Scientists at Rutgers and Stanford Universities, led by Prabhas V. Moghe, created a new stem cell-based technology that may treat Parkinson’s disease. Their technology utilizes a 3D scaffold containing a tiny polymer that, compared to 2D environments, allows for the growth of stem cells in all directions. This represents a significant innovation from current stem cell applications as it creates a more accurate representation of how the stem cells are configured in the brain. Facilitating communication between the brain and the transplanted stem cells resulted in a more effective transplant.
Harvard Stem Cell Institute scientists have a potential development to improve tumor treatments using oncolytic, cancer-killing, viruses. Khalid Shah and his team turned to mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] to house the oncolytic viruses because they trigger a minimal immune response against the virus. The addition of a gel encompassing the MSCs keeps them alive longer to expedite the debulking, or removal, of the tumor. The investigators report that applying the gel-encapsulated MSCs to glioblastoma multiforme, the most common brain tumor in human adults, significantly improved survival in mice.
A collaborative investigation by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Johns Hopkins University created a cancer treatment that utilizes mesenchymal stem cells and microparticles. Both components of the treatment are engineered to specifically target and kill cancer cells.
Although scarring helps open wounds heal, the fibrous tissues associated with internal scars (and with medical devices, like Pacemakers) can be detrimental to the function of vital organs like the heart. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania developed a “scar in a dish” using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which helped them gain a better understanding of the roots of scar formation and fibrous stiffness. This work could support the developments of treatments that would replace scar tissues with normal tissue, improving function.
The potential power of regenerative medicine is gaining prominence in the mainstream media. A recent report in the Wall Street Journal depicts a future where regenerative medicine would support the repair and regeneration of human body parts and tissues via stem cells, three-dimensional printing, and applied bioengineering strategies. The emerging therapies take advantage of the special characteristics of stem cells, that is, their role as the natural repair and maintenance cells of the body and their ability to regenerate and differentiate into a variety of cell types.
In a newly published article by the Wall Street Journal, a team of Columbia and Cornell researchers led by Dr. Jeremy Mao [a member of StemSave’s Scientific Advisory Council] has developed a potential method to treat patients with torn menisci. The method involves 3D-printing a biodegradable scaffold of the meniscus, infusing it with growth factors, and implanting it into the knee. Once in the patient’s body, the growth factors should attract autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells to generate a new, natural meniscus.