July 16, 2013
Magnets could be a tool for directing stem cells’ healing powers to treat conditions such as heart disease or vascular disease.
By feeding stem cells tiny particles made of magnetized iron oxide, scientists at Emory and Georgia Tech can then use magnets to attract the cells to a particular location in a mouse's body after intravenous injection.
The type of cells used in the study, mesenchymal stem cells, are not embryonic stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells can be readily obtained from adult tissues such as bone marrow or fat. They are capable of becoming bone, fat and cartilage cells, but not other types of cell such as muscle or brain. They secrete a variety of nourishing and anti-inflammatory factors, which could make them valuable tools for treating conditions such as cardiovascular disease or autoimmune disorders.