NIH creates new stem cell research center

The National Institutes of Health told staffers last week that it is setting up a bone marrow-stem cell transplant center within the National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, according to an article in Wired. The NIH sees the use of adult stem cells to regenerate muscle and bone as a looming opportunity. And in part the field is being driven by the experience of veterinarians, who now regularly use stem cells to treat animals. The use of stem cells to spur muscle growth in horses, for example, has now become almost routine. A precursor procedure that uses platelet rich plasma for injuries is already in use. But it won't be easy to adapt the same methods for horses for human use.

"After a few weeks (of lab growth), it will turn into something that resembles a tendon, but it has to be the mechanical equivalent and we don't know that we're there," said NIH researcher, Rocky Tuan, about one of his stem cell projects. "Stem cells are very promising, but what they do for horses may not work so well for humans because humans are the hardest animal to rebuild."

--read the article from Wired