GREAT BRITAIN – Stem cells used to repair Achilles tendon. Human testing to take place soon.

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The mucous sheaths of the tendons around the a...
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It works in racehorses. Who knows if it’s possible in humans. A technique using stem cells to repair damage to the Achilles tendon is about to be tested in Great Britain.

British biotech company MedCell Bioscience has announced that it will begin human testing in the next six months and expects to perform a broad study in various European hospitals in 2011.

Patients will receive injections containing millions of their own stem cells extracted and multiplied in the lab to regenerate damaged tissue. Over 1,500 racehorses have been treated with the same procedure and the results have given researchers a reason to be optimistic. They indicate a 50% reduction in relapses in the next three years compared to conventional treatments.

“The passage from the veterinary clinic to human medicine is uncommon,” said Nicola Maffulli, an Italian orthopedic surgeon known as the ‘tendon king’, an expert in sports medicine who has been living in England for years. Maffulli will be collaborating in the human testing. “Normally testing goes the other way.” Stem cell therapy to repair damage to the Achilles tendon has become very popular in racehorses, where animals worth millions of dollars race against one another. The technique was used for the first time by surgeons at the Royal Veterinary College in London.

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