Ophthalmologists James L Funderburgh, Ph.D. and Fatima Syed-Picard, Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh have devised a method for treating corneal blindness by utilizing dental pulp stem cells. The researchers harvested the stem cells from molars discarded during routine extraction and induced the cells to differentiate into keratocytes [corneal cells]. They then seeded the cells onto a nanofiber scaffold, allowing them to grow into fully developed, functional corneas capable of restoring eyesight. Continue reading
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Sheffield have worked together to find a way to improve stem cell scaffolding through sticky spots scattered throughout the extra-cellular matrix. The improvement in scaffolding will lead to better stem cell treatments in many areas. Right now, scaffolds are being used in tandem with stem cells to grow new tracheas, teeth, cartilage, organs and much more.
Researchers at University of Miami Health System receive FDA approval for the first U.S. clinical trial using mesenchymal stem cells to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Mesenchymal stem cells are multipotent adult stem cells that can be isolated from bone marrow, teeth, and fat. Mesenchymal stem cells have demonstrated the ability to differentiate into bone, cartilage, cardiomyocites, muscle, neuronal cells, insulin producing pancreatic beta cells and more.
Advances in regenerative medicine, spearheaded by AFIRM [Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine], are restoring function to wounded soldiers. A consortium of research centers is developing techniques to grow body parts, such as ears, bones, skin and genitals. AFIRM is directing 300 million dollars to develop a broad array of regenerative treatments that will impact treatment options for both wounded soldiers and the general population. Many of the treatments are now entering the clinical [human] testing phase with the prospect of growing organs and tissue ‘on demand’ utilizing the patient’s own stem cells on the horizon. Continue reading