MSC's can clearly Home. What does this mean? They can travel through the blood stream to a site of injury. A new study out this week continues to provide more information that this can happen in the heart. The research seems to be mounting that you can get more stem cells to an injured site if you place them close to where you want them, but all things being equal, many will still find their way to the injured area.
The Regenexx procedure is also showing this homing ability. Our research group at RSI is submitting a new paper which which shows evidence of mesenchymal stem cell homing in a human model. This is evidence of a reduction in the size of bone osteonecrosis lesions in a patient treated with Regenexx. The interesting thing is that the side where the cells were implanted via needle showed the most effect (the lesions got smaller), yet the other side also showed a smaller effect, but still a reduction in lesion size. Again, this is evidence of the same homing capabilities.
What are the implications for the future? It lets us know that in a pinch, a simple IV injection of MSC's will work, as long as there is a site of injury or disease for the cells to home. However, it also tells us that in patients with multiple diseases or sites of injury where cells need to be kept in one spot, placing the cells in the area in need of treatment and making sure they are unlikely to leave is essential.