Stem Cell Therapy Regrows Craniofacial Tissues

In the first human study of its kind, researchers found that using stem cells to regrow craniofacial tissues—mainly bone—proved quicker, more effective, and less invasive than traditional bone regeneration treatments. Researchers from the University of Michigan (U-M) School of Dentistry and the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research partnered with Ann Arbor-based Aastrom Biosciences in the clinical trial, which involved 24 patients who required jawbone reconstruction after tooth removal. Patients either received experimental tissue repair cells or traditional guided bone regeneration therapy. The tissue repair cells, called ixmyelocel-T, are under development at Aastrom Biosciences, which is a U-M spinout company. The treatment is best suited for large defects such as those resulting from trauma, diseases, or birth defects. These defects are very complex because they involve several different tissue types—bone, skin, gingival tissue—and are very challenging to treat. The main advantage to the stem cell therapy is that it uses the patient’s own cells to regenerate tissues, rather than introducing human-made, foreign materials. The results were promising. At 6 and 12 weeks following the experimental cell therapy treatment, patients in the study received dental implants. Patients who received tissue repair cells had greater bone density and quicker bone repair than those who received traditional guided bone regeneration therapy. In addition, the experimental group needed less secondary bone grafting when receiving their implants. The cells used for the therapy were originally extracted from bone marrow taken from patients’ hips. The bone marrow was processed using Aastrom Biosciences’ proprietary system, which allows many different cells to grow, including stem cells. These stem cells were then placed in different areas of the mouth and jaw. The next step is to perform more clinical trials that involve larger craniofacial defects in a larger number of patients. The study, entitled “Stem Cell Therapy for Craniofacial Bone Repair: A Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial,” appeared in the journal Cell Transplantation.
(Source: ScienceDaily, July 30, 2012)