As we know, stem cells are known to have almost magical healing properties. There are three known areas of extraction for stem cells, mainly – bone marrow (which is where actual harvesting occurs, as a hole is drilled into the bone to extract the cells), adipose tissue (extraction occurs through liposuction) and blood (extracted by a process known as apheresis, where a donor’s blood is passed through a machine that extracts stem cells, and returns the blood to the donor).
Stem cells can also be extracted from the umbilical cord at the time of giving birth – a process that is now growing in popularity among an increasing number of mothers all over the world. Adult stem cells, which are found in the bone marrow, are used in the treatment of several conditions, including liver cirrhosis, orthopedic therapies, spinal cord injuries, ischemia and even heart failure.
Of the three methods of extraction, bone marrow harvesting is the most invasive procedure. However, scientists have now discovered a less-invasive technique to extract bone marrow cells for transplants.
“The method combines a newly-discovered molecule (known as BOP), with an existing type of molecule (AMD3100) to mobilise the stem cells found in bone marrow out into the blood stream.
Combining the two molecules has a direct impact on stem cells, allowing them to be seen in the blood stream within an hour of a single dose. The current treatment requires the patient to have growth factor injections for several days leading up to the procedure.” – sbs.com.au:
Growth factor injections are known to have side effects that include bone pain and enlargement of the spleen.
Though the study has only been successful on mice, researchers at CISRO and the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash are all set to embark on the first phase of clinical trials soon.