There are countless disorders, diseases, trauma and other conditions of the human body that can be addressed, in principle, by cellular and tissue-based solutions. These may be due to damage to cells and tissues, such as in burn wounds, skin ulcers, bone fractures and defects and similar conditions in which cell/tissue structure (e.g., skin, bone) is damaged or diseased. These may also be diseases in which more complex cellular function is at the root, like the insulin-producing islet cells of the pancreas are damaged or destroyed as in diabetes. And these may also be diseases in which specifically-induced cell and tissue growth may simply “bypass” the disease’s effects, such as in the stimulated growth of new blood vessels (“angiogenesis”) to literally bypass occluded arteries in ischemic heart disease:
The use of growth factors for angiogenesis has been under evaluation and development for some time. However, in the April 2010 issue of “Journal of Clinical Investigation”, researchers at Yale School of Medicine report on a new method to simply influence a naturally occurring signaling pathway that otherwise inhibits the growth of new blood vessels:
"Successfully growing new arteries could provide a biological option for patients facing bypass surgery," said lead author of the study Michael Simons, M.D., chief of the Section of Cardiology at Yale School of Medicine.
In the past, researchers used growth factors – proteins that stimulate the growth of cells – to grow new arteries, but this method was unsuccessful. Simons and his team studied mice and zebrafish to see if they could simulate arterial formation by switching on and off two signaling pathways – ERK1/2 and P13K.
"We found that there is a cross-talk between the two signaling pathways. One half of the signaling pathway inhibits the other. When we inhibit this mechanism, we are able to grow arteries," said Simons. "Instead of using growth factors, we stopped the inhibitor mechanism by using a drug that targets a particular enzyme called P13-kinase inhibitor."
"Because we’ve located this inhibitory pathway, it opens the possibility of developing a new class of medication to grow new arteries," Simons added. "The next step is to test this finding in a human clinical trial."
Cell therapy and tissue engineering is a broad category of disciplines focused on solving conditions with the involvement, or stimulated growth of, cells and tissues. See Report #S520 from MedMarket Diligence, LLC.