Researchers in the Departments of Biology and Physics at York, working with colleagues at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, have identified individual stem cells that can regenerate tissue, cartilage and bone.
The stem cells are mixed within human bone marrow stromal cells (MSCs) but are similar in appearance and previously, scientists had difficulty in distinguishing between them. The York researchers isolated individual MSCs and analysed their different properties. This allowed researchers to identify those stem cells which are capable of repairing damaged cartilage or joint tissue opening the way for improved treatment for arthritis.
The York team also isolated a rare subset of stem cells in bone marrow that while having no capability for tissue repair appeared to have a prominent role in immune function.
Dr Paul Genever, who led the research at York, said: “While stem cell therapy is an exciting new development for the treatment for osteoarthritis, up to now it has been something of a lottery because we did not know the precise properties of each of the cells.
“This project has helped us to establish which cells are good at regenerating tissue, cartilage and bone respectively. It will help in the search to develop more targeted therapies for arthritis patients.” To read the full article click here.