Oct. 1, 2008
Adult stem cells are being tested by a Utah research team for prevention and treatment of kidney damage in a Phase I clinical trial. Two patients recently underwent the treatment; a total of 15 patients will be recruited for this trial. This first trial is with patients who have had open-heart surgery, which can sometimes lead to acute kidney damage. The adult stem cells are obtained from healthy donor bone marrow and processed so that they are not recognized by the immune system, eliminating the need for tissue transplant matching. For treatment, the adult stem cells are injected into the bloodstream of the patient. Once in the kidney, the cells release signals that protect kidney tissue from damage and stimulate repair. The treatment is based on published work in animals showing that adult stem cells release signals in the kidney that lead to rapid, direct improvement of the tissue. The adult stem cells do not stay in the kidney but instead transiently provide the signaling that leads to a cascade of protective and repair mechanisms within the organ. This mechanism has been seen in other successful repair of tissues by adult stem cells.