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Welcome to The Visible Embryo, a comprehensive educational resource on human development from conception to birth.

The Visible Embryo provides visual references for changes in fetal development throughout pregnancy and can be navigated via fetal development or maternal changes.

The National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development awarded Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovative Research Grants to develop The Visible Embryo in 1993 as a first generation internet teaching tool consolidating human embryology teaching for first year medical students.

Today, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than 1 million visitors each month. The field of early embryology has grown to include the identification of the stem cell as not only critical to organogenesis in the embryo, but equally critical to organ function and repair in the adult human.

The identification and understanding of genetic malfunction, inflammatory responses, and the progression in chronic disease, begins with a grounding in primary cellular and systemic functions manifested in the study of the early embryo.


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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFemale Reproductive SystemFertilizationThe Appearance of SomitesFirst TrimesterSecond TrimesterThird TrimesterFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterDevelopmental Timeline
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December 5, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts


In the extremely premature infant, the combination of mechanical
ventilation and oxygen damages the lungs and stops development.








WHO Child Growth Charts

       

5 Big Strides Fight Lung Disease in Tiniest Patients

BPD, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, affects approximately 10,000 very premature newborns in Canada and the U.S. every year. However, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from a human umbilical cord have a protective effect when administered into neonatal lungs under specific conditions

For Ottawa scientist and neonatologist Dr. Bernard Thébaud, even a major paper that answers five significant questions still doesn't seem quite enough in his determined path to get his laboratory breakthrough into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Dr. Thébaud's proposed therapy would use stem cells from umbilical cords to treat a disease previously thought to be untreatable — bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or BPD.

"BPD is a lung disease described 45 years ago in which we have made zero progress. And now, with these cord-derived stem cells there is a true potential for a major breakthrough," says Dr. Thébaud, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and CHEO Research Institute, a neonatologist at CHEO and The Ottawa Hospital, and a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

"I am confident that we have the talent and the tools here at CHEO and OHRI to find a treatment for BPD. These findings published today are helping us get there," continues Thébaud.


BPD affects approximately 10,000 very premature
newborns in Canada and the U.S. every year.
The lungs of these infants are not developed
enough to sustain them, so they must receive oxygen
through a breathing machine.

However, this combination of mechanical ventilation
and oxygen damages the lungs and stops development.

In addition, longer stays in NICU for extremely premature
babies affects development of other parts of the body,
including the retina, the kidneys and the brain.


Today in the journal Thorax, Dr. Thébaud's team provides significant findings in experiments with newborn rats given oxygen. The lung development of a newborn rat mimics that of a premature baby born at 24 weeks.


The five major findings reported are:

1. Stem cells called mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) from a human umbilical cord (not from the blood) have a protective effect on the lungs when injected into the lungs as they were put on oxygen.

2. MSCs had a reparative effect when injected two weeks after being on oxygen.

3. When conditioned media — a cell-free substance produced by MSCs — was administered instead of MSCs, it was found to have the same protective and reparative effects as the stem cells.

4. When examined after six months (the equivalent of 40 human years), treated animals had better exercise performance and persistent benefit in lung structure.

5. MSCs did not adversely affect the long-term health of normal rats.


One of the concerns about stem cells is that by promoting cell growth, they may cause cancerous growth. To address this question, Dr. Thébaud gave MSCs to a control group that was not treated with oxygen. When examined after six months, these animals were normal and healthy.

Within two years, Dr. Thébaud wants to be talking about a pilot study with 20 human patients showing that this stem-cell therapy is feasible and safe, and in four years he wants to embark on a randomized control trial. These are all steps in his profound desire to help the babies he sees in the NICU with BPD, and he is confident a treatment will be developed.

"It's going to happen here in Ottawa, and for babies worldwide," says Dr. Thébaud.

The full article "Short, Long-term and Paracrine Effect of Human Umbilical Cord-derived Stem Cells in Lung Injury Prevention and Repair in Experimental BPD" was published online first by Thorax on December 4, 2012. This work was a collaborative project with a group in Milano, Italy.

Funding for this study was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Maternal-Fetal Neonatal Training Program sponsored by CIHR's Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health, the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research/Alberta Innovates Health Solutions, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation, the 6FP EU Project – THERCORD and the 7FP EU Project – CASCADE and REBORNE.

About the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the university's Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. OHRI includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. www.ohri.ca.

About the CHEO Research Institute Established in 1984, the CHEO Research Institute coordinates the research activities of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and is one of the institutes associated with the University of Ottawa teaching hospitals. The Research Institute brings together health professionals from within CHEO to share their efforts in solving pediatric health problems. It also promotes collaborative research outside the hospital with partners from the immediate community, industry and the international scientific world. For more information, please visit www.cheori.org.

About the University of Ottawa The University of Ottawa is committed to research excellence and encourages an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge creation, which attracts the best academic talent from across Canada and around the world. It is an important stakeholder in the National Capital Region's economic development.

Original article:http://www.ohri.ca/newsroom/newsstory.asp?ID=330