Researchers in the United States have developed a medical model for regenerating bladders using stem cells harvested from a patient's own bone marrow. The research, published in STEM CELLS, is especially relevant for paediatric patients suffering from abnormally developed bladders, but also represents another step towards new organ replacement therapies.
The research, led by Dr Arun Sharma and Earl Cheng from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and Children's Memorial Research Center, focused on bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) taken from the patient. Previously studies into the regenerative capacity of cells in bladders have focused on animal models, but these have translated poorly in clinical settings.
"Advances in the use of bone marrow stem cells taken from the patient opens up new opportunities for exploring organ replacement therapies, especially for bladder regeneration", said senior author Sharma. "Several findings from our study have demonstrated the plasticity of stem cells derived from bone marrow which make them ideal for this type of work."
The team discovered that bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have phenotypic and physiological similarities with bladder smooth muscle cells (bSMCs) implying that MSCs can serve as an alternative cell source for potentially damaged bSMCs.
"For our research we developed a primate-based model, using the baboon bladder in conjunction with bone marrow MSCs to attempt partial bladder regeneration," said Sharma. "We found that the mesenchymal stem cells utilized throughout the study retained the ability to populate a surgically grafted area while remaining active 10 weeks after surgery."
The transplanted bone marrow cells also retained the ability to express key smooth muscle cell markers, attributes that are required for the continual expansion and contractile cycles of a functional bladder.
Currently information about the ce
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Children's Memorial Hospital