Osteoporosis Treatment is Possible in Future by Preventing Stem Cells from Maturing Early
Stem cells are known for their ability to get converted to a particular cell type depending on the requirement of the body. Once stem cells are formed in the bone marrow, they quickly get matured and differentiate into other cell types. Scientists have been trying to delay this process of maturity of stem cells from their infancy since long time. By doing so, they believed that a range of bone related ailments like Osteoporosis, Arthritis and broken bones could be healed. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have discovered a molecule which can keep the stem cells in infancy for an extended period of time. The results of the findings are published in the online journal Development. This article tries to gain further insight into the findings.
Knowledge Gained from Research:
- The research team developed ways which not only increased the number of the infant stem cells but also delayed their infancy.
- These stem cells known as mesenchymal cells play a vital role in creating bones, cartilage, muscle and fat.
- The tests were conducted on experimental mice in laboratory at the Center for Musculoskeletal Research.
- The study found that a molecule called Notch is a key factor in the development of mesenchymal stem cells.
- When the researchers initiated the mechanism which activated the Notch molecule, it was found that this step prevented the stem cells from maturity.
- The state of immaturity of these stem cells lasted indefinitely in the laboratory.
- The Notch molecule influences the development of stem cells associated with bones because it is in turn influenced by a regulating molecule RBPJ-kappa.
Significance of this Research: Stem cell therapy has been late in influencing the lives of people suffering with bone ailments in particular. It was primarily because of the inability of the scientists to stop stem cells from maturing. Though stem cell research itself is in its early stages, the present research is a big leap in the direction of stem cell manipulation to treat ailments. A person with a bone fracture can now think of getting healed in a novel way. He/she can give some stem cells from his/her bone marrow to be increased in large number by notch molecules in the laboratory. The enhanced stem cells can later be injected into the individual’s body. Their number will be large enough to form new bone cells and heal the fracture.