MIT engineers have boosted stem cells’ ability to regenerate vascular tissue (such as blood vessels) by equipping them with genes that produce extra growth factors (naturally occurring compounds that stimulate tissue growth). In a study in mice, the researchers found that the stem cells successfully generated blood vessels near the site of an injury, allowing damaged tissue to survive.
Why it matters: Stem cells hold great potential as a way to promote tissue regeneration. However, this approach has been limited because stem cells don’t produce enough growth factors after transplantation. The researchers’ new super-charged stem cells could be used to
BRITISH face surgeons are to grow new skull, cheek and jaw bones on patients’ backs using their own stem cells.
The surgeons, from Barts and the London NHS Trust, hope to use the technique to help people whose facial bones have been destroyed by cancer or injury.
Four patients are awaiting the treatment, which the surgeons believe could eventually become a less risky alternative to face transplants. Two are cancer victims and two have had accidents.
The team, led by Iain Hutchison, will make the first attempt to grow replacement bone from a patient’s own stem cells in Britain.
The procedure involves constructing
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Stem cells can thrive in segments of well-vascularized tissue temporarily removed from laboratory animals, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Once the cells have nestled into the tissue’s nooks and crannies, the so-called “bioscaffold” can then be seamlessly reconnected to the animal’s circulatory system.
The new technique neatly sidesteps a fundamental stumbling block in tissue engineering: the inability to generate solid organs from stem cells in the absence of a reliable supply of blood to the interior of the developing structure.
“Efforts to use tissue engineering to generate whole organs have largely failed,” said Geoffrey Gurtner,