We are reaching the stage where miracles come true. The regeneration of body parts is finally a possibility.
Stem cell therapy is at the leading edge of modern day medical miracles that have a basis in the world of facts. A new transformation in this field may just have taken place which will revolutionize the way the medical establishment operates.
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A stem cell technique may have been found that will regenerate human tissue that has been destroyed by injury, illness or senescence.
This landmark research, led by UNSW researchers, has been published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.
This method reprograms bone and fat cells into becoming induced multipotent stem cells (IMS). Bones and muscles may be regenerated in mice via this method. The technique will be applied in human beings by the time 2017 rolls around.
“This technique is a significant advance on many of the current unproven stem cell therapies, which have shown little or no objective evidence they contribute directly to new tissue formation,” study lead author, haematologist and UNSW Associate Professor John Pimandacsaid.
“We are currently assessing whether adult human fat cells reprogrammed into iMS cells can safely repair damaged tissue in mice, with human trials expected to begin in late 2017.”
The new technique, which reprograms bone and fat cells into induced multipotent stem cells (iMS), has been successfully demonstrated in mice (Graphic: UNSW Media/Michael Whitehead).
This is not entirely a novel procedure. A bone marrow transplant is a perfect example of this principle in action. However, that is a relatively simple process. In case of stem cells, the whole procedure is far more complex.
In muscles, cartilage or organs such as the heart and brain, such a procedure is very difficult due to the low turnover of the cells. Since stem cells are so hard to use, the other cells from other sites of the body could be reprogrammed instead.
“This technique is ground-breaking because iMS cells regenerate multiple tissue types,” Associate Professor Pimanda said.
“We have taken bone and fat cells, switched off their memory and converted them into stem cells so they can repair different cell types once they are put back inside the body.”
Fat and bone cells could be transformed into induced multipotent stem cells. A culture of fat and bone cells could be made via a medicine Azacitidine and a growth factor.
The drug is employed to treat blood disorders. This new procedure is similar to how a salamander repairs many of its body parts. In 2006, a researcher showed the regeneration of induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS) in mice.
However, the only problem was that they later formed tumors in their contextual matrices. We have progressed a great deal since those days though. Induced multipotent stem cells (IMS) are made without any viral methods for gene expression.
The scientists were amazed by the ability of the induced multipotent stem cells to regenerate organs in mice in the lab. Humans could be next.
The safety and efficiency with which this procedure could be carried out in the human body remains to be seen. These cells have a lot of scope for use in repairing human tissues that have suffered at the hands of fate.
Dr Ralph Mobbs is UNSW’s Prince of Wales Clinical School Conjoint Lecturer and a Neurosurgeon. He will lead the human trials, once the safety and effectiveness of the technique using human cells in mice has been demonstrated.
“The therapy has enormous potential for treating back and neck pain, spinal disc injury, joint and muscle degeneration and could also speed up recovery following complex surgeries where bones and joints need to integrate with the body,” Dr Mobbs said.
It is already shown via a research that 20% of spinal implants either heal very slowly or don’t heal at all. And the rates spinal implants healing are even higher for smokers, aged people and diabetes or kidney patients.
“Spinal implants currently used to replace damaged or troubled discs don’t always weld with the adjacent bones, so by transplanting these reprogrammed stem cells, we hope to be able to better fuse these implants to the host bone,” Dr Mobbs said.
“This represents a potential huge leap forward for spinal and orthopaedic procedures.”
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