Stem cells used to repair tissue in lab

Dec. 20, 2011 at 12:30 PM
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HAIFA, Israel, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Scientists in Israel say they used stem cells to successfully repair damaged tissue in mice in a method that may repair human tissue and organs in the future.

Researchers from Rambam Medical Center in Haifa and the Technion medical school reported mice who suffered from insufficient blood flow regained almost full muscle function when treated with components produced by embryonic stem cells.

Insufficient blood flow can result from injury or disease and can cause damage to the limbs, heart, kidneys and brain.

For the first time, the researchers were able to isolate cells capable of repairing damaged tissue and generating new blood vessels. Haaretz reported Tuesday.

"In the current research, we have already managed in the laboratory to substantially increase the number of healing cells, so they can serve as a future clinical model for research into diseases," researcher Dr. Joseph Itzkowitz-Eldor said.

"The development of an unlimited quantity of the cells would hold wide potential for healing damaged tissue," he said. "It's true that the research is currently focused on animals, but we already have methods to grow these cells so they would also be suitable later on for implantation into humans."

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