Tendon Stem Cells to Repair Torn Tendons


The Australian regenerative medicine company Orthocell Limited has announced the results of their recent clinical trial in which a patented Orthocell stem cell technology was used to repair torn tendons.

Tendon injuries are one of the most common causes of occupational- and sports-related disabilities. Current clinical treatments are not terribly effective. Orthocell’s new technique, autologous tenocyte implantation (Ortho-ATIT) uses biopsies of healthy tendons, isolation and cultivation of tendon stem cells (tenocytes), and re-injection of those cells into the injured tendon. The injection process takes about 20 minutes and is less invasive than surgery.

Tenocytes
Tenocytes

The data from this clinical trial confirm that Ortho-ATIT is safe and effective at relieving pain and repairing tendon injuries. The patients in this study had failed at least one previous therapy, including physiotherapy and corticosteroid injections. However as a result of being treated with Ortho-ATIT, patients achieved significant improvement in tendon function and structural integrity.

Orthocell Managing Director Paul Anderson said that the clinical study indicates great potential for the Ortho-ATIT stem cell-based tendon repair technology.

Anderson said, “We are now focusing our efforts on offering this world class treatment more widely to patients throughout Australasia, and we are also investigating new potential markets overseas.”

Ortho-ATIT is the result of over 10 years of research and development by Professor Ming Hao Zheng‘s research group at the Centre for Translational Orthopaedic Research at the University of Western Australia.

Amanda Redwood, a 45-year old mother of two children who participated in this clinical trial said that Ortho-ATIT relieved her severe elbow pain within six months. Redwood said, “I experienced debilitating symptoms of tennis elbow for more than 16 months before I had the procedure. Within six weeks of the injection the pain started to subside and within 6 months it was gone.”

Ortho-ATIT has been approved by the Therapeutics Good Administration (TGA) in Australia. The technology is available to patients in Australasia who have failed conservative treatment.

Stem Cells Improve Cognition After Brain Injury


Research led by Charles Cox at the University of Texas Health Science Center has shown that stem cell therapy given during the critical time window after traumatic brain injury promotes lasting cognitive improvement. These experiments, which were published in the latest issue of the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, provide a pre-clinical model for experiments with larger animals.

After the brain has suffered a traumatic injury, there are few treatment options. Damage to the brain can be severe, and can also cause ongoing neurological impairment. Approximately half of all patients with severe head injuries need surgery to remove or repair ruptured blood vessels or bruised brain tissue.

In this work from Cox’s lab, stem cells from bone marrow known as multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs) were used. MAPCs seem to be a subpopulation of mesenchymal stem cells, and they have a documented ability to reduce inflammation in mice immediately after traumatic brain injury. Unfortunately, no one has measured the ability of MAPCs to improve the condition of the brain over time.

Cox, Distinguished Professor of Pediatric Surgery at the UTHealth Medical School and in collaboration with the Children’s Fund, Inc., injected two groups of brain-injured mice with MAPCs two hours after injury and then once again 24 hours later. One group received a dose of 2 million cells per kilogram and the other a dose five times greater.

After four months, those mice that had received the stronger dose not only continued to have less inflammation, but they also showed significant gains in cognitive function. Laboratory examination of the brains of these rodents confirmed that those that had received the higher dose of MAPCs had better brain function than those that had received the lower dose.

According to Cox, “Based on our data, we saw improved spatial learning, improved motor deficits and fewer active antibodies in the mice that were given the stronger concentration of MAPCs.” Cox also indicated that this study indicates that intravenous injection of MAPCs might very well become a viable treatment for people with traumatic brain injury in the future.

Cox, who directs the Pediatric Surgical Translational Laboratories and Pediatric Program in Regenerative Medicine at UTHealth, is a leader in the field of autologous and blood cord stem cells for traumatic brain injury in children and adults. Results from a phase 1 study were published in a March 2011 issue of Neurosurgery, the journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. Cox also directs the Pediatric Trauma Program at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.