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.
Kisha Sivanathan, a PhD student leading a team of researchers at the University of Adelaide, Australia, identified a major breakthrough in the cultivation and application of mesenchymal stem cells [MSC]. The research group looked at the interaction between MSCs and IL-17, a naturally occurring protein that occurs in the body during immune responses. The cells treated with IL-17 not only showed faster growth rates, but prevented the risk of potential rejection of stem cell tissue transplants.