Some people’s wounds simply do not heal. The use of undifferentiated cells, or stem cells, from the umbilical cord could promote healing in these individuals. Injured mice treated with stem cells show an improvement in wound healing rates. Mice not treated with stem cells showed fewer cells moving into the wounded area, a typical repair mechanism; this is seen in the bottom image that displays a greater proportion of ‘old’ red cells. Stem-cell-treated mice also exhibited better organisation of the new cells as they migrated to the wounded area, as can be seen in the more colourful top image. Taken together, these findings seem to suggest that stem cells work by improving cell-to-cell communication and promoting cellular growth. This effect has yet to be observed in humans but if it’s successfully reproduced, it could result in a clinically valuable treatment for those inflicted with such debilitating injuries.
Written by Cara Foley
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.