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Cell Therapy

How are adult body cells and adult stem cells being used for therapy?

A doctor performing a bone marrow biopsy on a patient. Bone marrow biopsy.

The most successful stem cell therapy—bone marrow transplant—has been around for more than 40 years. Johns Hopkins researchers played an integral role in establishing the methods for how bone marrow transplants are done, which you can read about in Human Stem Cells at Johns Hopkins: A Forty Year History. The latest developments in bone marrow transplants are Half-Matched Transplants, which may be helpful in treating more diseases than ever before. In The Promise of the Future, three Hopkins researchers who study blood diseases share their ideas about which technologies hold most promise for developing therapies.

Induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, are adult cells that are engineered to behave like stem cells and to regain the ability to differentiate into various cell types. Engineered Blood describes current research in generating blood cells that contain disease traits with Those Magic Scissors so we can learn more in the lab about diseases like sickle cell anemia.

Adult stem cells are being used in other applications as well. Stem Cells Enhance Healing tells of an undergraduate biomedical engineering team at Hopkins that has devised medical sutures containing stem cells which speed up healing when stitched in. And A New Path for Cardiac Stem Cells tells of how a patient’s own heart stem cells were used to repair his heart after a heart attack.

In the podcast What Anti-Depression Treatments Actually Target In The Brain, Hongjun Song reveals that current antidepressant therapies may have unknowingly been targeting stem cells all along.