures are scheduled from late April through September, 2018. For details see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/7-day-magnetic-north-northern-ireland-adventure-tour/.
 
Also beginning in 2018, all tours that include Galway will linger a bit longer here giving guests at least two hours for exploring and shopping in this bustling city. From Eyre Square, a walk down Shop Street is a must. Onlookers are treated to entertainment from buskers as well as countless small cafes and shops, including the shop famous for Claddagh rings that promise love, loyalty and friendship. Not far from Spanish Arch is the impressive Galway Cathedral, which is home to interesting art and design. The Vagabond Adventure Tours inclusive of Galway include 7, 8, 11 and 12-day programs.
 
On all its tours, the Vagabond staff will curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4×4 Land Rover or Mercedes ‘Vagatron’ that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.
 
About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland
Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named a “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. And in 2016, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification. 
 
In 2013 the company launched Driftwood Journeys of Discovery that explores in a less strenuous manner many of the same routes of Vagabond Adventure Tours. Itineraries in both divisions focus on high yield, low impact tourism which means that local economies benefit from the company’s and guest’s contributions to local, rural Irish economies (including accommodations, meals, nightlife, attractions and shopping). For details on all of Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2018 reservations, please visit www.vagabondtours.com. Call toll free (from the US) 833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email info@vagabond and info@driftwood.