Researchers from Harvard University have developed a new growth medium which facilitates the transfer of intact stem cell sheets. Stem cell transplantation is most effective as a coherent surface, rather than a matrix of freely floating cells. Previous attempts to release intact cell sheets have relied on thermal denaturation, which affect transplant efficiency. Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS) circumvent this problem by reversibly inducing slipperiness in a cell culture.
A group of international scientists led by Dr. Macchiarini, professor of regenerative medicine at Karolinska Institute, has successfully engineered diaphragm tissue in animal models using a mixture of stem cells and 3D scaffolds. When the cells are transplanted, they demonstrate the same complex mechanical properties as diaphragm muscle. This offers hope for common birth defects and possible future heart muscle repairs.
Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have developed a gene therapy utilizing stem cells, which restores immunity to patients with SCID-X1, also referred to as “Bubble Boy” disease. This genetic disorder prevents immune cells from developing properly, leaving patients prone to potentially fatal infections.