Stem cells have had their share of medical research and trials done on them to find out their potential in treating anything from neurotic diseases to cancer, with companies such as Biolamina coming up with revolutionary equipment to help with this. The following are some of the most recent advances in the field in regards to therapies and regenerative medicine:
Treating brain tumours
Scientists at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute recently found a new way to fight brain cancer through the use of stem cells by injecting them with a cancer-killing version of the herpes virus, which releases toxins that eat up tumours. The technique was effective when used on mice whose cancerous growths had been removed, but had remnants still present.
Converting skin cells into brain cells
Most stem cell conversion techniques fall short when it comes to converting cells directly from one type to another. However, scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine have recently successfully used a combination of transcription factors and microRNAs to reprogram skin cells to change to a specific type of brain cells. The programme was intended to provide regenerative medicine to Huntington’s disease sufferers.
Growing a blood vessel
The technology to create new tissues from stem cells has evolved to the point where it now only takes 2 tablespoons of blood to grow a new vessel. The technique was developed by Sahlgrenska Acadedmy, with the first patient to benefit from this undergoing a transplant, with a blood vessel created by her own stem cells.
Hope for spinal cord victims
Spinal cord problems usually manifest in paralysis and disability and have few restorative options. However, researchers in Spain recently carried out stem cell experiments on rats and found that they could stimulate the regeneration of spinal cord tissue through the use of bone marrow cells.
Creation of insulin cells
Researchers at Harvard have been able to successfully transplant stem cells into the kidney of a diabetic mouse, and two weeks later, it was healed. Further tests are still being carried out before it can be done on humans.