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Category Archives: Nebraska Stem Cells

High Altitude Balloons Return to Near-Space from UNO – University of Nebraska Omaha

Posted: June 6, 2021 at 2:40 am

Students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha have once again sent experiments to near-space through two high-altitude balloon launches this time in support of a unique opportunity to launch a small satellite into orbit.

UNOs TED/STEM 8860 Invention & Innovation in Engineering Education class joined with the University of Nebraska-Lincolns (UNL) Nebraska Big Red Satellite team and the UNL Aerospace eXperimental Payload (AXP) team to launch high-altitude balloons in the final weeks of the Spring 2021 semester.

The launches were conducted as a precursor to the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative which will launch and place a small student-created satellite into earths orbit a first for the state of Nebraska. The Big Red Satellite team is comprised of UNL undergraduate engineering students who also mentor Nebraska middle and high school students in near-space STEM experiments.

Ensuring successful launches now and in the future meant drawing on the experience and expertise of Derrick Nero, Ed.D., assistant professor of teacher education at UNO. Nero supported AXP and the Big Red Satellite Team through technical and logistical advisement including staging and balloon fill procedures, design considerations, and meeting FAA requirements for unmanned free balloons.

Design considerations were a particular challenge as breezy weather made launches difficult. The teams prepared for a dual balloon launch from the Strategic Air and Space Museum near Ashland, Nebraska on April 24, 2021. Congressman Don Bacon was on hand to deliver remarks, congratulate them on their selection for the NASA CubeSat program, and wish all teams the best of luck.

Mother Nature did her best to keep the balloons on the ground. The UNO team successfully launched one balloon complete with test payloads to track the balloons position and record data. However, the wind proved to be too much for the second balloon. The teams were forced to give the second balloon another try on a later date when weather conditions were more ideal.

While a minor setback, Nero believes that these less-than-optimal weather conditions provided students with an extra chance to apply what they were learning. Challenges such as less ideal weather conditions and payload or equipment issues provide great learning opportunities for students in preparation: Creating alternate plans, performing real-time troubleshooting and decision-making, and critically reviewing for procedures optimization, Nero said.

And troubleshoot they did. The second balloon was launched successfully from UNOs campus the following week despite another windy spring Nebraska day. Between the two launches, both balloons rose to the upper levels of the Earths atmosphere or approximately 70,000 feet. Altogether, six payloads made the journey to near-space: Three of the payloads were projects of the Big Red Satellite team of middle- and high-school students while an additional three payloads were projects of the UNL Aerospace eXperimental Payloads (AXP) team.

The lessons learned in these launches will prove valuable as the Big Red Satellite Team gears up for successful NASA CubeSat Launch in the years to come. The payloads enabled students to study various effects of radiation on food, solar cells, and testing hardware in preparation for the CubeSat project.

NASAs CubeSat Launch Initiative selects small satellite payloads built by universities, high schools and non-profit organizations to fly on upcoming launches. Through innovative technology partnerships, NASA provides CubeSat developers a low-cost pathway to conduct scientific investigations and technology demonstrations in space, thus enabling students, teachers and faculty to obtain hands-on flight hardware development experience.

UNO is excited to assist the Big Red Satellite Team as they continue to design, test, and improve its platform, payloads, and practices to successfully deploy a nanosatellite in support of NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative, Nero said.

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Orange Nutrition: Benefits, Calories, Warnings and Recipes – LIVESTRONG.COM

Posted: June 4, 2020 at 9:27 am

When eaten as part of a healthy diet, oranges can benefit your skin, heart and digestive health. The refreshing citrus fruit is famously known for its high levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant that may help shorten the duration of colds and is linked to a lower risk of cancer.

Oranges supply more than 100 percent of your Daily Value of vitamin C, which can help shorten colds.

Image Credit: Creative

Delicious eaten raw, slightly frozen or blended into a smoothie, this fruit is an easy way to make your diet more nutritious. If you love to grill or roast meat, a squeeze of orange can also double as a healthy tenderizer.

Oranges have the added benefit of being convenient to toss in a lunch bag for a quick snack or part of a meal.

Orange Nutrition Facts

One large orange is equal to a single serving. One large orange contains:

Orange Macros

Vitamins, Minerals and Other Micronutrients

Health Benefits of Oranges

Oranges can improve the health of your skin, heart and digestive system. Their high levels of vitamin C may contribute to healthy collagen levels, shorter colds and lower risk of cancer.

1. They're Linked to Improved Skin Health

The vitamin C in oranges plays a number of protective roles in the body, including keeping your skin healthy and youthful. One large orange provides more than your entire DV of this nutrient.

Vitamin C plays a key role in the production of collagen, which is the structural protein that gives skin elasticity. The vitamin C content in your skin and your body's production of collagen naturally decline as you age, according to Oregon State University.

This decrease in collagen contributes to wrinkles. It may also cause health issues like weakening muscles, joint pain, osteoarthritis or even gastrointestinal problems due to the thinning of your digestive tract lining, per the Cleveland Clinic. After aging, a poor diet is the most common cause of low collagen levels in the body.

Although you may think of skin health as largely involving topical treatments, dietary intake of healthy nutrients is generally linked to improved appearance of the skin. Nutrient supplementation improved both the perception of skin health and actual skin health including appearance, roughness, wrinkling and elasticity in a March 2015 review in the journal Nutrition Research.

More research is needed to determine the effect of nutrient-rich foods and vitamin C on skin appearance. However, antioxidant-rich foods like oranges generally seem to have a protective effect, per the Mayo Clinic.

Vitamin C also helps to repair wounds and even affects your oral health. In fact, vitamin C may contribute to a lower risk of periodontal (gum) disease and can improve gingival bleeding in gingivitis, according to a July 2019 review in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

"Vitamin C benefits your gum health because its antioxidant properties help to renew, rebuild and constantly keep tissue healthy," says Natalie Allen, RD, clinical assistant professor of biomedical sciences at Missouri State University.

A large orange contains 4.4 grams of fiber, which is 18 percent of the DV. Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet, according to the Mayo Clinic. A high-fiber diet:

Oranges are filled with soluble fiber, which is also found in apples, oats, peas, beans and carrots. "The soluble fiber in oranges is very helpful in lowering cholesterol and keeping your gastrointestinal tract healthy, and also slows down the digestion of food," Allen says.

While too many starchy foods can lead to constipation (and too much sugar or processed food can lead to diarrhea), fiber keeps your digestive system running smoothly. Soluble fiber can reduce gas and bloating, and changes into a gel-like substance during digestion, which makes stool softer and bulkier for easier excretion, per Harvard Medical School.

Oranges are one type of food certified as heart-healthy by the American Heart Association. Certified foods must be a good source (provide at least 10 percent DV per serving) of one more of these six nutrients: vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein and dietary fiber. Oranges qualify due to their fiber and vitamin C content.

Are You Getting Enough Fiber?

Track your macros by logging your meals on the MyPlate app. Download now to fine-tune your diet today!

Americans generally don't get enough fiber: While the recommended total dietary intake of fiber is 25 to 30 grams per day, adults average about 15 grams per day, per UCSF Health, so eating oranges can help fill that gap.

3. Oranges Are Tied to a Healthy Immune System

Perhaps most famously associated with vitamin C, oranges can help keep your immune system functioning at its best.

That said, vitamin C is not a cure-all or sure bet for preventing the common cold (or other illnesses). Only extremely active people like marathon runners and skiers who took at least 200 milligrams of vitamin C daily (about the amount in two oranges) appeared to cut their chances of getting a common cold in half in a January 2013 review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

The same effect wasn't seen for the general population. However, taking at least 200 milligrams daily vitamin C did appear to shorten the duration of cold symptoms by an average of 8 percent in adults and 14 percent in children which equates to about one day less of sickness according to Harvard Medical School.

When possible, it's best to get nutrients like vitamin C from food rather than supplements. People with high intakes of vitamin C from fruits and vegetables might have a lower risk of getting several types of cancer, including lung, colon and breast cancer, per the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Vitamin C supplements don't appear to have the same protective effect.

People who eat many fruits and vegetables also appear to have a lower risk of heart disease, which may be due to antioxidants that stave off oxidative damage, a major cause of heart disease. More research is needed to determine if vitamin C plays a role in this protective effect and if it can slow down the progression of heart disease and those who already have it.

Fruits, like oranges, and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. Although most people in the U.S. get enough vitamin C from foods and beverages, people who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke may not, per the NIH. Smokers need 35 milligrams more vitamin C daily than nonsmokers, partly because smoke increases how much vitamin C your body needs to repair free radical damage.

Orange juice is not necessarily unhealthy in moderation, but whole fruit has far more health benefits. I always recommend the whole fruit over juice, because youll get more fiber than you would in the juice, Allen says.

Half a cup of juice is a serving, which isnt very much. You might end up drinking two to three servings of juice, which is a lot more calories and sugar than you would get from an orange.

While eating whole fruits was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, a greater intake of fruit juice was associated with a higher risk in an August 2013 _BMJ _study. If you like orange juice, opt for a calcium-fortified variety and dilute it with seltzer water.

Orange Health Risks

Although rare, citrus allergy has been reported with oranges, mandarins and grapefruits, per the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

Many people with fruit allergy are sensitized to pollen and may react to a number of other fruits, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Food Allergy and Resource Program. About 39 percent of children and young adults with hay fever also had a sensitivity to citrus fruits in a small January 2013 study of 72 participants published in the journal PLOS One.

Citric acid, a chemical naturally found in citrus fruits but also used as an additive in foods, does not provoke an immune response including in people with citrus allergy, according to the AAAAI.

It's important to speak to an allergist if you suspect you have a food allergy, which can cause symptoms such as vomiting, hives, shortness of breath or even life-threatening anaphylaxis. If you have a food allergy, you may need to carry epinephrine with you at all times in case of a severe reaction.

Oranges have potassium, which helps send electrical signals to heart-muscle cells and other cells. Avoid consuming them with ACE inhibitors such as:

These medications are used to lower blood pressure or treat heart failure and could increase levels of potassium in your body when combined with oranges (which contain potassium), per Consumer Reports. This may lead to heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat, which can be fatal.

For the same reason, you should avoid mixing oranges with some diuretics like triamterene (Dyrenium), used to lower fluid retention and treat high blood pressure.

Seville oranges (bitter oranges), which are often used in orange marmalade, can affect the same enzyme as grapefruit juice so it's best to avoid them if your medication reacts with grapefruit juice, per the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Depending on the active ingredient, grapefruit can lower the effectiveness of a drug or cause dangerous drug levels in the body by interfering with transporters in the intestine. Ask your doctor if you can have fresh grapefruit juice while on your medication (and if not, avoid Seville oranges).

Currently there are more than 50 prescription and over-the-counter drugs known to have negative interactions with grapefruit.

Orange Preparation and Helpful Tips

In the U.S., most oranges are grown in California, Florida and Texas, and can be found in supermarkets year-round. Follow these tips to incorporate oranges into your diet.

Check oranges before buying. You should be able to squeeze a fresh orange slightly, and its orange hue should predominate over green, according to the USDA.

Oranges vary in characteristics by type. For instance, navel oranges are easy to peel and don't have seeds. Valencia oranges do have seeds and are more difficult to peel, but are generally less expensive than navel oranges.

Wash oranges before using them. The USDA recommends washing oranges under cold, running water before peeling them. If you're using the skin for zest, scrub the orange peel with a vegetable brush.

Slice easily and store properly. Place the orange on its side, with the stem ends between your hands, then carefully cut into wedges. This makes it easy to remove the wedges from the skin, per the USDA.

Florida and Texas oranges are best stored at 32 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit, while California oranges are ideally stored at 38 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Refrigerated oranges have a shelf life of about 10 days. For a refreshing treat, freeze orange wedges for up to one hour.

Alternatives to Oranges

Oranges provide a range of healthy nutrients that can benefit your skin, digestive health and immune system. They're packed with vitamin C, and provide 18 percent of the daily value of fiber. As such, they're considered a heart-healthy addition to your diet.

Citrus fruits are similar in nutritional value. You can replace oranges for other fruits such as grapefruit and tangerines for similar health benefits.

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Role of science highlighted in pandemic fight – –

Posted: May 8, 2020 at 6:51 pm

Members of the medical team from Beijing's China-Japan Friendship Hospital visit a novel coronavirus pneumonia patient in an ICU ward at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, on March 25, 2020. [Photo by Zhu Xingxin/]

Experts exploring new, innovative approaches to tackle novel coronavirus

Science and technology have played, and will continue to play, a decisive role in mitigating the pandemic, whether it is by discovering new features about the novel coronavirus, looking for new treatment or vaccines or offering expertise in psychological services, experts said.

But science does not always proceed in an unambiguous straight line toward progress. These undertakings, especially those involve pushing boundaries deeper into the unknown, are time-consuming, complicated and unpredictable. So it is important for the public to understand the scientific process to fully respect and appreciate these efforts, they said.

As President Xi Jinping has said, the COVID-19 epidemic is the "fastest spreading, most infectious and most challenging public health emergency since the birth of New China". He has also stressed that epidemic control efforts require the support of science and technology and urged scientists who are working on treatment and a vaccine to accelerate their research while upholding rigorous scientific practices and ensuring their products are safe.

With the leadership of Xi and joint efforts by the whole of society, the epidemic is now under control in China, said Huai Jinpeng, executive vice-president of the China Association for Science and Technology.

"But the disease is still spreading across the globe, and there is a strong downward pressure for the world economy and a noticeable spike in instability and uncertainty," he said at a meeting with the nation's science officials on April 30.

During this critical juncture, Chinese scientists need to be even more hardworking and pragmatic, and make a greater contribution to the nation's post-epidemic socioeconomic recovery with science and innovation, Huai said.

At the same time, they also need to expand their network of cooperation at home and abroad. Science officials and workers should maintain high ethical and professional standards, and be a role model for society, he added.

Wan Gang, president of the China Association for Science and Technology, said the nation's science workers were immediately mobilized to tackle the epidemic when the outbreak began, and have provided crucial scientific support in controlling the disease and assisting the socioeconomic recovery.

Communication is also a key aspect of the overall disease prevention and control effort, he said, adding that the various COVID-19 related information platforms under the association have attracted over 7 billion views in the past few months.

When Chinese microbiologist Wang Jun volunteered to go to Wuhan, Hubei province, to help the city's hospitals research the novel coronavirus, he said he felt like he was heading into a "battlefield".

The motive behind his action was simple. "Our institute (the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences) has been researching the virus since the outbreak began," Wang said on April 20.

"With Wuhan being the first place to have reported the disease, I had a gut feeling that there must have been many questions that our front-line medical staff didn't even know existed, so we had to go to the battlefront to learn about the situation and their needs," he said.

Since the outbreak began, the academy has sent dozens of researchers to Wuhan. Their work has played a major role in the overall epidemic control effort. Their five main objectives were viral research, creating new diagnostic tools, testing clinical treatments, health evaluation for recovered patients and psychological counseling.

Wang said his team had discovered that children, who were believed to be less susceptible to COVID-19, could still spread the disease even when their symptoms were mild, making them potential asymptomatic carriers that might float under the diagnostic radar.

The virus also has some very intricate immunological effects that would make case tracing via antibody tests more difficult, so "more research is definitely needed", he added.

Jin Qi, director of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences' Institute of Pathogen Biology, said that scientists' understanding of the novel coronavirus remains limited and is constantly expanding, and with new information unearthed, new questions would emerge.

For example, most researchers agreed that a 14-day quarantine is generally sufficient for a patient to show symptoms, but there are now rare cases in which patients experience the onset of symptoms well after the two-week period, Jin said.

Drugs and vaccines

Wang Guiqiang, head of Peking University First Hospital's department of infectious diseases, said at a seminar in late April that drugs and vaccines are crucial for stopping the pandemic for good, but this will require time and effort by scientists around the globe.

China has three vaccines, one vectorwhich uses just a gene from the coronavirusand two inactivated, currently in Phase II clinical trials. The vector vaccine is spearheaded by Chen Wei, a senior preventive medical expert, and the results for the Phase II trial are set to be published in May, according to official sources.

The two inactivated vaccines were developed respectively by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd and Sinovac Research & Development Co Ltd.

Zhong Nanshan, a renowned respiratory expert, told People's Daily last month that although there has not been a wonder cure found for COVID-19, some drugs have proved to be effective to some extent.

"We're testing a variety of drugs, such as chloroquine, and experiment results have shown the drug is definitely effective," he said, adding that scientists are analyzing the data and would publish their findings soon.

Some traditional Chinese medicines, including Lianhua Qingwen Capsules, are also being studied. For the capsule, Zhong said although its anti-viral effect against COVID-19 isn't that pronounced, it does have a "remarkable anti-inflammatory effect" that can help patients recover quicker.

A major component of all scientific work is about testing available knowledge and methods, but not all tests can return positive results. Discovering what works, and, sometimes more importantly, what doesn't work and why, is crucial in expanding humanity's knowledge of the disease.

Cao Bin, vice-president of China-Japan Friendship Hospital, said at a seminar last month that they had found Lopinavir/Ritonavir, a combination of anti-HIV drugs that showed potential in treating COVID-19 in the early days of the outbreak, did not produce desirable results.

In late April, the Lancet medical journal published a study by Cao on his clinical trials on remdesivir in China. The study said the experimental drug from the United States did not significantly speed up the recovery of critically ill patients compared with the control group.

The authors warn that interpretation of their study is limited because it only recruited 237 adults, rather than the target of 453 patients, due to the rapid decline of COVID-19 cases in China. They concluded that more research is needed.

Pushing boundaries

Through strong government support and hard work, Chinese scientists are also exploring new and innovative ways to tackle the novel coronavirus.

Zhang Linqi, a professor at Tsinghua University School of Medicine in Beijing, said his team has been using antibodies to "drive a wedge" between the virus' spike proteinits "key" for entering cellsand the receptor that it binds to.

That would effectively block the virus from entry. It has been very effective in animal tests, and may serve to inspire new vaccine candidates, he said at an online seminar in late April.

Scientists have discovered that there is a small but potent section of the spike protein that does most of the work called the receptor-binding domain, or RBD.

Knowing that, Zhang's team, along with scientists from Shenzhen Third People's Hospital, found two antibodies that, together, can insert themselves at the junction of the RBD and the cell's receptor, blocking the virus from latching onto the cell.

Zhang said they are testing the blocking effect in possible vaccines, and early results are "really encouraging". But research is still in its early stages and more rigorous studies and tests are needed, he added.

Hu Baoyang, executive president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, said since arriving in Wuhan on March 1, his team had been busy testing stem cell therapy to calm the overreacting immune system and repair the lung tissue of severe and critically ill patients.

In the 46 days that followed, Hu and his team traveled to 13 hospitals and screened over 650 candidate patients for this innovative treatment. At a news briefing on April 16, Sun Yanrong, deputy director of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development, said over 200 patients in Wuhan had received stem cell therapy, and current results show the treatment can improve the recovery rate of severely ill patients and is generally safe.

However, stem cell therapy is far from perfect. Stem cells can differentiate into various types of cells, and some might turn cancerous, according to the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Some stem cells are also difficult to isolate and cultivate in large quantities, so more research and testing are also needed.

"Labs are our bastions, and our scientific research is the weapon against the epidemic," Hu said.

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Repurposed drugs may help scientists fight the new coronavirus – Science News

Posted: March 14, 2020 at 7:45 am

As the new coronavirus makes its way around the world, doctors and researchers are searching for drugs to treat the ill and stop the spread of the disease, which has already killed more than 3,800 people since its introduction in Wuhan, China, in December.

The culprit virus is in the same family as the coronavirusesthat caused two other outbreaks, severe acute respiratory syndrome and MiddleEast respiratory syndrome. But the new coronavirus may be more infectious. Inearly March, the number of confirmed cases of the new disease, called COVID-19,had exceeded 100,000, far surpassing the more than 10,600 combined total casesof SARS and MERS.

Health officials are mainly relying on quarantines to try tocontain the virus spread. Such low-tech public health measures were effectiveat stopping SARS in 2004, Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. NationalInstitute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said January 29 in Arlington,Va., at the annual American Society for Microbiologys Biothreats meeting.

But stopping the new virus may require a more aggressive approach. In China alone, about 300 clinical trials are in the works to treat sick patients with standard antiviral therapies, such as interferons, as well as stem cells, traditional Chinese medicines including acupuncture, and blood plasma from people who have already recovered from the virus.

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Researchers are not stopping there. They also are working to develop drugs to treat infections and vaccines to prevent them (SN: 3/14/20, p. 6). But creating therapies against new diseases often takes years, if not decades. With this new coronavirus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, nobody wants to wait that long. Thanks to their experience developing treatments against the MERS coronavirus, as well as other diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis C, influenza, Ebola and malaria, researchers are moving quickly to see what they can borrow to help patients sooner.

Finding new uses for old drugs is a good strategy,especially when racing to fight a fast-moving disease for which there is notreatment, says Karla Satchell, a microbiologist and immunologist atNorthwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Repurposing drugs is absolutely the best thing that could happen right now, Satchell says. Potentially, drugs that combat HIV or hepatitis C might be able to put the new coronavirus in check, too. Those drugs exist. Theyve been produced. Theyve been tested in patients, she says. Although these drugs arent approved to treat the new coronavirus disease, theyre a great place to start. One of the most promising candidates, however, hasnt yet been approved for any disease.

Scientists have been quick to reveal the new coronavirussecrets. When SARS emerged in 2002, researchers took about five months to get acomplete picture of the viruss genetic makeup, or genome. With the new virus,Chinese health officials first reported a cluster of mysterious pneumonia casesin Wuhan to the World Health Organization on December 31. By January 10, thenew coronaviruss full genome was made available to researchers worldwide inpublic databases.

A viruss genome is one of the most valuable toolsscientists have for understanding where the pathogen came from, how it worksand how to fight it. The first thing that coronaviruses have in common is thattheir genetic material is RNA, a chemical cousin to DNA.

Researchers immediately began comparing the newcoronaviruss genome with SARS and MERS viruses and other RNA viruses todetermine whether drugs developed to combat those disease-causing organismswould work against the new threat. As a result, some potential Achilles heelsof SARS-CoV-2 have already come to light.

One target is the viruss main protein-cutting enzyme,called M protease. RNA viruses often make one long string of proteins thatlater get cut into individual proteins to form various parts of the virus. Inthe new coronavirus, the M protease is one of 16 proteins that are linked likebeads on a string, says Stephen Burley, an oncologist and structural biologistat Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J.

The virus can mature and infect new cells only if M proteasecan snip the string of proteins free, he says. Stop the protease from cuttingand the virus cant reproduce, or replicate.

Existing drugs might be able to stop the viruss M protease, two research groups proposed online January 29 at One group suggested four drugs, including one used to treat hepatitis C and two aimed at HIV. A second group named 10candidates, including an anti-nausea medication, an antifungal drug and some cancer-fighting drugs.

HIV and hepatitis C are both RNA viruses that need aprotease to cut proteins free from long chains. Drugs that inhibit thoseproteases can reduce levels of the HIV and hepatitis C viruses to undetectable.Some of those drugs are now being tested against the new coronavirus inclinical trials in China.

The HIV drug Kaletra, also called Aluvia, is a combination of two protease inhibitors, lopinavir and ritonavir. Kaletras maker, the global pharmaceutical company AbbVie, announced on January 26 that it is donating the drug to be tested in COVID-19 patients in China. Kaletra will be tested alone or in combination with other drugs. For instance, researchers may combine Kaletra with Arbidol, a drug that prevents some viruses from fusing with and infecting human cells. Arbidol may be tested on its own as well.

But the HIV drugs may not work against the new virus because of two differences in the proteases. The coronavirus protease cuts proteins in different spots than the HIV protease does, say Guangdi Li of the Xiangya School of Public Health of Central South University in Changsha, China, and Erik De Clercq, a pioneer in HIV therapy at KU Leuven in Belgium. Secondly, the HIV drugs were designed to fit a pocket in HIVs protease that doesnt exist in the new coronaviruss protease, the researchers reported February 10 in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery.

Yet a few anecdotal accounts suggest the HIV drugs may help people with COVID-19 recover. Doctors at Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok reported in a news briefing February 2 that they had treated a severely ill 70-year-old woman with high doses of a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir and the anti-influenza drug oseltamivir, which is sold as Tamiflu. Within 48 hours of treatment, the woman tested negative for the virus.

Her recovery may be due more to the HIV drugs than to oseltamivir. In 124 patients treated with oseltamivir at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, no effective outcomes were observed, doctors reported on February 7 in JAMA. Clinical trials in which these drugs are given to more people in carefully controlled conditions are needed to determine what to make of those isolated reports.

Researchers may be able to exploit a second weakness in thevirus: its copying process, specifically the enzymes known as RNA-dependent RNApolymerases that the virus uses to make copies of its RNA. Those enzymes areabsolutely essential, says Mark Denison, an evolutionary biologist atVanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville. If the enzyme doesntwork, you cant make new virus.

Denison and colleagues have been testing molecules that muckwith the copying machinery of RNA viruses. The molecules mimic the nucleotidesthat RNA polymerases string together to make viral genomes. Researchers havetested chemically altered versions of two RNA nucleotides adenosine andcytidine against a wide variety of RNA viruses in test tubes and in animals.The molecules get incorporated into the viral RNA and either stop it fromgrowing or they damage it by introducing mutations, Denison says.

One of the molecules that researchers are most excited aboutis an experimental drug called remdesivir. The drug is being tested in peoplewith COVID-19 because it can stop the MERS virus in the lab and in animalstudies. The drug has also been used in patients with Ebola, another RNA virus.

Remdesivir has been given to hundreds of people infected with Ebola, without causing serious side effects, but the drug hasnt been as effective as scientists had hoped, virologist Timothy Sheahan of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said January 29 at the Biothreats meeting. In a clinical trial in Congo, for example, about 53 percent of Ebola patients treated with remdesivir died, researchers reported November 27 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Thats better than the 66 percent of infected people killed in the ongoing Ebola outbreak, but other drugs in the trial were more effective.

Several tests of remdesivir in lab animals infected with MERS have researchers still hopeful when it comes to the new coronavirus. In studies in both rhesus macaques and mice, remdesivir protected animals from lung damage whether the drug was given before or after infection. Molecular pathologist Emmie de Wit of NIAIDs Laboratory of Virology in Hamilton, Mont., and colleagues reported the monkey results February 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Remdesivir appears to be one of the most promisingantiviral treatments tested in a nonhuman primate model to date, the teamwrote. The results also suggest remdesivir given before infection might helpprotect health care workers and family members of infected people from gettingsevere forms of the disease, Sheahan says.

Denison, Sheahan and colleagues tested remdesivir on infected human lung cells in the lab and in mice infected with MERS. Remdesivir was more potent at stopping the MERS virus than HIV drugs and interferon-beta, the researchers reported January 10 in Nature Communications.

But the question is still open about whether remdesivir canstop the new coronavirus.

In lab tests, it can. Both remdesivir and the antimalaria drug chloroquine inhibited the new viruss ability to infect and grow in monkey cells, virologist Manli Wang of the Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and colleagues reported February 4 in Cell Research. Remdesivir also stopped the virus from growing in human cells. Chloroquine can block infections by interfering with the ability of some viruses including coronaviruses to enter cells. Wang and colleagues found that the drug could also limit growth of the new coronavirus if given after entry. Chloroquine also may help the immune system fight the virus without the kind of overreaction that can lead to organ failure, the researchers propose.

In China, remdesivir is already being tested in patients. And NIAID announced February 25 that it had launched a clinical trial of remdesivir at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. The first enrolled patient was an American evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan that had been quarantined in February because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Ultimately, nearly 400 sick people at 50 centers around theworld will participate in the NIAID trial, which will compare remdesivir with aplacebo. The trial may be stopped or altered to add other drugs depending onresults from the first 100 or so patients, says Andre Kalil, an infectiousdisease physician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Researchers considered many potential therapies, but basedon results from the animal and lab studies, remdesivir seemed to be the onethat was more promising, Kalil says.

In the early patient studies, figuring out when to give remdesivirto patients might not be easy, Sheahan says. Often drugs are tested on thesickest patients. For example, those in the NIAID trial must have pneumonia toparticipate. By the time someone lands in the intensive care unit withCOVID-19, it may be too late for remdesivir to combat the virus, Sheahan says.It may turn out that the drug works best earlier in the disease, before viralreplication peaks.

We dont know because it hasnt really been evaluated inpeople how remdesivir will work, or if it will work at all, Sheahan cautions.

The drug seems to have helped a 35-year-old man in Snohomish County, Wash., researchers reported January 31 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The man had the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States. He developed pneumonia, and doctors treated him with intravenous remdesivir. By the next day, he was feeling better and was taken off supplemental oxygen.

Thats just one case, and the company that makes remdesivirhas urged caution. Remdesivir is not yet licensed or approved anywhereglobally and has not been demonstrated to be safe or effective for any use,the drugs maker, biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, headquartered inFoster City, Calif., said in a statement on January 31.

But global health officials are eager to see the drug testedin people. Theres only one drug right now that we think may have realefficacy, and thats remdesivir, WHOs assistant director-general BruceAylward said during a news briefing on February 24. But researchers in Chinaare having trouble recruiting patients into remdesivir studies, partly becausethe number of cases has been waning and partly because too many trials ofless-promising candidates are being offered. We have got to start prioritizingenrollment into those things that may save lives and save them faster, Aylwardsaid.

Another strategy for combating COVID-19 involves distracting the virus with decoys. Like the SARS virus, the new virus enters human cells by latching on to a protein called ACE2. The protein studs the surface of cells in the lungs and many other organs. A protein on the surface of the new virus binds to ACE2 10 to 20 times as tightly as the SARS protein does.

Researchers at Vienna-based Apeiron Biologics announced February 26 that they would use human ACE2 protein in a clinical trial against the new coronavirus. When released into the body, the extra ACE2 acts as a decoy, glomming on to the virus, preventing it from getting into cells.

ACE2 isnt just a viruss doorway to infection. Normally, it helps protect the lungs against damage, says Josef Penninger, an immunologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and a cofounder of Apeiron. Penninger and colleagues reported the proteins protective qualities, based on studies with mice, in Nature in 2005.

During a viral infection, the protein is drawn away from thecell surface and cant offer protection. Penninger thinks that adding in extraACE2 may help shield the lungs from damage caused by the virus and by immunesystem overreactions. The protein is also made in many other organs. Penningerand colleagues are testing whether the new virus can enter other tissues, whichmight be how the virus leads to multiple organ failures in severely ill people.

The decoy protein drug, called APN01, has already beenthrough Phase I and Phase II clinical testing. We know its safe, Penningersays. Now researchers just need to determine whether it works.

No one knows whether any of these approaches can help stemthe spread of COVID-19.

Right now, we need lots of people working with lots ofideas, Satchell says. Similarities between the viruses that cause SARS andCOVID-19 may mean that some drugs could work against both. There is a hopethat several small molecules that were identified as inhibitors of the SARSprotease would represent reasonable starting points for trying to make a drugfor the 2019 coronavirus, Burley says.

The open questionis, can you produce a drug that is both safe and effective quickly enough tohave an impact? SARS was stopped by traditional infection-control measures in2004, before any virus-fighting drugs made it through the development pipeline.

But had a decision been made then to spend $1 billion tomake a safe and effective drug against SARS, Burley says, such a drug might beworking now against the new coronavirus, eliminating the need to spend hundredsof billions of dollars to contain this new infection.

An investment in SARS would not have paid off for peoplewith MERS, which is still a danger in the Middle East. The MERS virus is toodifferent from SARS at the RNA level for SARS drugs to work against it.

But a future coronavirus might emerge that is similar enough to SARS and SARS-CoV-2 to be worth the cost, Burley says. Even if the current outbreak dwindles and disappears, he says, governments and companies should keep investing in drugs that can stop coronaviruses.

Im quite certain that the economic impact of the epidemic is going to run into the hundreds of billions, he says. So you would only need a 1 percent chance of something that was treatable with the drug to show up in the future to have made a good investment.

The reliable science journalism you count on is expensive. It takes professional reporters, editors, fact checkers, designers and digital producers to make sureScience Newsreflects the depth and breadth of science.We need your financial support to make it happen every contribution makes a difference.

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Biologic and Regenerative Medicine – Nebraska Orthopaedic …

Posted: September 14, 2019 at 2:47 am

Stem Cell Therapy Overview

Stem cells have the potential to reduce inflammation and provide important proteins that may promote healing. Stem cell therapy is predominantly used for conditions of the shoulders, hips and knees; however any joint or tendon can be treated using this procedure. Stem cells can also be used to help reinforce a surgical procedure because of the cells ability to assist the healing process.

Stem cells are acquired either though a patients own body or potentially from donated human tissue. At Nebraska Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, we use the patientsown(autologous) bone marrow blood or adipose (fat) tissue. Allograft tissue/fluid cells can also be used if desired and determined to be indicated for your condition.

In bone marrow aspiration, bone marrow blood is removed from the pelvis using a local anesthetic to ensure patient comfort. The aspirated bone marrow blood is then minimally processed by a licensed perfusionist using a special centrifuge to concentrate and separate the cells. The harvested cells are then injected into your target area(s) using ultrasound-guidance.

Stem Cell Therapy isnotFDA approved and isnotcovered by insurance.

We understand there are a lot of questions surrounding the practice of stem cell therapy, particularly regarding the origins of the stem cells themselves. Below is an explanation of the different types of stem cells we use:

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Stem Cell Research Project –

Posted: at 2:47 am


The Stem Cell Research Act (Neb.Rev.Stat. 71-8801 et seq) was passed during the 2008 legislative session. It established the Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee which is responsible for developing a grant process and makinggrants to Nebraska institutions or researchers to conduct stem cell research that does not use human embryonic stem cells.

The stem cellgrants are funded with state tobacco settlement dollars.

Nebraska Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee

Members of the Nebraska Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee include the dean of each medical school in Nebraska accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (Creighton University School of Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center), or their designee. In addition, four scientists from outside Nebraska, with experience in non-embryonic stem cell research funded by the National Institutes of Health, also serve on the Committee, once they are appointed by the Nebraska Legislature. Current members of the Committee include:

Stem Cell Grants

Nebraska Stem Cell Grants

Annual Reports

20142015 201620172018

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Dr. Neil Riordan, Cell Therapy Expert – RMI Clinic | Stem …

Posted: April 27, 2019 at 9:46 pm

Neil Riordan, PA, PhD is one of the early pioneers and experts in applied stem cell research. Dr. Riordan founded publicly traded company Medistem Laboratories (later Medistem Inc.) which was acquired by Intrexon in 2013.

He is the founder and chairman of Medistem Panama, Inc., a leading stem cell laboratory and research facility located in the Technology Park of the prestigious City of Knowledge in Panama City, Panama. Medistem Panama (est. 2007) is at the forefront of research on the effects of adult stem cells on the course of several chronic diseases and conditions. The stem cell laboratory at Medistem Panama is fully licensed by the Ministry of Health of Panama.

Human umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hUCT-MSCs) that were isolated and grown at Medistem Panama to create master cell banks are currently being used in the United States. These cells serve as the starting material for cellular products used in MSC clinical trials for two Duchennes muscular dystrophy patients under US FDAs designation of Investigational New Drug (IND) for single patient compassionate use. (IND 16026 DMD Single Patient) These trials are the first in the United States to use hUCT-MSCs. Translational Biosciences, a fully-owned subsidiary of Medistem Panama is currently conducting phase I/II clinical trials for multiple sclerosis, autism and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr. Riordan is founder, chairman and chief science officer of the Stem Cell Institute in Panama, which specializes in the treatment of human diseases and conditions with adult stem cells, primarily human umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Established in 2007, Stem Cell Institute is one of the oldest, most well-known and well-respected stem cell therapy clinics in the world.

He is co-founder and chief science officer of the Riordan Medical Institute (RMI). Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area city of Southlake, Texas, RMI specializes in the treatment of orthopedic conditions with autologous bone marrow-derived stem cells combined with amniotic tissue products developed by Dr. Riordan.

He is also the founder of Aidan Products, which provides health care professionals with quality nutraceuticals. Dr. Riordans team developed the product Stem-Kine, the only nutritional supplement that is clinically proven to increase the amount of circulating stem cells in the body for an extended period of time. Stem-Kine is currently sold in 35 countries.

Dr. Riordan has published more than 70 scientific articles in international peer-reviewed journals. In the stem cell arena, his colleagues and he have published more than 20 articles on multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, autism, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome. In 2007, Dr. Riordans research team was the first to discover and document the existence of mesenchymal-like stem cells in menstrual blood. For this discovery, his team was honored with the Medical Article of the Year Award from Biomed Central. Other notable journals in which Dr. Riordan has published articles include the British Journal of Cancer, Cellular Immunology, Journal of Immunotherapy, and Translational Medicine.

In addition to his scientific journal publications, Dr. Riordan has authored two books about mesenchymal stem cell therapy: Stem Cell Therapy: A Rising Tide: How Stem Cells Are Disrupting Medicine and Transforming Lives and MSC (Mesenchymal Stem Cells): Clinical Evidence Leading Medicines Next Frontier. Dr. Riordan has also written two scientific book chapters on the use of non-controversial stem cells from placenta and umbilical cord.

Dr. Riordan is an established inventor. He is the inventor or co-inventor on more than 25 patent families, including 11 issued patents. His team collaborates with a number of universities and institutions, including National Institutes of Health, Indiana University, University of California, San Diego, University of Utah, University of Western Ontario, and University of Nebraska.

He has made a number of novel discoveries in the field of cancer research since the mid-1990s when he collaborated with his father, Dr. Hugh Riordan, on the effects of high-dose intravenous vitamin C on cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment. This pioneering study on vitamin Cs preferential toxicity to cancer cells notably led to a 1997 patent for the treatment of cancer with vitamin C. In 2010, Dr. Riordan was granted an additional patent for a new cellular vaccine for cancer patients.

Neil Riordan, PA, PhD earned his Bachelor of Science at Wichita State University and graduated summa cum laude. He received his Masters degree at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Riordan completed his education by earning a Ph.D. in Health Sciences at Medical University of the Americas.

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Nebraska Farmer Back To Work After Knee Stem Cells – Dr Lox

Posted: October 31, 2018 at 4:44 pm

Nebraska Farmer Back To Work After Knee Stem Cells

3 months after having knee stem cells a Nebraska farmer has returned to tending to the daily chores of his farm. Farm life can be rigorous and the knee often takes a lot of the workload. Knee stem cells may be an option when arthritis or osteoarthritis affects the knee. Stem cells may exert many effects, including controlling the immune response and aid in repair or regeneration. Dr. Lox is an expert in stem cell treatments for arthritis and sports injuries. Often patients with advanced degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) or known commonly as arthritis may not want a total knee joint replacement. These patients may consider stem cell treatments as a viable option to knee surgery or knee joint replacement. Whether the patient is a farmer in Nebraska or a professional sports athlete all typically want the best quality of life and the highest level of functioning possible.

If youre in pain or had an injury and are looking for an alternative to surgery, contact us immediately at one of our locations. Our Main Medical Center located in Tampa Bay, Florida (727) 462-5582 or at Beverly Hills, California (310) 975-7033.

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Stem Cells & Diseases – Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving …

Posted: October 5, 2018 at 6:40 am

Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Insulin is a cellular protein that regulates glucose levels in the blood.

Type 1 diabetes is often called juvenile diabetes because it generally appears during childhood or adolescence. It develops when the bodys immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing islet cells of the pancreas, a small gland behind the stomach. As a result, the body is unable to properly utilize energy in food or control sugar levels in the blood stream.

Type 1 diabetics must endure many painful insulin injections each day in order to live and function normally and, at present, there is no cure. However, recent research indicates that a cure may be possible through transplants of pancreatic islet cells.

Type 2 diabetes usually begins as insulin resistance, a disorder in which the cells do not use insulin properly. As the need for insulin rises, the pancreas gradually loses the ability to produce it. This type of diabetes usually occurs later in life, affecting 90% of patients diagnosed with diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, physical inactivity and race/ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans, and some Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is also increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents. Current treatment includes using diabetes medicines, making wise food choices, exercising regularly, taking aspirin daily, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.

Diabetes can lead to many serious long-term health problems and early death. It can cause blindness, kidney failure and severe problems involving the gums and teeth. It can also cause nerve damage and blood flow problems that result in impaired sensation or pain in the feet or hands and amputation of limbs. One of the most serious problems caused by diabetes is heart disease. People who have diabetes are more than twice as likely to develop heart disease or a stroke as people without diabetes.

Over 18 million people in the U.S., or 6.3% of the population, have diabetes. Over one million new cases are diagnosed every year. Diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death listed on U.S. death certificates in 2000. The American Diabetes Association estimates that diabetes contributes to over 200,000 deaths annually nationwide. However, total deaths caused by diabetes are probably under-reported because it ultimately causes other health problems that may be listed as the cause of death.

In 2000, a total of 129,183 people with diabetes underwent dialysis or kidney transplantation. About 60% to 70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage. The results of such damage include slowed digestion of food in the stomach, carpal tunnel syndrome and other nerve problems.

Its estimated that diabetes costs Americans a total of $132 billion annually, including $92 billion in direct medical costs and $40 billion in costs related to disability, work loss and premature death. Diabetes accounts for one of every four Medicare dollars spent in the U.S.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 6% of adults between the ages of 18 and over 75 in our state have diabetes. The majority of adults diagnosed with diabetes are between the ages of 45 and 64 (43%) and age 65 and older (42%). Most of these older patients have Type 2 diabetes.

More than 50 years of research on adult stem cells, taken from adult tissues, has produced such lifesaving treatments as bone marrow transplants for leukaemia patients. And, adult stem cells are likely to provide additional cures for some diseases in the years ahead.

However, the new frontier in stem cell research involves early, or embryonic, stem cells (ES cells). Unlike adult stem cells, ES cells have the potential to turn into and regenerate any type of cell or tissue in the human body. As a result, ES cells could provide cures for many currently incurable or common diseases and injuries that cannot be cured with adult stem cells, or more effective treatments than adult stem cells may provide.

There are two basic sources of ES cells for such potential therapies. One source is the leftover embryos at fertility clinics that would otherwise be discarded and destroyed. ES cells can also be produced with Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT), a process that uses a patients own cells and an unfertilized human egg to make ES cells. SCNT has the added advantage of producing ES cells that will automatically match the patients genetic makeup. As a result, SCNT avoids the need to find a genetically matching donor and the problem of immune system rejection, two limitations associated with donated adult and ES cells.

Indications that ES cells could benefit diabetes patients have been provided by a number of recent studies. For example, researchers at Stanford University have successfully turned mouse ES cells into insulin-making tissue that kept diabetic mice alive.

Other research has shown that insulin-producing islet cells can be transplanted into patients with Type 1 diabetes and that such transplants could potentially provide a cure. However, the only current source of replacement islet cells is from human cadavers and not enough donated islet cells are available from this source to treat the many children and adults who have Type 1 diabetes. In addition, because donated islet cells are not a perfect genetic match with the patients DNA, patients who receive donated islet cells must take powerful drugs to prevent rejection. These drugs have severe and potentially fatal side effects and rejection often occurs despite the medication.

SCNT could help overcome these limitations and revolutionize the treatment of juvenile diabetes by providing a way to make virtually unlimited supplies of transplantable islet cells that match a patients DNA.

In the future, transplants of ES cells could also help people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes. For example, ES cells could be used to help repair tissues and organs that are damaged by effects of Type 2 diabetes and alleviate some of the health problems associated with this disease.

SCNT could also play an important role in developing future gene therapy treatments for inherited diseases like Type 1 diabetes, which develop because the patient has an abnormal or malfunctioning gene. If the gene that causes a disease can be identified, scientists could take a patients somatic cell, such as a skin cell, and replace the defective gene with a normal gene inserted using recombinant DNA techniques. The corrected cell could then be used in the SCNT procedure to generate stem cells with normally functioning genes. These could then be directed to develop into islet cells and put back into the patients body, potentially providing a cure. This technique would overcome some of the most difficult hurdles facing gene therapy today.

In addition, SCNT has given medical researchers a method of growing cells that have the defects associated with a disease in a laboratory setting. This use of SCNT provides new ways to study how a disease like diabetes progresses at the cellular level and to test the effectiveness of new drugs or other treatments that may cure or slow the progress of the disease.

The consensus of the medical and patient community is that all types of stem cell research should be pursued in the effort to find cures for diseases like diabetes, and that ES cells can play an important role in this effort.

Thats why ES cell research is strongly supported by the overwhelming majority of medical researchers; medical organizations like the American Medical Association; and disease and patient advocacy groups like the American Diabetes Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.

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Stem Cell Therapy – Nebraska Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine

Posted: July 14, 2018 at 1:45 am

We are pleased to offer our newestnatural and minimally invasivetreatment alternative for joint and tendon pain.

In this procedure, bone marrow blood is removed from the pelvis, is minimally processed, and injected into the patients problem area(s) to improve joint or tendon pain.

The patients own (autologous) stem cells and platelet-rich plasma will work to stimulate the healing process of tissue that is already present.

Please note that Stem Cell Therapy is not FDA approved and is not covered by insurance.

Nebraska Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine has decades of experience providing the latest in orthopaedic procedures. We offer the entire range of treatments from conservative to surgical. The doctors at Nebraska Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine can help you choose the best treatment for YOU. Many clinics offering stem cell treatments for orthopaedic conditions are NOT orthopaedic doctors. When considering a clinic for stem cell treatment, you need to consider a doctors training and experience. Nebraska Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine is the only orthopaedic clinic in the region offering this exciting procedure.

Patients between the ages of 18-64 who have seen a physician for their condition and have exhausted all non-surgical measures (physical therapy, NSAIDs, cortisone injections, bracing, etc.) are ideal for Stem Cell Therapy

The most common areas of treatment include the hip, knee and shoulder, but can be injected into any joint or tendon causing the patient pain. All of this is done within the clinic-setting for patient comfort and convenience.

Because this is a newer treatment, the long-term outcomes are not fully understood and no guarantees can be made regarding outcomes.

Patients can expect to feel results over 1-3 months, although in some circumstances, relief may take as long as 6-9 months.

Patients interested in Stem Cell Therapy should call (402) 488-3322 to request a consultation with Scott A. Swanson, M.D.

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