Stem Cells And Regenerative Medecine

To specialize stem cells more than 350 clinical trials are underway to test tissue self-repair. The few hundred researchers gathered at the beginning of October in Marseille, at the 5th congress of the International Society of Plastic and Regenerative Surgeons, see little limit to its future applications. For its organizer Guy Magalon, a pioneer of plastic and reconstructive surgery, cell therapy “touches humanity in its flesh by promising eternal life”. Or, if not immortality, at least an increased longevity in good form. In the service of Professor Philippe Menasché at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital, of the first patient suffering from a heart attack and treated successfully. using cardiac cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. Six patients have since benefited from this technique, which uses a regenerating patch made from a fibrin “net” – a protein in the blood plasma – that can be placed as a dressing on the area injured by an infarct.

Heart Antibody

The wildest hopes of tissue regeneration were revived at the beginning of the year after the presentation, in the service of Professor Philippe Menasché at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital, of the first patient suffering from a heart attack and treated successfully. using cardiac cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. Six patients have since benefited from this technique, which uses a regenerating patch made from a fibrin “net” – a protein in the blood plasma – that can be placed as a dressing on the area injured by an infarct.

100,000 billion cells

A mosaic of 100,000 billion cells, of which there are nearly 200 different types, used to make the skin, the nervous system, blood… they do not all have the same capacities of transformation to give birth to specialized cells. Biologists must therefore sometimes give them a “helping hand”. With the help of a biocompatible support, I-Stem and the Institut de la vision have developed a patch on which embryonic stem cells are arranged in the same direction and, if they had been injected in bulk, have not been polarized, which is characteristic of the functioning of retinal cells.

Blood Antibody
Eye Antibody

The protocol has been successfully tested on blind rats, which have partially recovered sight. A clinical trial on humans could start next year, in the wake of that led by the US biotechnology company Ocata Therapeutics to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease for which it does not today there is no curative treatment.

The progress of the work on differentiation

Differentiation makes it possible to envisage other applications. ViaCyte, another American biotech, for example, is preparing a clinical trial on the use of pancreatic cells obtained from stem cells. Their particularity: they are encapsulated as a medicine to bring insulin to diabetics. With this device, the company hopes to overcome the difficulties of immune tolerance and the risk of rejection, the number one enemy of cell therapy.

Anti-Human Antibody
Lymphocyte Antibody

Stem cells in adipose

The discovery of stem cells in adipose tissue also opens new perspectives. “By simple centrifugation, we can extract what is called the” stromal vascular fraction “, which contains regenerative stem cells,” says Guy Magalon. This practitioner collected and reinjected this substance to twelve patients with scleroderma (hardening of the skin) in each of their ten fingers. In a few weeks, their manual motricity has improved significantly. A trial of 86 patients started in the United States to confirm these observations. Another was launched on 94 patients with severe osteoarthritis problems.

Growth factors that locally promote the development of the cells

Recent work suggests that the stem cells used have the ability to form new blood vessels by producing growth factors that locally promote the development of the cells making up these vessels. This property motivates work in the cardiovascular field to accelerate the repair of damaged tissue, for example after a stroke. The first clinical studies started in the United States and Korea. “In fact,” says Guy Magalon, “all the bodily components are concerned, even the cells of the nervous system and muscles.

Vascular Antibody
Cell Antibody

To a real 3D printing

A functional heart, a trachea, a bladder and a kidney have already been produced in the laboratory. Next step: the use of stem cells as “ink” 3D printers. Until now, the impression of living tissue was limited to a few hundred microns thick, the threshold beyond which the cells died asphyxiated. But a team at the Wake Forest Institute in North Carolina has found a way to print microchannels that can act like blood vessels to oxygenate the graft. The beginnings of future artificial bio-organs?

Tommy Ounas

Tommy Ounas

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