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Stem Cells Could Prove Effective in Treating Brittle Bone Disease
Date:1/14/2014

Durham, NC (PRWEB) January 14, 2014

A new study released in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine indicates that stem cells can be effective in treating a debilitating and sometimes lethal genetic disorder called brittle bone disease.

Brittle bone disease, or osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), is characterized by fragile bones causing some patients to suffer hundreds of fractures over the course of a lifetime. In addition, according to the OI Foundation, other symptoms include muscle weakness, hearing loss, fatigue, joint laxity, curved bones, scoliosis, brittle teeth and short stature. Restrictive pulmonary disease occurs in the more severe cases. Currently there is no cure.

OI can be detected prenatally by ultrasound. In the study reported on in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, an international team of researchers treated two patients for the disease using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) while the infants were still in the womb, followed by stem cell “boosts” after they were born.

“We had previously reported on the prenatal transplantation for the patient with OI type III, which is the most severe form in children who survive the neonatal period,” said Cecilia Götherström, Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institutet and
Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. She and Jerry Chan, M.D., Ph.D., of the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and National University of Singapore, and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, led the study that also included colleagues from the United States, Canada, Taiwan and Australia.

“The first eight years after the prenatal transplant, our patient did well and grew at an acceptable rate. However, she then began to experience multiple complications, including fractures, scoliosis and reduction in growth, so the decision was made to give her another MSC infusion. In the two years since, she has not suffered any more fractures and improved her growth.”

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