Stem Cell Cultivation Technique May Lead to Powerful New Treatments

New culturing method leads to highly therapeutic cells that grow faster and stronger.

New culturing method leads to highly therapeutic cells that grow faster and stronger.

A new technique for developing stem cell therapies may lead to promising new treatments for transplant patients.

A study published in the journal Stem Cells found a new method for culturing stem cells caused highly therapeutic cells to grow faster and stronger.

"Adult mesenchymal stem cells, which can be obtained from many tissues in the body including bone marrow, are fascinating scientists around the world because of their therapeutic nature and ability to cultivate quickly,” said lead author Kisha Sivanathan, a PhD student in the University of Adelaide School of Medicine and the Renal Transplant Unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. “These stem cells have been used for the treatment of many inflammatory diseases but we are always looking for ways in which to increase stem cells' potency."

The study is the first to examine the interaction between mesenchymal stem cells and IL-17, a powerful protein that occurs naturally in the body during times of severe inflammation, which can be found during transplant rejection.

The researchers found that cultured mesenchymal stem cells treated with IL-17 grow twice as quickly as untreated stem cells. Additionally, the treated stem cells were found to be more efficient at regulating immune response.

"Current drugs used to help prevent a patient rejecting a transplant suppress the whole immune system and can cause severe side effects, like cancer. However, stem cell therapy (used in conjunction with immunosuppressant drugs) helps patients 'accept' transplants while repairing damaged tissue in the body, resulting in less side effects," Sivanathan said. "We are yet to undertake clinical trials on the IL-17 treated stem cells but we anticipate that because this treatment produces more potent stem cells, they will be more effective than the untreated stem cells.”