07 October 2010

Adults, ageless

Adult stem cells that don't age
LifeSciencesToday based on ScienceDaily: Adult Stem Cells That Do Not AgeScientists at the University of Buffalo have created new cell lines called universal mesenchymal stem cells ("MSC Universal"), genetically modifying mesenchymal stem cells located in the bone marrow, capable of differentiating into skin cells, cartilage, muscles, as well as beta cells of the pancreas and adipose tissue cells.

The researchers say their work overcomes a major obstacle to progress in regenerative medicine: the difficulty of growing adult stem cells for clinical use.

Since mesenchymal stem cells in laboratory cultures have a limited life span, scientists and doctors using them in research and for treatment must constantly receive fresh samples from bone marrow donors – a process both expensive and time-consuming. In addition, mesenchymal stem cells taken from different donors may differ in their properties.

The cells modified by the researchers do not show signs of aging in culture, but apparently function like ordinary mesenchymal stem cells – including confirmation of a positive therapeutic effect on heart disease in animal models. Despite their ability to proliferate in the laboratory, when tested on animals, universal MSCs do not form tumors.

"Our stem cell research contributes to the advancement of their application," says Techung Lee, PhD, associate professor of Biochemistry and biomedical Engineering at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at UB, respectively, the project manager. "If we want to make stem cell treatment real and affordable, we need to overcome several obstacles. Part of the problem in our healthcare industry is that the cost of treatment is too high. Obtaining stem cells is very expensive. Our cells grow continuously in the laboratory, which reduces their cost."

Stem cells help repair damaged tissue, primarily through the release of growth factors that stimulate the functioning and growth of body cells.

Lee's work shows that this property makes it possible to restore damaged tissue by injecting stem cells into skeletal muscle, which is a less invasive procedure than injecting them directly into an organ that requires restoration. In a model of rats with heart failure, Li and his collaborators showed that intramuscular injection of mesenchymal stem cells improves the function of the heart chambers and reduces the formation of scar tissue.

Lee's group has created two lines of universal MSCs – human and pig. Using engineering methods developed by him and his colleagues, he can create a line from any donor sample of mesenchymal stem cells. "I believe that if such cells are widely used in the future, it is possible to create lines for each ethnic group and for each gender, so that doctors have a choice," says Lee.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health of the USA and NYSTEM (New York State Stem Cell Science).

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru07.10.2010

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