Article: Mesenchymal Stem Cells Regenerative Medicine at Its Best

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Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Regenerative Medicine at its best.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs): Regenerating the liver

One of the most promising and life-saving therapies being developed today is the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to regenerate human tissue. As in the case of all stem cells, MSCs have a unique therapeutic potential to repair tissue because they are both multi-potent yet are highly capable of self-renewal ("MSCs," R&D Systems, 2013). They are primarily found in bone marrow but have also been isolated from other parts of the body, including the blood of the fetus' umbilical cord blood, liver and lung tissue ("MSCs," R&D Systems, 2013). MSCs can be grown so they regenerate into many different cell types, making them extremely flexible and for use in medical therapies ("MSCs," R&D Systems, 2013).

One example of a therapy deploying the flexibility of MCSs to great effect is a developing treatment for liver failure, currently being tested upon mice. MCSs were used to create liver 'buds.' These transplanted buds, when transplanted in the mice, worked in conjunction with the mice's other organs and secreted human liver-specific proteins. "They also created human metabolites, tiny molecules that are produced when the body metabolizes a substance" ("Researchers create miniature human liver out of stem cells," CBS, 2013). Liver failure has resulted in a transplant waiting list of more than 16,500 on an annual basis but only 6,256 people were able to receive a liver transplant in 2012. The hope is that these buds could be used to repair and restore the function of human livers ("Researchers create miniature human liver out of stem cells," CBS, 2013).

After being transplanted, the liver cells in the experiment grew new blood vessels, evidently regenerating themselves. "We just simply mixed three cell types and found that they unexpectedly self-organize to form a three-dimensional liver bud… After hundreds of trials, the three cells worked together and began to make three-dimensional structures" said the Japanese scientists who conducted the study ("Researchers create miniature human liver out of stem cells," CBS, 2013). The buds were implanted in the mice's brains but this would not be used in the human application of the therapy. The ideal would be to "mass-produce' human liver buds from induced stem cells for a scaled-up transplant attempt on a human patient" (Vergano 2013).

To construct an preliminary experiment determining the efficacy of this therapy would require a comparison of two groups of mice, all of which had induced liver failure (the liver failure in the mice of the original experiment was chemically induced): one of the groups would receive the treatment and the others would not, and the experimental group would be monitored for tissue regeneration (Vergano 2013). If the experimental group showed significant improvement compared with the control group, this would establish that the therapy had some validity. The observable positive result supporting the therapy would be revascularization of the liver in the experimental group vs. A failure of the liver to show improvement in the experimental… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Mesenchymal Stem Cells Regenerative Medicine at Its Best."  Essaytown.com.  July 7, 2013.  Accessed August 22, 2019.
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