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Scientists call up stem cell troops to repair the body using new drug combinations
Date:1/8/2009

is attacked by its own immune system, by kicking the mesenchymal stem cells into action. These stem cells are able to suppress the immune system.

Dr Sara Rankin, the corresponding author of the study from the National Heart & Lung Institute at Imperial College London, said: "The body repairs itself all the time. We know that the skin heals over when we cut ourselves and, similarly, inside the body there are stem cells patrolling around and carrying out repair where it's needed. However, when the damage is severe, there are limits to what the body can do of its own accord.

"We hope that by releasing extra stem cells, as we were able to do in mice in our new study, we could potentially call up extra numbers of whichever stem cells the body needs, in order to boost its ability to mend itself and accelerate the repair process. Further down the line, our work could lead to new treatments to fight various diseases and injuries which work by mobilising a person's own stem cells from within," added Dr Rankin.

The scientists reached their conclusions after treating healthy mice with one of two different 'growth factors' proteins that occur naturally in the bone marrow called VEGF and G-CSF. Following this treatment, the mice were given a new drug called Mozobil.

The researchers found that the bone marrow released around 100 times as many endothelial and mesenchymal stem cells into the bloodstream when the mice were treated with VEGF and Mozobil, compared with mice that received no treatment. Treating the mice with G-CSF and Mozobil mobilised the haematopoietic stem cells this treatment is already used in bone marrow transplantation.

The researchers now want to investigate whether releasing repair stem cells into the blood really does accelerate the rate and degree of tissue regeneration in mice that have had a heart attack. Depending on the outcome of this work, they hope to conduct clinical trials of the new drug combin
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Contact: Laura Gallagher
l.gallagher@imperial.ac.uk
44-020-759-48432
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

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