Combining adult stem cells with hormone may speed bone fracture healing
A combination of adult stem cells and parathyroid hormone significantly increases new bone formation in laboratory animals and may speed the healing process for human bone fractures caused by osteoporosis, according to a new study published online by Molecular Therapy.
Researchers in the department of surgery at the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute in Los Angeles, USA, used a combination of mesenchymal stem cells derived from adult bone marrow and parathyroid hormone (PTH), which regulates levels of calcium, essential in humans for strong and healthy bones.
For 21 days, laboratory rats and pigs with vertebral fractures received daily injections of PTH. During the same period, the animals were also injected with five doses of stem cells. The study showed that the combination therapy significantly enhanced stem cell migration to the area of the bone fracture and increased the formation of new, healthy bone.
“We have known that, used separately, both the stem cells and the hormone each have an effect on the healing process involved in bone fractures,” said Dan Gazit, co-director of the skeletal regeneration and stem cell therapy programme at Cedars-Sinai. “Now, we have learned that the stem cells and PTH are much stronger combined than they are separately.”
Co-author Zulma Gazit added that the combination therapy has a synergistic effect: “like one plus one equals three,” he said.
“We saw increased bone volume density and healthy bone formation only in the lab animals treated with both stem cells and hormone therapy. Over the course of the study, we saw three-to-four times more healing in the groups that were treated with the combination,” said Gazit.
The researchers hope to use the findings to develop new treatments for patients with osteoporosis and patients who have spinal compression fractures.
Sheyn, D, Shapiro, G., Tawackoli, W., et al. (2015) PTH induces systemically administered mesenchymal stem cells to migrate to and regenerate spine injuries. Mol. Therapy. doi: 10.1038/mt.2015.211