Australian researchers believe they are close to being able to use stem cells to regrow human bone and tissue damaged by injury, illness or old age.
The team from the University of New South Wales said the stem cell repair system works in a similar way to how a salamander is able to regrow a leg or its tail when they are removed.
UNSW Associate Professor John Pimanda said the technique uses a patient’s own cells so there is less chance of tissue rejection, and removes the ethical concerns surrounding the use of embryonic stem cells.
Associate Professor Pimanda said his team took mouse and human bone and fat cells, and converted them into “Induced multipotent stem cells”.
“What’s different about these multipotent stem cells is that once we transplanted them into areas of tissue damage, they seem to demonstrate controlled tissue repair,” he said.
“So in these particular models that we used, we damaged muscle [and] bone and the cells were regenerating the muscle, regenerating bone, they were generating their own blood supply.”
“So I think the analogy is correct in that our cells reject fat cells and we actually go back in time, we make a stem cell that has a potential of … making various sorts of tissues.”