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Human muscle stem cells from blood vessels

EuroStemCell researcher Giulio Cossu and his team from the San Raffaele Scientific Institute this week reported an important development in their quest to develop new treatments for muscular dystrophy.

EuroStemCell researcher Giulio Cossu and his team from the San Raffaele Scientific Institute this week reported an important development in their quest to develop new treatments for muscular dystrophy. The Milan-based scientists have isolated a stem cell population from adult human blood vessels, and used these stem cells to regenerate muscles in a mouse model of muscular dystrophy. The blood vessel-derived stem cells were injected into the bloodstream of dystrophic mice. By this delivery mechanism they were able to reach a large proportion of affected muscle tissue and generate healthy muscle cells to replace damaged fibres. Unlike the satellite cell, another type of muscle stem cell, these blood vessel stem cells can be expanded in large numbers in the lab, cross the vessel wall and migrate throughout the body. They also demonstrate greater potential to give rise to muscle tissue than other kinds of muscle stem cell. Together, these factors make the new stem cells a good prospect for future cell-based therapies for muscular dystrophy. This work was published online this week in Nature Cell Biology.

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