I mean the adult ones. You know, the ones that can be obtained without destroying a human life. It seems that stem cells found in bone marrow (that seems to be the most popular source for ASCs) have been very successful in treating race horse injuries.
Stem cell therapy may be controversial in human medicine but in the world of horse racing it is becoming the odds-on favorite for tackling tendon damage, which accounts for one in three racecourse injuries.
Soon the same technology could be applied to humans…
In contrast to the controversial field of embryonic stem cell research, which involves the destruction of days-old embryos, the focus in the orthopaedic area is on adult mesenchymal stem cells that are found in bone marrow.
These immature versions of normal cells can morph into different forms of tissue, such as bone, cartilage and tendon.
In the case of horses, Smith has developed a technique to extract stem cells from the animal’s own sternum and then purify and multiply them in a laboratory.
After two or three weeks they are injected back into the horse’s tendon, where they regenerate new tissue that fills up ruptures caused by excessive exercise.
Simply amazing! Similar therapies may soon be tried in humans too:
VetCell BioScience Ltd, a spin-off from the college that Smith (professor of equine orthopedics) helped set up, is already working with the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London on protocols for human clinical trials, which could start by the end of the year.
The initial aim will be to treat rotator cuff shoulder injuries, frequently sustained by baseball pitchers and other athletes involved in throwing sports. Treating damage to the Achilles tendon is another possibility.
All this without the destruction of innocent human life? Somebody alert the media! As if they would pay attention.