Research Invents New Process to Heal Degenerative Disc Diseases

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Researchers from the Washington University have come up with a new way to change human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) into nucleus pulposus cells, which are the main element of intervertebral discs.

Benefits of Stem Cells to be Harnessed for the Treatment of Breaking Down of Discs

Neck and back pain are expensive and debilitating. It has been estimated that around 80 percent of adults will suffer from one or both at some point of time during their lives, racking up around US$ 86 billion in both missed work and medical costs in the United States alone. Often, the various conditions that are caused by the breaking down of discs, the load-bearing, donut-like structures that provide support to the bones of the spine and are mostly made of a tissue known as nucleus pulposus. Nucleus pulposus can generally degenerate with age, thereby causing the discs to gradually loose their shape and eventually collapse. This results in pain, amongst many other problems.

As researchers make an effort to figure out early therapy options so as to fight degenerative disc disease, there has been substantial interest in harnessing benefits from stem cells in a bid to restore nucleus pulposus, or NP as it is also known as. Earlier research exhibits that human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) which are directly generated from adult cells can express markers for a extensive variety of cells, comprising those that secrete NP.

So now, a collaborative team of researchers from Washington University in St. Louis has invented a new process in a bid to produce NP-like cells from hiPSCs, one that genuinely goes back to the very beginning and replicates the process of embryonic development.

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