Stem cell therapy is one of the most promising treatments in the field of regenerative medicine, but it is currently hampered by limits on the number of stem cells that can be produced at once. For example, to undo the damage done in a heart attack, doctors would need access to billions of stem cells that die as soon as the heart attack occurs.
Now this problem may soon be eliminated by a new discovery made by scientists from the University of Nottingham in the U.K. They recently announced their discovery of a synthetic substrate that can be used to grow billions of stem cells at once. This “cost-effective” substrate can be used with existing lab tools and is able to be stored away for long periods of time.
According to Chris Denning, professor of stem cell biology at the University of Nottingham, doctors would need access to 10 to 15 billion stem cells to replace those that die in a heart attack, since many of the cells are likely not to survive or not to grow into heart cells. For stem cell treatments to be a viable method of treating the public health crisis of cardiovascular disease, doctors would need trillions of these cells on hand at once.
“The field of regenerative medicine has snowballed in the last five years and over the coming five years a lot more patients will be receiving stem cell treatments,” Denning told United Press International. “Clinical trials are still in the very early stages. However, with this kind of product, if we can get it commercialized and validated by the regulators, it could be helping patients in two to three years.”