Injections of stem cells called mesoangioblasts isolated from blood vessels helped improve muscle function in dogs with a form of muscular dystrophy, according to studies by a team of scientists from Italy and France (Sampaolesi M et al. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature05282 [published online ahead of print November 15, 2006]).
The researchers cultured mesoangioblasts isolated from healthy dogs and infused tens of millions of them into 6 affected dogs, which were given immunosuppressive medication to prevent rejection of the transplanted cells. The investigators also inserted a truncated form of the dystrophin gene (the gene that is defective in Duchenne muscular dystrophy) into mesoangioblasts isolated from 4 dogs with muscular dystrophy and injected the dogs with their own modified cells.
Stephenson J. Muscular Dystrophy Advance. JAMA. 2006;296(23):2791. doi:10.1001/jama.296.23.2791-a