Friday, May 21, 2010

Sick Kidneys the latest to benefit from adult stem cells

It is almost embarrassingly simple: gather bone marrow stem cells (not difficult, and not expensive) and squirt them back into a vein – then let them seek out and repair the damaged bits.


And in case I have not mentioned it on this Blog, don't forget that your own adult stem cells do not form tumours, and do not (of course) get rejected by your immune system… Unlike certain dodgy cells culled from an IVF embryo. Which, of course, have not ever been used in humans, for the very reason of tumour formation and immune rejection. But perhaps I had already mentioned that…


Here, in this month's journal Circulation, human adult stem cells (aka HPSCs in this study) do good things to the damaged kidneys of mice: link at


"Conclusions – These studies advance human HSPCs as a promising therapeutic strategy for promoting renal repair after injury."


"Ah!" you say, "but didn't they find benefit for mice last year using embryonic stem cells too?" A sincere, if dull-witted question, but I will answer it: yes they did, but why bother? Certainly, in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology last October, injection of ASCs was found to repair kidney function in Alport's disease, and "Injection of mouse and human embryonic stem cells produced similar results." See Yes, both types of stem cell worked – but why even bother with those dangerous, and ethically ugly, embryo cells? Is it the tumour-forming powers of ESCs that you most want for your patients, or are you pleased that they would have to take dangerous immune-suppressant drugs?


Now… stay tuned to the new Phase 1 human trials using our own ASCs in kidney repair.