Researchers from the University of Illinois (IL, USA) have developed a nanostimulator – nanoparticles laced with tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) – that binds to receptors on the stem cells and prolongs their active time, increasing tissue repair. Ischemia can be caused by limb injury or peripheral artery disease, whereby the muscles are starved of blood flow, nutrients and oxygen. Stem cells have been used to treat ischemia by supporting regeneration of vascularization; however, they are limited by a short activity time once injected into the body.
The study has demonstrated promising results in mice and the team hope to study the long-term effects of the stem cell technology in humans.
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Sources: Leong J, Hong Y-T, Wu Y-F et al. Surface tethering of inflammation-modulatory nanostimulators to stem cells for ischemic muscle repair. ACS Nano. doi:10.1021/acsnano.9b04926 (2020) (Epub ahead of print); https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/808373