Stem cells could provide unlimited donor source for transplantation and tissue generation in vitro. The application of stem cells is to restore functions in various diseases including spinal cord injury, myocardial infraction, leg Ischemia, diabetes; Parkinson’s in animal and human research studies.
“It is regenerative biology having immense therapeutic potential to treat degenerative diseases as they are not curable by modern medicine. With advanced research, the benefits of adult stem cells are becoming clearer. The long term objective of regenerative medicine or cell therapy is to treat patients with their own stem cells, stated Dr RR Bhonde, National Centre for Cell Science, Pune.
These stem cells could be derived from diseased organs like skin, liver, pancreas, or from reservoirs of multi-potent stem cells such as bone marrow or cord blood.
Initial studies of pancreatic stem cells have provided clues that these could open avenues in the treatment of diabetes. A better understanding of stem cell biology would almost certainly allow for the establishment of efficient and reliable cells transplantation experimental programmes in the clinic. By stimulating cells with specific growth factors they differentiate into new islets. In fact, newly generated islets from the pancreas have shown restoration of normal glycaemia when transplanted into experimental mice. Such pancreatic stimulation has also been reported in mammalian pancreas, stated Dr Bhonde.
The team of scientists at the National Centre for Cell Science have adopted this approach in their recent research on reversal experimental diabetes by multiple bone marrow transplantation. It suggests the potential of normal as well as diabetic bone marrow cells to induce pancreatic Regeneration on transplantation.
“These studies point towards futuristic therapeutic approach of auto transplantation of bone marrow for diabetes. Very soon the research would lead to concrete findings in treating diabetes which is affecting two million people today,” he said.
Nandita Vijay, Bangalore