Australian researchers are claiming a major breakthrough in stem cell therapies, which could see human bones and tissues eventually regenerate in a similar style to the salamandar lizard.
The research led by the University of New South Wales in Sydney has developed a technique which reprograms bone and fat cells into stem cells which can then be used to repair anything from spinal discs to bone fractures.
[Soundbite] JOHN PIMANDA, University of New South Wales
“We aspirate fat cells and we treat these cells with two compounds, a drug called Azacytidne growth factor, and over three weeks or so, these cells convert into a cell type that we call an induced mulitipotent stem cell. When we inject these cells where we have damaged bone or damaged tissue, these iMS cells directly contribute to tissue repair.”
The researchers say the technique is a lot safer than other stem cell treatment methods, such as embryonic stem cells which have a tumor forming ability when used to regenerate tissue.
[Soundbite]VASHE CHANDRAKANTHAN, Technique developer, UNSW medical researcher
“The other problem is, when generating tissue specific stem sells, there is a need to use viruses to transform those thematic cells into tissue specific stem cells which is clinically unacceptable.”
The therapy has been touted as a game changer in treating back and neck pain, spinal disc injury, joint and muscle degradation, and speeding up the recovery following complex surgeries of bones and joints.
Human trials will begin once the safety and effectiveness of the technique using human cells in mice has been demonstrated.