Researchers at UC Davis have used stem cells from adult bone marrow to encourage the growth of bone tissue necessary for spinal fusion following the removal of cervical discs – the cushions between neck bones, alleviating debilitating, chronic pain. Meanwhile, researchers at the Colorectal Cancer Lab at the Institute for Research and Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) have identified and successfully grown human colon stem cells on a lab plate.
Removing the cervical disc alleviates pain by ending friction between vertebrae and compression of nerves. Spinal fusion is used after surgery for degenerative disc disease, where cartilage between vertebrae wears down, leaving bone to rub on bone. “We hope that this investigational procedure eventually will help those who undergo spinal fusion in the back as well as in the neck,” said lead researcher Kee Kim of UC Davis. “And the knowledge gained about stem cells also will be applied in the near future to treat without surgery those suffering from back pain.”
Colon stem cells regenerate the inner lining of our large intestine each week throughout our lives. Researchers have seen evidence of their existence for decades but have not found their precise location until now. The IRB researchers established the conditions which colon stem cells need in order to grow and continue living outside the body. Peter Jung, of the IRB study, said: “This is the first time that it has been possible to grow single CoSCs in lab-plates and to derive human intestinal stem cell lines in defined conditions in a lab setting.” ~ Medical News Today, Sep 9; Sep 7