Today, stem cells are rightfully perceived as the future of regenerative medicine, set to bring the marvels of science fiction into reality. But in looking ahead at all of the promise that stem cells hold for the future, it becomes easy to miss the scientific advances made to date for the millions of people around the world suffering from disease, trauma, and injury. Thus, today marks Stem Cell Awareness Day: a global celebration of stem cell research coordinated to highlight the treatments and therapies currently in development to create personalized regenerative therapies for patients. Continue reading
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic have joined the Army’s Afirm II [Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine] program. AFIRM spearheads a national consortium of advanced research centers developing regenerative medical therapies to care for and treat the injuries of severely wounded army veterans. Mayo Clinic researchers will focus on peripheral nerve regeneration. Continue reading
Mayo Clinic researchers have resynchronized a disrupted heartbeat by using stem cells. Dr. Andre Terzic, a senior author of the study explained, “By harnessing the potential of regenerative medicine – repairing the injured heart, in this case – we will be increasingly able to provide more definitive solutions to our patients”.
The Mayo Clinic, which has been involved in stem cell research and prospective therapies for two decades, reports that we are at the threshold of a medical revolution. By using the body’s own ability to repair and maintain itself, researchers will be able to treat and, in many cases cure, many of today’s most intractable medical conditions. As Dr. Brooks Edwards of the Mayo Clinic explains, “we’re not going to need to wait for a tragic accident and a young person to donate a heart or a liver or a kidney. We’re going to be regenerating those organs. So then if I’m on a transplant list … I’ll be using my cells or some kind of cell-based therapy to either strengthen my own heart, or regenerate my own heart, or even grow a new heart.” Dr. Edwards goes on to predict that solid organ transplants — say, a liver grown from a patient’s own cells — will take place within a decade.
- Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease patient
The Mayo Clinic recently announced the first stem cell based clinical trial for treating pediatric congenital heart disease in the US. The stem cell therapy seeks to treat hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a rare defect in which the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped. The treatment utilizes patient’s own [autologous] stem cells taken from the child’s umbilical cord blood.
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have introduced a new therapy using cardiogenically-instructed stem cells that can improve heart health. This is the first clinical study for the targeted regeneration of a failing organ. The Mayo Clinic study represents what we believe to be the gold standard in regenerative treatments – utilizing the patient’s own stem cells for the therapy. As a result of the use of autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells, there were no complications in any of the patients. Every patient in the stem cell treatment group improved. “The benefit to patients who received cardiopoietic stem cell therapy was significant,” said Dr. Terzic – the senior author of the study, with improvements in heart pumping function, physical performance (such as walking distance) and overall quality of life.