Using Stem Cells In Completing The Cell Repair System
Current medical methods we have today for treating spinal cord and bone injuries are still not truly effective. There have been multiple reports that the spinal implants either do not heal properly or they’re just outright rejected by the patient’s body.
It seems that there is a missing link to this and some scientists might have found the answer: Stem Cells. As we know, stem cells hold a lot of promise. Because of their ability to proliferate and differentiate, they can fix any damage that is done to our bodies, at least, theoretically.
A team of scientists from the University of New South Wales, Australia, might have found the key to the complete cell repair system that will one day prove to be helpful in coming up with more effective treatment methods.
Adult stem cells are abundantly found in our bodies and their use holds no ethical implications compared to embryonic stem cells. The main problem that is holding back the adult stem cells is it doesn’t have the ability to differentiate into any other type of stem cells, as it is only limited to morphing into the cells where they came from.
However, the team led by UNSW Associate Professor John Pimanda said that they’ve come up with a technique that converts adult fat and stem cells into what is known as the Induced Multipotent Stem Cells or the iMS.
They’ve studied mice where they acquired some of their fat and stem cells and introduced it with a compound called 5-Azacytidine or AZA. It is also given some growth factor known as the PDGF-AB or the Platelet-derived growth factor-AB.
With this combination, the iMS was formed. These stem cells have the ability that is similar to pluripotent stem cells in that they have the ability to proliferate indefinitely and they serve as a means to repair the damaged tissue in the body due to its ability to turn into specialized cells.
The AZA compound is said to induce cell plasticity which is the key to reprogramming the adult stem cells. This is because the compound is able to relax the inner workings of the cell and, when combined with the growth factor, it is able to transform the adult stem cells into what is known as the iMS.
The new stem cells are likened to the Salamander’s ability to regenerate limbs whenever it is cut from its body.
The study mainly involved rats who had incomplete limbs. By injecting the iMS, it was found that only after a few weeks, some of the missing limbs were able to grow back normally as they should.
What Does This Mean to Us?
The study presents an interesting finding that suggests that by creating Induced Multipotent Stem Cells from adult stem cells, we might be able to regenerate bones and other limbs in the body similar to what salamanders can do.
Although the study has only been conducted in mice, Pimanda said that they will be starting clinical trials “very soon”.