Posted on Jan 21, 2009, 4 p.m.
Scientists uncover techniques to boost the release of stem cells, accelerating the body's natural repair mechanisms to potentially help repair bone or heart damage more quickly.
As reported in the journal, Cell Stem Cell, researchers from Imperial College London have identified critical molecular pathways that may boost the quantity of stem cells released from bone marrow, potentially helping heal heart or bone damage faster and more completely. Initial studies found that the bone marrow of treated mice released 100 times as many stem cells â€“ the key to regenerating tissue.
“We hope that by releasing extra stem cells, as we were able to do in mice in our study, we could potentially call up extra numbers of whichever stem cells the body needs in order to boost its ability to mend itself and accelerate the repair process,” notes Imperial College London Researcher, Dr. Sara Rankin.
Scientists have already developed techniques to increase the production of stem cells from bone marrow. However, this study concentrated on two other types of cells: endothelial and mesenchymal. The mice were given a “growth factor” drug, which occurs naturally in bone marrow, followed by a second drug called Mozobil. The researchers found that both endothelial and mesenchymal cells were released at a much faster rate. Determining if the extra stem cells have a practical application â€“ for example, being able to quickly and fully repair damage caused by a heart attack â€“ is the next step. Human trials may be able to begin within 10 years.
News Release: Body repair â€˜could be ramped up' BBC News January 9, 2009