Mayo Clinic at the Forefront of Stem Cell Medical Revolution

Dr. Daniel Spoon printing Heart Valves on a 3D Printer

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.

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Rare Genetic Diseases Cured with Stem Cells

Translational Genomics schematic: therapy gene inserted into lentiviral vector, replaces defective gene in blood stem cells, stem cells infused with patient's blood where they expand

Recently, researchers utilized stem cells to successfully treat six children with rare genetic diseases. Three of the children were born with Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD), a hereditary neurodegenerative disease. The other three children were born with Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome (WAS), a hereditary immune system disorder.

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