Stem Cell use in Regenerative Medicine

Finding suitable cell sources is one of the main challenges in regenerative medicine. In addition to improving the dysfunctional tissue requiring reconstruction, low immunogenicity is beneficial. MSC are known to be immune-privileged stem cells. They are promising candidates for prenatal transplantation due to their non-immunogenic profile that allow the possibility of performing cell transplantation across major cell compatibility barriers without needing to provide the recipient with immunosuppression. In addition they have the potential to become many different types of cell and have a minimal risk with respect to cancer.

MSC are stromal cells, originally identified in adult bone marrow, displaying colony-forming capacity and are non-haematopoietic (not related to blood cells) and non-endothelial (not blood vessel related). MSC can be easily expanded and differentiate along the osteogenic, chondrogenic, myogenic and adipogenic lineages to form bone, cartilage, muscle and fat respectively. MSC are generally considered to be non-immunogenic. Due to these characteristics, they have been tested in clinical trials for a diverse variety of disorders, ranging from the treatment of Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD), autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases and in orthopaedic applications. 

Groundbreaking Research

The group at Karolinska Institutet were one of the first in the world to isolate and characterise MSC from human fetal tissues. These primitive MSC types are found at a higher frequency with greater colony-forming capacity and a superior proliferative potential compared to MSC from adult sources. Furthermore, fetal MSC differentiate more readily into bone and muscle cells compared to adult MSC. Like their adult counterparts, fetal MSC are also non-immunogenic. The work done at Karolinska Institutet has shown that human fetal MSC present characteristics that suggest an even stronger cell therapeutic potential than adult MSC, and Karolinska Institutet was the first to translate this knowledge into clinical application.

The best approach for treatment of OI is therefore, as early as possible to transplant fatal derived human MSC that show superior therapeutic potential whilst avoiding stimulating the donor fatal immune response.