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Seaweed and fireflies brew may guide stem cell treatment for peripheral artery disease
Date:3/10/2009

p>To overcome rejection of the stem cells by the body's immune system in this case, rabbit immune systems they first created a novel "capsule" derived from seaweed, which was used to surround and protect the rabbit stem cells from attack by the host's immune system. Within the seaweed capsule, they added X-ray contrast agents to allow the capsules to be seen on X-ray angiography. Next, they engineered the stem cells within the capsules to produce luciferase, the same bioluminescent chemical produced by fireflies, which is highly visible under bioluminescence imaging.

"Once we were able to trick the immune system into not attacking the cells, we had to know they arrived at their destination and were living," says Kraitchman. "We could use standard X-ray angiography of blood vessels to see the transplanted cells. When they lit up like fireflies at night, we knew they were still alive."

"Hopefully, this new technology will one day pave the way for treating humans," says Frank Wacker, M.D., director of vascular interventional radiology at Hopkins and visiting professor of radiology. "We look to the day when we will be able to perform targeted delivery of stem cell to treat PAD in patients who may be facing amputation or death."


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Contact: Gary Stephenson
gstephenson@jhmi.edu
410-955-5384
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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