Stem Cell Treatments for Wounds

As there is a wide wave of diabetic incidence worldwide, diabetic foot ulcer is the next serious public health problem. Doctors are looking for the modern, rapid treatment options for wounds thereby reducing the risk of opportunistic infections and avoid the chances of amputations.

Practically, skin wounds can form for a variety of reasons such as cuts, burns, ulcers, poor circulations etc. However, the formation of the deep wound can temporarily affect the routine function and structural continuity of the skin. As we all are aware, skin is the largest and outermost tissue. Skin has the highest weight and largest structural area, featuring the most complex structure and function. Apart from its primary function of protecting the entry of foreign pathogens, it also gives elasticity and good appearance. Skin has three layers mainly epidermis, middle dermis and hypodermis, each of which has a special functional hierarchy of the skin. Each layer of the skin is made up of different cells with different functional attributes.

The epidermal layer is the powerhouse of regeneration. It is made up of four different types of cells, keratinocytes containing protein keratin, giving skin its water resistant quality. Merkel cells, detecting sensation, Melanocytes for skin color, and lastly Langerhans cells to prevent infections. The dermis is the underlying layer made up of fibroblasts for strengths and elasticity, blood vessels to nourish the skin, immune cells for protections and sweat glands for meeting the pH. The deepest layer is known as hypodermis made up of adipocytes cushioning underlying muscles and bones.

The wound is the penetration of the epidermal layer and its severity increases with the internal breaching of other layers. Medically, three steps need to occur to heal the wound naturally and those are inflammation, proliferation and remodelling. In an inflammation, blood clots are formed to cover and protect the wound, other immune cells are migrated at the site of injury to clear the cellular debris and to avoid infections. During the proliferation phase, other cells are activated such as fibroblasts and endothelial cells. Fibroblasts act as a zip closing the wound by secreting collagen. Endothelial cells help in the formation of new blood vessels to normalize the interrupted function. These events give the granular appearance to the damaged skin. During the remodelling phase, keratinocytes are migrated over the granulation tissue to knit the epidermis and together with skin, fibroblast restructure all the three layers of the skin.

Stem cells have been actively used for treatment of wounds due to their tremendous potential to differentiate into different required cells. As a matter of fact, the skin itself is a home to many types of stem cells, such as melanocytes, epithelial cells, skin fibroblasts which work together for perpetually renewing normally healthy skin. The science has shown that apart from these skin stem cells, there are definitely some other potent sources in our body such as Bone Marrow or Adipose Tissue from other parts of the body, which can actually activate skin stem cells to boost up the process of skin regeneration. The re-infusion of stem cells isolated from bone marrow or adipose tissue and activation of skin stem cell through the stimulation can proportionately activate the cascade of reactions to close the wound in a faster and effective way.

Thus, stem cells do offer the realistic alternative to conventional way of treating the wound which lacks the ability to heal naturally.

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