It is incredible the amount of good news that the stem cell research every day.
The latter is related to the treatment of one of the most worrisome diseases of recent times. When life expectancy was shorter, the osteoporosis it was not a great concern; Well, in general, few people live long enough to suffer from it.
However, fortunately, advances in medicine have led to an increase in this Life expectancy, but also the increase in cases of age-associated diseases. Therefore, once some of the conditions that long ago caused the death of young patients have been eradicated, the time has come to look at the cure of others such as osteoporosis or cancer.
In most cases, these diseases are not due to infections, although there are quite a few exceptions, such as cervical cancer, associated with the human papilloma virus. The absence of a microorganism to fight against makes it difficult to find a way to end the problem, so the ever-deeper knowledge of the stem cells It is one of the best tools that we have right now.
What do we know about osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by a great brittle bones, which leads them to fracture very easily.
Although the symptoms are practically the same, it is divided into two types: the postmenopusic, or type I; which, as its name suggests, affects menopusic women, and the associated with age, or type II, which can affect both men and women, normally above the 70 years.
The study that we are going to talk about today focuses on the second, whose patients suffer a deterioration of the internal structure of the bone, which is done a lot Finer, less dense and brittle. The most frequent fractures in these cases are those of shoulder, tibia, pelvis and hip, the latter being one of the most feared, due to how fatal it can be for someone of such age.
It is estimated that some 89 million fractures a year Due to these causes, the search for efficient treatment is increasingly necessary.
Stem cells to treat osteoporosis
According to a joint study by the University of Toronto and the Hospital of Ottawa, a single injection of stem cells could reverse the effects disease for a long period of time, but how?
The mesenchymal stem cells are in the marrow be and they are those that can be differentiated into different cell types belonging to the skeletal tissue, how cartilage, bone or fat.
These scientists verified that the mice that had these defective stem cells showed osteoporosis symptoms, something that makes a lot of sense, if we think that they are in charge of regenerate bone cells.
Furthermore, these cells have a characteristic that makes them unique for this type of treatment, since transfusions can be carried out between patients without the need for them to be compatible, so the fear of rejection.
A first step with very promising results
To check if they were right, these researchers proceeded to inject mesenchymal stem cells healthy these sick mice whose bones became healthy and functional six months later. This period of time corresponds to a quarter of the life of these animals, so it could be translated into results very long term in humans.
The only drug existing so far provides good results during two years, but after that time its effects disappear. Therefore, it is believed that this treatment could replace the existing one with much greater efficiency.
The next step in this investigation has been to test it on human patients. They will soon be able to analyze the results and, if they are favorable, after five years of trials we could be facing the best treatment for osteoporosis of all time.
It seems like many years, but if we think about how long it took us to get here, it really isn't that long. The good is expected and something that can improve the quality of life of our elders cannot be bad.