STEMMING THE TIDE OF DISEASE
could cure any ailment, what would it be? Cancer? Diabetes? Stroke?
Bioengineering Professor Liping Tang is shooting for all of the above with his
research on stem cell production and harvesting.
and Ramesh Saxena, an associate professor at UT
Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, have discovered that by utilizing
medical devices such as catheters, they can create 200 times as many adult stem
cells as other harvesting methods. Moreover, the adult stem cells created are
multi-potent, meaning they can serve a variety of functions.
research, the stem cells recovered could be reintroduced into the same person
who produced them to help fight disease,” Tang says. “Those adult stem cells
also could be used for tissue engineering and stem cell therapies.”
method could provide a less controversial way of creating stem cells than
science that focuses on embryonic stem cells, which has fueled debate in the
political and scientific communities.
research team already has produced heart stem cells outside the body, as well
as muscle, fat, nerve, and bone cells. Currently, bone marrow is considered the
most abundant source of adult stem cells, as it can yield 500,000 stem cells
from one patient. Tang’s method can yield more than 100 million stem cells.
to do more testing, but preliminary reports have been encouraging,” he says.
“The new cells are going home into the site of an injury.”
Tang thinks that in two to five years, donors could be using an adult stem cell
bank just like a blood bank. “Imagine people coming into the bank and getting
adult stem cells for their spinal cord injury or diabetes. That would be