ENP Newswire -
Release date- 12122013 - Led by a renowned throat surgeon and a highly regarded stem cell researcher, a
With the grant,
Severe airway stenosis is a life-threatening problem, which can result from head, neck or throat cancers, as well as from trauma or rare physical conditions. According to Belafsky, it occurs in approximately 200 Californians each year and profoundly affects a person's quality of life because it obstructs breathing and communication. Surgery, the current standard of care, can include use of tracheotomy tubes and stents, which are highly invasive, frequently providing less-than-satisfactory results, and can cause infection, pain and voice loss.
Belafsky and Tarantal propose using a tissue-engineered airway scaffold with stem/progenitor cells from the patients themselves - sort of a biological infrastructure for the cells to develop and grow - to create a viable implant. They said that within four years it could be possible to complete the necessary steps for a successful stem-cell derived airway transplant in a later-stage clinical trial, and perhaps develop it for commercialization. The CIRM grant enables the
'There are a number of scientific questions that we plan to explore in the next few years,' said Tarantal, who is also Reproductive Sciences and Regenerative Medicine Unit leader at the
Belafsky noted that the
'The knowledge gained from our preclinical studies could easily provide us with a window into a new technology that can be applied not only to airway stenosis, but to disorders affecting other patient groups and other hollow organs as well,' said Belafsky, who also serves as medical director of the Voice and Swallowing Center at
'Stem cell-derived airway transplants or bioengineered stents also might be used for a vast array of airway disease,' added Belafsky. 'The methods and technology developed with our project could also be used to treat health disorders that require esophageal, bladder or bowel replacement, where the current standards of care remain very limited and impair quality of life.'
Belafsky and Tarantal said their laryngotracheal reconstruction work is based on some initial preclinical studies that documented rapid cartilage regeneration and epithelial (tissue) re-growth, which suggests that their technique has the potential to restore normal breathing and communication abilities in study subjects. The CIRM-funded research includes an important collaboration with a team in
For more information, visit www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/stemcellresearch.
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