We often hear about the next big thing in stem cell therapy, though few of these promises eventuate or are backed up by evidence.
Well, we think we’re close to a genuine breakthrough in stem cell therapy,based on new research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
We have developed a stem cell technique capable of regenerating any human tissue damaged by injury, disease or aging. The new technique, which reprograms bone and fat cells into induced multipotent stem cells (iMS), has successfully repaired bones and muscles in mice. Human trials are set to begin next year.
How the technique works
Injecting stem cells to repair damaged tissue is not a new concept. Every time someone receives a bone marrow transplant, they have in fact received blood stem cells to rescue their blood production.
But bone marrow is easy to extract and blood is constantly replaced. Therefore, blood stem cells are relatively easy to source.
This is not the case if you need stem cells to repair damage to muscles, cartilage or organs such as the heart and brain. These stem cells are not easy to extract and their turnover is low.