The potential of adult stem cells is becoming increasingly apparent after a series of scientific studies demonstrating their ability to treat serious conditions.
This week, The Times reports that they could be used to diminish angina symptoms and prevent a patient’s need for a hip replacement.
The progress affirms the greater effectiveness of adult stem cell research compared to controversial embryonic stem cell research, which involves the destruction of human embryos.
Scientists working in the US have come up with a method to ‘resurface’ worn-out hip joints using a layer of cartilage grown from a patient’s own tissue.
It is hoped that the cartilage, along with an anti-inflammatory compound, can be injected into arthritic joints to postpone the need for a hip replacement for decades or even indefinitely.
The technique could spell the end for hip replacement surgery, which is regarded as one of the most complex procedures undertaken by doctors.
Researchers at the Methodist University of Indonesia have also praised a trial which used adult stem cells to tackle the painful symptoms of angina.
A team of scientists found that injecting stem cells from a patient’s own bone marrow into their bloodstream helped relieve chest pain and boosted a patient’s ability to exercise.
The condition affects around one in twelve men and one in thirty women between the ages of 55 and 64 in England.
Adult stem cells have previously been found to offer hope to osteoporosis sufferers and stroke victims.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow and the University of the West of Scotland recently established that vibrating adult stem cells at low frequency results in them turning into bone cells, which can be used to treat osteoporosis.
And last month it was reported that stroke patients made a “remarkable recovery” in a trial that used adult stem cells.
People who had suffered strokes in the past received cells from two healthy donors, in the form of an injection into their brains. As a consequence they regained the ability to walk and use their arms.
Adult stem cells are viewed as advantageous over embryonic stem cells because they release chemicals which encourage natural repair.
Chief Executive of the Christian Medical Fellowship Dr Peter Saunders has said: “It is a tragedy that British scientists have wasted so much time, money and energy exploring the dead end street of embryonic stem cell research”.