Adult Stem Cell Awareness

January 24, 2008

A brilliant idea redux: hope for those needing transplants

Wow, while we are still waiting for that first ipsc therapy to come to be, and while we are still waiting for those promised embryonic stem cell cures, adult stem cells have done it again.

We learned earlier in the week that a rudimentary but beating heart has been generated in a University of Minnesota lab using a variety of adult stem cells from rats, which is awesome news because, if you’ll recall a previous post, while organ transplants may save lives, recipients have to contend with anti-rejection drugs with not-so-fun side effects for the rest of their lives.

Here come adult stem cells to save the day, again!  The New England Journal of Medicine reports that there may be a way to “trick” the recipient’s body into accepting an organ by transplanting bone marrow from the organ donor to the organ recipient. This has been tried before with little success. This time around, Dr. David Sachs suppressed the immune system of a soon-to-be recipient. After transplantation, the recipient was given an infusion of the kidney donor’s bone marrow, in essence creating a new immune system in the recipient.

If this isn’t real hope, what is? For more real hope for hearts, read here.

Editing to add – oops, forgot I blogged about ipsc’s as applied to sickle cell anemia – still no therapy, but probably not too far off, no?

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