Little Jane asks “Daddy, where will they get the stem cells to make me better?”
Daddy’s answer now “They will get some from your bone marrow. They stick in a big needle to get it.”
Previous posts on this blog have discussed applications of adult stem cells for tissue regeneration, for example the recent post Simple but powerful non-invasive adult stem cell cures. Many of these feature the use of autologous mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells extracted from a patient’s own bone marrow. Mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells are an important category of stem cells which self-renew and are capable of differentiating into bone, adipose and cartilage tissue. Traditionally these cells have been extracted from bone marrow although they have been known to exist also in placenta, lung and other tissues. Recently there has been increasing interest in Dental Pulp Stem Cells (DPSCs) for dental tissue restoration, including regeneration of dental pulp and dentine(ref)(ref)(ref)(ref).
Beyond dental applications, there may be a number of other applications of DPSCs for repair or regeneration of other body tissues. DPSCs appear to be functionally equivalent to mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells, are relatively easy to collect, have an extensive differentiation capability and offer several other advantages(ref)(ref). DPSCs “have been demonstrated to answer all of these issues: access to the collection site of these cells is easy and produces very low morbidity; extraction of stem cells from pulp tissue is highly efficiency; they have an extensive differentiation ability; and the demonstrated interactivity with biomaterials makes them ideal for tissue reconstruction. SBP-DPSCs are a multipotent stem cell subpopulation of DPSCs which are able to differentiate into osteoblasts, synthesizing 3D woven bone tissue chips in vitro and that are capable to synergically differentiate into osteoblasts and endotheliocytes. Several studied have been performed on DPSCs and they mainly found that these cells are multipotent stromal cells that can be safety cryopreserved, used with several scaffolds, that can extensively proliferate, have a long lifespan and build in vivo an adult bone with Havers channels and an appropriate vascularization(ref).” In other words, for many tissue repair and regeneration applications DPSCs might offer a better choice that bone-marrow extracted mesenchymal stem cells. And there are likely to be a lot of such applications.
In the future little Jane asks: “Daddy, where will they get the stem cells to make me better?”
Daddy’s answer: “The tooth fairy collects it. Just leave your baby tooth under your pillow when it comes out.”