Can Young Stem Cells Make Older People Stronger?

IAS News 12 December 2017 | 0 Comments

Is it possible to age without growing fragile? One corporation believe that with the correct treatment the answer to this question could be yes. Clinical trials were published in October in the Journals of Gerontology, the company developing the therapy report that a solo infusion of mesenchymal stem cells from younger donors has no evident safety downsides for people with aging-related frailty, and even presented improvement in many of their symptoms.

Keith March, A cardiologist who directs the centre for regenerative medicine at the University of Florida has stated, the research is “one of the first studies that actually attempts to address frailty in a well-defined or well-described fashion, and certainly, to my knowledge the first such study with mesenchymal stem cells.”

“We looked at a variety of measures, and what was exciting to us was we saw four of five different things in different organ systems that improved- and this was repeated in two studies, in two separate groups of people” states Joshua Hare, who directs the interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami.

Frailty syndrome includes symptoms such as weak grip, slow walking, and low energy levels, and patients who have it are more susceptible to severe viruses, falls, and death than people of the same age who do not suffer with Frailty Syndrome.

In current years, scientists have begun to pin point possible biological causes of frailty, such as inflammation, oxidative stress, and dysfunctional mitochondria. “You can have two 80-year-olds—one’s still out playing tennis and the others in a wheelchair—there is a biological difference between those two people. It’s not just the luck of the draw,” Hare stated.

A decline in the quantity of the body’s own stem cells is another biological alteration related to frailty, Hare and fellow researchers wanted to find out what the effect would be of dosing participants with new cells. Phase 1 consisted of 15 patients with different levels of frailty, and dosing them with a solo infusion of stem cells from the bone marrow of healthy adult donors.

Hare suggests that the improvements may come from stem cells’ interactions with various types of immune cells, which have been shown to tamp down inflammation. As an editorial accompanying the studies notes, “[Mesenchymal stem cells] have a number of biological properties that make them attractive as therapeutic agents: they home to sites of inflammation and tissue injury after an intravenous injection; they differentiate into many cell types including muscle and bone; they secrete bioactive compounds that induce tissue recovery and suppress inflammation; and they avoid host immune responses because of their immunomodulatory effects.”

An incredibly interesting study, that we are sure will be developing and expanding for many years to come. If you’re eager to find out more information, you can follow the references below to read more about this study and its results.

References
S. Golpanian et al., “Allogeneic human mesenchymal stem cell infusions for aging frailty,” The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 72:1505–12, 2017. Available: https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article-abstract/72/11/1505/3746183?redirectedFrom=fulltext

B.A. Tompkins et al., “Allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells ameliorate aging frailty: A Phase II randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial,” The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 72:1513–22, 2017. Available: https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article-abstract/72/11/1513/3977809?redirectedFrom=fulltext

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