Researchers from North Carolina State University, the University associated with North Carolina at Chapel Hill and First Affiliated Medical center of Zhengzhou University have developed a synthetic version of a heart stem cell. These synthetic stem cells offer restorative benefits comparable to those from natural stem cells and may reduce some of the risks associated with stem cell therapies. In addition , these cells have better preservation stability and the technologies is generalizable to other types of stem cells.
Stem cell therapies work by marketing endogenous repair; that is, they aid damaged tissue within repairing itself by secreting “paracrine factors, ” which includes proteins and genetic materials. While stem cell remedies can be effective, they are also associated with some risks of each tumor growth and immune rejection. Also, the cells are very fragile, requiring careful storage and a multi-step procedure for typing and characterization before they can be used.
Ke Cheng, associate professor of molecular biomedical sciences at NC State University, associate professor in the combined biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC and adjunct associate professor at the UNC Eshelman College of Pharmacy, led a team in developing the particular synthetic version of a cardiac stem cell that could be utilized in off-the-shelf applications.
Cheng and his colleagues created a cell-mimicking microparticle (CMMP) from poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) or PLGA, a biodegradable and biocompatible polymer. The particular researchers then harvested growth factor proteins from classy human cardiac stem cells and added them to the particular PLGA. Finally, they coated the particle with heart stem cell membrane.
“We took the particular cargo and the shell of the stem cell and grouped together it into a biodegradable particle, ” Cheng says.
When tested in vitro, both the CMMP plus cardiac stem cell promoted the growth of heart muscle cells. They also tested the CMMP in a computer mouse model with myocardial infarction, and found that the ability to bind to cardiac tissue and promote development after a heart attack was comparable to that of cardiac stem cellular material. Due to its structure, CMMP cannot replicate — reducing the chance of tumor formation.
“The synthetic cells work much the same way a deactivated vaccine works, ” Cheng says. “Their membranes allow them to bypass the immune system response, bind to cardiac tissue, release the development factors and generate repair, but they cannot amplify on their own. So you get the benefits of stem cell therapy without dangers. ”
The synthetic stem cells are more durable than human stem cells, and can tolerate severe freezing and thawing. They also don’t have to be derived from the particular patient’s own cells. And the manufacturing process can be used along with any type of stem cell.
“We are expecting that this may be a first step toward a truly off-the-shelf come cell product that would enable people to receive beneficial originate cell therapies when they’re needed, without costly gaps, ” Cheng says.
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