The thought of regenerating lost limbs is farfetched. It’s an idea reserved for the comic book universe. Such things only happen to superheroes like Wolverine and Deadpool. Their ability to rapidly recover from injuries or regrow limbs is based off imagination, not science. Or is it? Based on a revolutionary discovery at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia, this inimitable trait may soon be available to humans, courtesy stem cell technology.
The superhero-like ability to regenerate human limbs may be closer than you think: a mere few years away. Professor J. Pimanda and his team at UNSW based their regeneration system on one similar to what you’d find in salamanders and their natural ability to repair damaged organs. This groundbreaking innovation can facilitate healing any kind of damage the body has suffered, including bone fractures.
HOW INDUCED MULTIPOTENT STEM CELLS (IMS) WERE CREATED
Taking adipose cells, or fat cells, as well as bone cells, Pimanda’s team transformed these common body cells into induced multipotent stem cells (iMS) a large step forward in making the repair system a reality.
There are different types of stem cells in the human body, though the two of note are embryonic stem (ES) cells, and adult stem cells, which are tissue-specific. During embryonic development, ES cells have the amazing ability to generate every type of human cell conceivable; adult stem cells cannot regenerate multiple tissue types. Adult stem cells are used to help repair or heal injured parts of the body in stem cell clinics, but being tissue-specific, are unable to regenerate a myriad of body cells. Embryonic stem cells can’t be used for multi-purpose regeneration despite their properties, as its growing capacity is linked to tumor formations.
Enter iMS cells. By taking bone and fat cells and switching their memory ‘off’, they can be converted into stem cells that have the capacity to repair various cell types in the body. Essentially, iMS cells have the same envious regenerative properties of ES cells, without the risk.
These manufactured iMS cells would be used in stem cell therapies, and when delivered to target locations, could theoretically repair anything from fractured bones, to tendon tears, to fragile areas like spinal discs. When the modified cells are injected and exposed to a damaged area, they’ll multiply, healing the site similar to what you’d see in salamanders re-growing their lost limbs.
WHAT’S THE FUTURE OF STEM CELL THERAPY?
The advanced stem cell technologies listed above have already been successfully tested in mice. Pimanda has already said his team expects to begin human trials in late 2017.
Other scientists and researchers are marveling at the implications this stem cell research breakthrough can have in medicine. It can treat delicate areas such as neck and back pain, spinal disc injuries, joint and muscle degeneration, and even speed up recovery times post-surgery. Spinal implants are of particular note; 20% of spinal implants suffer from delayed healing, or don’t heal at all due to difficulty aligning with adjacent bones.
The next step before human trials can begin is to confirm whether iMS cells will remain dormant at transplantation sites, and if they’ll retain the ability to multiply ‘on demand’.
While we’re a few years away from iMS cell regeneration, there’re stem cell therapies already available that can speed up healing processes in injured areas.
Severe or chronic injuries can take forever to heal, but they don’t have to. With RegenerVate’s stem cell therapy, we can inject those valuable cells into injured areas for an expedited recovery. Schedule an appointment today!
Read the full study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: http://www.pnas.org/content/113/16/E2306.abstract
“Stem cell treatments could copy way salamanders regrow limbs” http://www.scotsman.com/future-scotland/tech/stem-cell-treatment-could-copy-way-salamanders-regrow-limbs-1-4090634
“New advancement in stem cell research could have enormous potential” https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/new-advancement-in-stem-cell-research-could-have-enormous-potential-040616.html