Studies on stem cells began at the Butantan Institute (Brazil) in 2004 by researcher Prof. Dr. Irina Kerkis.
A Profa. Dra. Irina Kerkis has:
- Graduation in Biology and Chemistry from the Federal University of Tomsk (1978),
- Master degree in Biology and Chemistry from the Federal University of Tomsk (1981)
- PhD in Cytogenetics from the Institute of Cytology and Genetics (1989).
- Taught Biological Sciences at the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1994.
Since 2004 she has been the director of the Genetics Laboratory at the Butantan Institute and CNPQ level VI researcher.
Prof. Irina and her research group have extensive experience in the field of obtaining, characterizing and producing on a large scale various types of mesenchymal stem cells.
Her current focus is translational medicine using immature human dental pulp stem cells in neurodegenerative and hematopoietic diseases.
She has published more than 110 scientific articles, 20 book chapters and has produced five patents, three of which have already been granted.
In 2008, the research group of Prof. Dr. Irina Kerkis published important data on muscular dystrophy: Golden retriever muscular dystrophy (GRMD) represents the best animal model available for therapeutic studies aimed at treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), an inherited, lethal and degenerative disease.
This study concluded that: Systemic (intravenous) administration of mesenchymal stem cells is effective for the treatment of this type of disease because the beneficial effects observed in animals are believed to have probably occurred due to the immunomodulatory effects of the cells, in addition to their ability to regeneration and differentiation. The animal receiving monthly intravenous injections remained clinically stable after 25 months of age, which is relatively rare due to the pre-existing pathology, remaining healthy until the moment (6 years of age - time of publication), with no signs of tumor formation, according to the researchers' report.
In 2011, the research group of Prof. Dr. Irina Kerkis published important data on Spinal Cord Injury:
In this study, the effects of mesenchymal cells (HDPCs) in a mouse model of compressive spinal injury (CSI) were evaluated. The cells were transplanted 7 days or 28 days after the injury, in order to compare recovery when treatment is applied in a sub-acute or chronic phase.
This study concluded that: Animals receiving HDPC transplants showed better spinal cord preservation than the DMEM (control) groups, higher levels of trophic factor expression in the tissue, better organization of neurons and the presence of many axons myelinated by Schwann cells or oligodendrocytes, in addition to the presence of some intact neurons with healthy appearance. The animals receiving the therapy showed an improvement in the locomotor functional capacity. Thus, based on these findings, the group suggests that HDPCs are possible candidates for Central Nervous System disorders in Humans.
Further Pre-Clinical Data (Multiple Sclerosis Model)
The results of veterinary therapeutic efficacy in canine distemper virus in dogs (= 20), a demyelination model similar to the etiology of multiple sclerosis: >90% of animals demonstrated partial recovery after the third transplant.
Dog Tim Tim before treatment
Dog Tim Tim after treatment
Allogeneic canine HDPSC transplantation provides complete and stable recovery in neurological and motor function in dogs with ENCEPHALOMYELITIS.
RESULTS OF HDPSC TRANSPLANTATION IN A PRECLINICAL MODEL OF HUNTINGTON'S DISEASE INDUCED BY 3-NP (NITROPROPIONIC ACID)
Striatum: Expression of DARPP32 in 3-NP-induced rats after HDPSC transplantation (IVT) with 3-NP after HDPSC transplantation (IVT)
BIODISTRIBUTION OF HDPSCs IN HUNTINGTON'S DISEASE MODEL INDUCED WITH 3-NP (AFTER 30 DAYS)
HDPSCs IN THE NEURONAL NICHE
HDPSCs IN THE STRIATUM
HDPSCs IN THE CEREBRAL CORTEX
HUMAN ANTI-NUCLEOUS SPECIFIC ANTIBODY
HUMAN ANTI-NUCLEOUS SPECIFIC ANTIBODY
BIODISTRIBUTION STUDY CARRIED OUT IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ALBERT EINSTEIN'S PRE-CLINICAL TESTING LABORATORY
Animal; 4 hours; 24 hours; 3 days; 7 days; 30 days
Induction, 10e6, 6 weeks, n=5