One of the difficulties with stem cells is that they have a limited lifespan within the laboratory setting. To keep using the stem cells in an effective way, researchers constantly have to obtain fresh stem cells from donors.
Issues in Stem Cell Supplies
This process is both time-consuming and costly, which then presents a significant barrier for moving us forward in stem cell research. Stem cells from different donors can also make the studies more challenging.
But a new experiment has led to adult stem cells being engineered that overcome this problem. These stem cells keep growing in culture. They started as mesenchymal stem cells that had been obtained from bone marrow but once engineered, the cells continued to provide a steady supply for researchers.
Such stem cells extracted from bone marrow are valuable ones that can differentiate into numerous kinds of cells in the human body. These include bone, muscle and fat stem cells, among others. From here, researchers can use the stem cells to find treatments for many devastating diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
New Stem Cells That Don’t Age
What is particularly valuable about these stem cells is that although they do not age, they still function as normal mesenchymal stem cells would in laboratory culture. This allows scientists to conduct experiments as they would with regular stem cells.
One previous concern with rapid stem cell growth was that they could form tumours. This new approach to stem cells allows them to proliferate but the stem cells do not result in tumour growth.
Expensive Medical Treatments
One of the problems in medicine today is that a treatment involving stem cells would likely be too expensive to make it accessible and sustainable. With stem cell treatments, often it requires that the stem cells be isolated. This process is usually a very expensive one.
With this recent experiment, the engineered stem cells could keep growing in the laboratory, helping to make the treatment less costly and more accessible for patients. Researchers have now applied for a patent as they continue developing the stem cell discovery.
Using Stem Cells for Health
Other research for this particular group includes finding out how the stem cells can help to heal damaged tissues. Stem cells can produce special growth factors that encourage the cells in the human body to work better. If these stem cells are injected, they can help heal abnormal tissues. These particular stem cell lines can be injected right into skeletal muscle.
The benefit here is that it is a significantly less traumatic experience on the body compared to injecting the stem cells straight into the damaged organ. For instance, in tests on rats that had heart problems, the researchers found that the stem cells could enhance functioning of the heart and also decrease the development of scar tissue in the heart.
Unlimited Stem Cell Supplies for Treatments
This stem cell innovation could mean unlimited stem cell supplies for life-saving and life-enhancing treatments. With a donor sample of the stem cells, two different kinds of stem cell lines can be created to use for many different treatments and people.
Better Stem Cell Therapies
To effectively develop treatments to disease, stem cells need to function properly while still being affordable and safe in the laboratory. This new experiment sets a higher standard for stem cell research that should make future studies into stem cell therapies much more attainable and realistic for scientists.