A research group at Imperial College London has designed a new treatment able to significantly improve the body’s capacity to repair damage caused by a heart attack or bone fracture. The new therapy, described in Cell Stem Cell, ‘fools’ the spinal cord inducing it to ’overproduce’ stem cells which repair damaged tissues in the body. Researchers hope to test the treatment on animals by the end of the year. If testing is successful, the next step will be to experiment on human beings attempting to induce them to use their own stem cells to regenerate damaged or infected organs.
When a person is sick or has had and accident, bone marrow releases various types of stem cells to repair and regenerate tissues. Once the stem cells reach their target tissues, such as the heart, blood vessels, bones, and cartilage, they start to regenerate. English researchers have now discovered that there is a way to stimulate bone marrow to release two types of stem cells able to repair bone, blood vessels, and cartilage.
Using a drug called ‘Mozobil’ and a natural growth factor called Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor or ‘VEGF’, it is possible to increase stem cell production 100-fold, which has very important implications. This is a process that has never been used, said Sara Rankin, coordinator of the study.
‘Let’s suppose that a person comes to the hospital after having a heart attack, this treatment allows a person to rapidly release stem cells into their blood’, she explained