Stem cell protocol needs no bone marrow

Stem cell protocol needs no bone marrow

U. QUEENSLAND (AUS) — Scientists have developed a world-first method for producing adult stem cells—findings that could help patients with a range of serious diseases.

As reported in the journal STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, the research reveals a new method to create mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which can be used to repair bone and potentially other organs.

"We used a small molecule to induce embryonic stem cells over a 10 day period, which is much faster than other studies reported in the literature," says study leader Nicholas Frisk, a professor with the University of Queensland Clinical Research Centre."The technique also worked on their less contentious counterparts, induced pluripotent stem cells.

"To make the pluripotent mature stem cells useful in the clinic, they have to be told what type of cell they need to become (pre-differentiated), before being administered to an injured organ, or otherwise they could form tumors.

"Because only small numbers of MSCs exist in the bone marrow and harvesting bone marrow from a healthy donor is an invasive procedure, the ability to make our own MSCs in large number in the laboratory is an exciting step in the future widespread clinical use of MSCs.

"We were able to show these new forms of stem cells exhibited all the characteristics of bone marrow stem cells and we are currently examining their bone repair capability."

Ernst Wolvetang, a co-investigator and associate professor at University of Queensland's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, says the new protocol had overcome a significant barrier in the translation of stem cell-based therapy.