Research being presented today (10 April) at the UK National Stem Cell Network Annual Science Meeting in Edinburgh represents a step towards the use of Adult Stem Cells (ASCs) to repair damaged tissue. Speaking at the conference in Edinburgh, Professor Cay Kielty of the University of Manchester describes how she and her team have uncovered a messaging system that instructs ASCs to contribute to tissue repair in response to chemical signals in the body. This work, funded by the Medical Research Council, holds great hope for the development of techniques by which ASCs could be instructed to repair damaged tissues.
ASCs have potential for therapeutic use and avoid many of the ethical issues associated with embryonic stem cells. However, at present it is necessary to gain a better understanding of how, from first principles, ASCs can be controlled based on signalling systems that normally give instructions within the body. There is the potential in the future to apply such understanding to the generation of cells for transplant.
Professor Kieltys team study stem cells that are found in human bone marrow called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs have the ability to relocate and develop into several different types of cells and tissue and are very promising as a source of cells for transplant in tissue repair. As well as offering the potential for bespoke treatments derived from a persons own cells, MSCs are unlikely to trigger a severe immune response, and may be suitable for off-the-shelf treatments for tissue repair. This research focuses on the details of a messaging system that leads to the development of blood vessels from MSCs in the body. This system is called PDGF receptor signalling.
In PDGF receptor signalling, receptors on the surface of the MSCs receive messages in the form of molecules that are involved in directing human growth and development growth factors. It has been found that there is a complex messaging s
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Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council