Wandering Wombat tips a BBC story about researchers from Imperial College London who were able to stimulate stem cell production by a factor of 100 in the bone marrow of mice. Such stem cells are released by the marrow to help with the regeneration of damaged bone and tissue. "Techniques already exist to increase the numbers of blood cell producing stem cells from the bone marrow, but the study focuses on two other types — endothelial, which produce the cells which make up our blood vessels, and mesenchymal, which can become bone or cartilage cells." The scientists hope that the increased production rate could be used to greatly speed tissue repair and to allow recovery from wounds that would otherwise be too severe. "There are also hopes that the technique could help damp down autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, where the body's immune system attacks its own tissues. Mesenchymal stem cells are known to have the ability to damp down the immune system." The full research paper is available at Cell Stem Cell.
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