August 12, 2011
Lasers Spur Bone Marrow Stem Cells To Do Heart Repair

Laser light summoned the stem cells from out of the dark bone marrow to do battle in the heart of the beast.

Prof. Oron, who has long used low level lasers to stimulate stem cells to encourage cell survival and the formation of blood vessels after a heart attack, was inspired to test how laser treatments could also work to heal the heart. He and his fellow researchers tried different methods, including treating the heart directly with low level lasers during surgery, and "shining" harvested stem cells before injecting them back into the body.

But he was determined to find a simpler method. After a low-level laser was "shined" into a person's bone marrow an area rich in stem cells the stem cells took to the blood stream, moving through the body and responding to the heart's signals of distress and harm, Prof. Oron discovered. Once in the heart, the stem cells used their healing qualities to reduce scarring and stimulate the growth of new arteries, leading to a healthier blood flow.

To determine the success of this method, Prof. Oron performed the therapy on an animal model. Following the flow of bone marrow stem cells through the use of a fluorescent marker, the researchers saw an increase in stem cell population within the heart, specifically in the injured regions of the heart. The test group that received the shining treatment showed a vastly higher concentration of cells in the injured organ than those who had not been treated with the lasers.

This leads to the important question: What mythology maps well to the summoning of stem cells using lasers? I don't see a fit for Lord Of The Rings. Do you? Which mythology summons legions of good soldiers using a light wand?

Professor Oron says his technique is ready for clinical trials...

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 August 12 12:13 AM  Biotech Stem Cells

Lou Pagnucco said at August 12, 2011 12:13 PM:

If confirmed, this will be very important. Several questions come to mind:

- Is it a thermal effect? (since laser is low-level, probably not)
- How sensitive is the effect to the laser wave length?
- How sensitive is the effect due to intensity of the laser light?
- Must the source be coherent as a laser beam, or would a broader spectrum source work also?
- Are the stem cells versatile enough to repair other tissues?
- What happens when the stem cells are irradiated simultaneous (or sequentially) by different laser frequencies?
- Does it work on stem cells in other tissue niches, besides in the marrow?
- Does the therapy exhaust, or impair, the supply of stem cells in the marrow?

Bruce said at August 12, 2011 1:58 PM:

Batman. Bat-signal.

Phillep Harding said at August 13, 2011 12:09 PM:

Does it simply release stem cells and they end up where the damage is, even elsewhere? What is the cancer rate? An increase?

Brett Bellmore said at August 13, 2011 2:12 PM:

The best part of this is that it is neither a drug, nor an implant. Falling into the category of a surgical treatment, the regulatory burden to implementing it hugely lower.

Lou Pagnucco said at August 14, 2011 10:21 AM:

Hopefully, marrow cells will be able to repair other tissues also.
According to the paper "Plasticity of marrow-derived stem cells" -

- these cells can differentiate into mature heart, liver, kidney, lung, GI tract, skin, bone, muscle, cartilage, fat, endothelium and brain cells.

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