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Do Stem Cells Regenerate Bone, Cartilage, and Heart Muscle?

All cells in the body begin as stem cells, which is why laboratories use these cells to grow live tissue. Depending on the type of tissue needed, the process typically requires weeks or months. However, by uncovering the mysteries of cellular growth and maturation, scientists effectively reduced the time frame to a matter of days. Sacramento senior home care providers believe this development could be monumental for seniors in need of reconstructive surgery.

Versatile Stem Cells

Up until now, researchers had limited understanding concerning the biological processes that caused stem cells to form into specific tissues. As stem cells grow, divide and differentiate, they initially form the three layers of an embryo, which are known as the ectoderm (outer layer), the endoderm (inner layer) and the mesoderm (middle layer). The cells in each layer continue dividing and maturing into specialized tissue. The mesoderm cells evolve into blood cells and vessels, bone, connective tissue, and cardiac and skeletal muscle. Scientists from the Stanford University School of Medicine were particularly interested in the process that causes the development of the mesoderm and the eventual transformation into bone, cartilage and heart muscle. 

On/Off Switch

The researchers learned that a combination of genetic sequences and molecular signals guide and regulate stem cell evolution. By mixing and matching these components into various configurations, the scientists found that combinations either encouraged or inhibited stem cell progression. They also discovered what configurations are necessary to convert mesoderm cells into designated tissues. The cells were then implanted into laboratory animals that matured into bone, cartilage and heart muscle. 

Advanced Regenerative Medicine

With this newfound information, regenerating tissue no longer requires the mature cells from a specified tissue. Laboratories will now have the ability to use stem cells as the foundation to create the mesoderm cells that mature into the tissues that form from that layer. With a better understanding of how cells differentiate, researchers also hope to uncover the biological signaling processes responsible for causing certain defects and malignancies. 

When seniors require surgery, it can be challenging for them to accomplish daily tasks on their own. If your loved one could use a helping hand, contact Home Care Assistance at 916.706.0169 today. In addition to helping seniors around the house, we provide comprehensive stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer’s home care in Sacramento for seniors with more specific needs. Talk to a reliable Care Manager to customize a care plan for your loved one today.