Do Stem Cells Promote Healing?
People with uncontrolled diabetes are prone to foot wounds (ulcers) that don’t readily heal. An experimental approach using stem cells—immature cells with the capacity to develop into a variety of cell types—may help such wounds to mend. In an animal study, researchers grew stem cells in a scaffold made from collagen, the same biological material that gives structure to human ears. Then, they affixed the stem-cell scaffold to ear wounds in rabbits with uncontrolled diabetes. The wounds treated with stem cells closed more in one week than did those given standard care. The researchers also saw an increase in new blood vessels, suggesting that improved blood flow to the wound was the source of the cells’ healing powers. The treatment is not yet ready for testing in humans.
Source: Diabetes, published online Feb. 19, 2013