Each month there are numerous new scientific journal articles in the world’s peer reviewed literature dealing with Stem Cells, Platelet Rich Plasma and regenerative medicine. This blog summarizes the main point of those that I feel are of general and Orthopaedic interest.
- Stem cell injection partially reversed diabetes in rats
- Relief of scar pain in humans resulted from fat graft with stem cells
- Stem cells plus light found to fight breast cancer in rats
1. Stem cell injection partially reversed diabetes in rats
While benefits seen in rats are often not seen in humans, this study indicates at least a potential human benefit for diabetes. In this study stem cells isolated from their adipose (fat) tissue were infused into diabetic rats. There were found to be an increase in Islets of Langerhans cells (which are what are missing in diabetes), lowering of high blood glucose, and an increase in the insulin level of these rats. A control group of diabetic rats that did not get stem cells did not see these benefits. Although many years away, such studies indicate that diabetes may one day be reversible in humans via stem cell infusions. A link to the abstract is here.
2. Relief of nerve pain from painful scars in humans found after fat grafting with stem cells
Thirteen patients with severe nerve derived scar pain had grafting of their own fat with stem cells to the painful scar. VAS scores, which rate pain on a scale of 1 (least) to 10 (most) averaged 7.5 before the fat grafts. After the grafts there was a dramatic average beneficial reduction of 4 points in the first week alone, with continued reduction of over 5 points after 24 weeks. Some patients were followed up for as long as 38 months with no return of pain. There were no complications from the procedures. This is a new application of stem cell technology in an area where there are few other answers. Nerve pain is usually treated with medications which have many side effects and implantation of nerve stimulators, which is much more invasive than the simple fat procedure used here. A link to the abstract is here.
3. Stem cells with red light found to fight breast cancer in mice
This interesting study built on known inhibitory properties of mesenchymal stem cells on breast cancer by also using so called “photodynamic” therapy. This therapy combined red light with stem cells and stem cell medium. It showed that the addition of the light therapy increased the effect of the stem cell therapy in killing breast cancer cells. While not applicable to humans at this time, this study does point out yet another avenue for anti-cancer stem cell research. A link to the abstract is here.