First discovered in the 1970s, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells that have since attracted growing interest from researchers who work in various clinical areas, including regenerative medicine.
Because MSCs can immunoregulate and secrete growth factors, they could be of great use in tissue engineering, where donor-to-recipient immune responses and tissue growth are chief concerns.
Combine those benefits with the fact that these progenitor cells have a multipotent mechanism that can turn into a variety of cell types, and it's clear why researchers are excited about their potential. According to Cells, studies involving bones and cartilage, liver, nervous system, heart, eyes, and skin have unearthed new insights into MSC applications in regenerative medicine.
Despite the promise MSCs have shown at the bench, there are challenges hold them back from reaching the bedside — most notably, the most effective and efficient way to scale. A typical MSC therapy requires millions of cells, and harvesting that volume can be difficult.
Still, scaling challenges shouldn't be a barrier to MSC uptake. Scientists have access to myriad tools and technologies that can help them manage and optimize the scale of this exciting treatment pathway.