A major obstacle to successful bone marrow transplants (BMT) is rejection due to the age discrepancy of the donor and recipient, with older donors presenting problems due to the donor stem cells’ loss of efficacy with age. The older stem cells’ compromised ability to actively regenerate (given that older stem cells are less active than younger stem cells) increases the risk of age-related rejection significantly. In a groundbreaking study, researchers have discovered that the in-vitro (outside the body) introduction of young mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to aged donor hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) used for transplants resulted in the rejuvenation of the donor cells likely improving the efficacy of the transplant.
Scientists from the Institut Pasteur have developed a novel therapeutic approach to sepsis that utilizes mesenchymal stem cell transplantation to restore muscle capacity. Sepsis is a systemic inflammatory response to severe infection, impairing metabolic function across all organ systems--affecting some 28 million people and claiming 8 million victims worldwide each year. Septic shock can lead to permanent neurological and musculatory damage. Mesenchymal stem cells can be easily cultured in the laboratory and are known for their immunomodulatory properties, which makes them an excellent option for cell therapy transplants that aim to repair degenerative or traumatic lesions.