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Seaweed Transports Stem Cells for Wound Treatment

Mar 28, 2016 1:00:38 PM / by Karina Palomares

A component from seaweed allows stem cells to be placed into bandages and plasters for wound healing. Image credit: en.wikipedia.orgResearchers have developed a new technique that allows stem cells to be put into plasters and bandages for wound healing.

Wound healing is a complex biological process, and interruptions at any step can lead to the development of non-healing, chronic wounds. As the incidence of chronic wounds is continuously increasing and conventional treatments often fail, novel treatments using stem cell-based therapies are being investigated.

Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) are a particularly attractive cell source for wound healing. ASCs demonstrate a high proliferation capacity in vitro and can differentiate into multiple cell lineages. In addition, ASCs secrete a variety of growth factors that can stimulate tissue regeneration. One challenge in the application of ASCs to wound healing strategies has been finding an optimal storage condition that maintains cell viability. Like most other stem cell types, ASCs require incubation at 37°C in atmospheric oxygen and 5% carbon dioxide for viability and functionality.

Recently, scientists at Newcastle University reported a new method for placing stem cells in plasters and bandages [1]. ASCs were encased in an alginate gel extracted from seaweed. Alginate is a natural polysaccharide that polymerizes rapidly to form a biocompatible hydrogel. The team found that alginate encapsulation enhanced the recovery of viable cells even after three days of storage. Cell recovery was temperature-dependent, with an optimum temperature of 15°C. Upon rewarming, the recovered cells were able to attach to tissue culture plastic, exhibited normal growth kinetics, and maintained their capacity for trilineage differentiation. In addition, cell recovery was not compromised at higher cell densities, suggesting that scaling up for clinical application is feasible.

These findings demonstrate that alginate encapsulation allows hypothermic preservation of stem cells while maintaining cell functionality. An alginate solution can be used to form tiny beads, or placed into a mold to form plasters and bandages. At HemaCare, we are excited to hear about advances in the application of stem cells for wound healing. We provide mesenchymal stem cells for your research purposes. To learn more or place an order, call today at (877) 397-3087.


[1]       Swioklo, S., Constantinescu, A. & Connon, C. J. Alginate-Encapsulation for the Improved Hypothermic Preservation of Human Adipose-Derived Stem Cells. Stem cells translational medicine, doi:10.5966/sctm.2015-0131 (2016).

Topics: Stem Cell Therapy, Stem Cells, wound healing

Karina Palomares

Written by Karina Palomares

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