Doctors from the Melbourne Stem Cell Center are using stem cells to regrow damaged knee cartilage. Over 70 patients have had their own isolated and expanded mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) injected into their own knee joints. In initial results, half of those treated at Melbourne Stem Cell Center saw a three-quarters reduction in pain and vastly improved knee function.
A group of researchers investigated the effectiveness of mesenchymal stem cells for several age-related neurodegenerative disorders. The team implanted the stem cells in a group of 14 patients aged between 30 and 75, including four subjects who had completely gray hair. During their investigation, they made an unusual discovery. After six weeks of stem cell implantation, the reversal of graying hair was observed for both scalp and beard hair.
A group of researchers from Newcastle University discovered a novel way to preserve and prolong lifespans of mesenchymal stem cells. Although substantial research documents the multipurpose efficacy of mesenchymal stem cell therapy in wound healing, its adoption into mainstream healthcare has been challenging. Traditionally, adipose stem cells extracted from patients have to be handled in specialized conditions as they do not survive well outside the body. The Newcastle researchers encapsulated the stem cells in an alginate gel, prolonging the cells’ lives for up to three days in ambient temperatures and conditions. This protocol may offer a simple solution to the quagmire of transporting adipose cell cultures for treatment options.
Researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have found that age has a profound effect on the efficacy of transplanted mesenchymal stem cell therapy. A series of previous studies had shown that stem cells could repair damage done to lungs caused by pulmonary fibrosis, but those studies relied on donor cells from relatively young animals. This study examined the differences in young and old stem cells, finding substantial differences in their biological utility.
Researchers in Japan successfully used dental pulp stem cells [DPSCs] in animal models to stimulate peripheral neural regrowth and ameliorate neural losses associated with autologous nerve grafts, which can lead to diminished function and decreased sensation. The dental pulp stem cells demonstrated regeneration of more myelinated axons than in the control group, which received autologous nerve grafts or collagen.
A recent clinical trial conducted at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, England, has successfully treated seven patients suffering from the genetic disorder Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome by utilizing autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells. The therapy was an example of translational genomics, in which doctors extract autologous stem cells, correct the faulty gene that causes Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, and then implant the stem cells back into the patients to produce new, healthy cells.