Women, in particular, are especially hit hard by the almost total loss of the stem cells in their bodies after 50 years of age. This has been the major causative action that leads directly to menopause. An unexpected result of BMT (bone marrow transplant) in many women has been that their periods came back, alerting us to the biological needs for their regenerative stem cells. It has been an observed fact that women age faster than men , Why with so many married couples of about the same age, women by a large percentage, appear to be years older than their husbands? Men’s stem cell pool is still functional until their 90’s, as evidenced by the fact they can still father children in advanced ages.
The making of millions upon millions of sperm. Fact: there are hundreds of thousands of stem cells in the testes. This is why many men can still procreate until their nineties.
“It’s mass production”, says Jonathan Tilley. He adds, “It’s mind boggling”. His March Journal Nature paper also claimed the existence of the adult mammalian oocyte stem cell.
“Women have less stem cells and oocytes, because they do not need the mass production; referring to the menopause condition, which he is scientifically challenging, with his discoveries. Men can lose half their stem cell pool and still make millions of sperm because they were born with so many, if women lose half their stem cell pool, that should have a huge impact on their pipelines,
Because they’re already fighting a losing battle.”
The reason this matters clinically: mature oocytes cannot replicate.
But stem cells do. Furthermore, stem cells can be efficiently frozen, unlike oocytes. When does menopause happen? At 50.
“Menopause happens at 50 because you were until recently, dead at 50.” We’ve been able to extend human life, but we’ve forgotten one very important variable. The ovary. We haven’t extended its life span. We think that menopause is a clear example of a tissue losing its stem cells support.
“The beauty of this is that it is adult stem cells. If we were able to purify these cells, it would be in the clinic tomorrow, because it is the patients own cells. They’re already putting ovarian tissue back in people, why not put their own stem cells back in?”
Tilley and his group were digging up more and more stories of women regaining their fertility after bone marrow transplants. In the literature, we found hundreds of examples where women undergoing sterilizing chemo and after their BMT have seen their ovaries regain function. Moreover, the BMT for cancer do not purify the subset of stem cells. We decided that if we transplant BM stem cells into sterilized animals, it should regenerate ovarian tissue and it did. We did it two different ways. First, we gave the mice two of the worse chemos; cyclophosphamide and busulfan. Together this blows the ovaries out. But the BM worked; new oocytes appeared. Then we wanted a mouse that was already genetically sterile; the ATM gene knockout mouse. Five different labs have shown that if you knock out the ATM; ataxia-telangiectasia-mutated gene; As soon as a germ cell enters meiosis, it dies. So females can produce no oocytes at all. We planted bone marrow cells with intact ATM genes into these females, oocytes, and follicles regrew for over a year; when these mice were in perimenopause.
“THAT SAYS SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT HAPPENED.”
Tilly adds that his post doc was chatting with a neurogenesis post doc, when the other post doc mentioned her lab had given mice busulfan and cyclophosphamide because it wanted to see if bone marrow could rescue neurons in the brain, like the peripheral blood cells that already escaped the bone marrow also worked on the sterilized mice. Tilly continues; “My lab for ten years focused on cell death, and in the last three years, I have switched my whole lab and all of my funding to stem cells.”
“If we can harvest blood from women, purify out and store
Egg-producing cells, it would revolutionize ovarian function; especially if the patient freezes them at 21 then uses them at 40. Harvesting from blood is a hell of a lot easier than harvesting from ovaries.”
By educating this new, vast potential medical market demographic, millions of women, may elect to have their stem cells, collected and frozen 10-20-30 years before they may need them. This could be a new and improved form of medical insurance. Certainly if saving cord blood from infants for future medical emergencies is a valid, time tested idea, why are we not currently banking our own PBSC’s for future medical emergencies? After all, in California alone, more than 7 million voters, approved the states new $3 billion dollar stem cell law, proves that people/voters, want/demand this new medical science now.
The ramifications went beyond ‘applications of other stem cells, because one-half of the world’s population is going to hit menopause; it’s like death and taxes; its going to come . You’re talking about a technology that will potentially allow one-half of the world’s population to make an informed decision about whether or not they want to hit menopause.” Other approaches have been unsuccessfully studied and administered, and women are currently back to square one. They are risking osteoporosis and heart failure, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease and the list goes on.