A stem cell therapy system capable of regenerating any human tissue damaged by injury, disease, or aging could be available within a few years, say University of New South Wales (UNSW Australia) researchers. Their new repair system*, similar to the method used by salamanders to regenerate limbs, could be used to repair everything from spinal discs to bone fractures, and could transform current treatment approaches to regenerative medicine. The UNSW-led research was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.
…* The technique involves extracting adult human fat cells and treating them with the compound 5-Azacytidine (AZA), along with platelet-derived growth factor-AB (PDGF-AB) for about two days. The cells are then treated with the growth factor alone for a further two-three weeks. AZA is known to induce cell plasticity, which is crucial for reprogramming cells. The AZA compound relaxes the hard-wiring of the cell, which is expanded by the growth factor, transforming the bone and fat cells into iMS cells. When the stem cells are inserted into the damaged tissue site, they multiply, promoting growth and healing. The new technique is similar to salamander limb regeneration, which is also dependent on the plasticity of differentiated cells, which can repair multiple tissue types, depending on which body part needs replacing.