Mesenchymal Stem Cell

Medical technologies and treatments have evolved over time in response to the changing nature of diseases. There was a time when diseases such as plague and cholera were considered deadly. However, because of powerful antibiotics discovered and commercialized in the last 7 decades, they are no longer a threat to our generation. Likewise, smallpox and polio have been expertly controlled after the

invention of vaccines. The modern age, diseases such as cancer, HIV, diabetes and cardiac diseases necessitate alternative medical breakthrough technology. This is where regenerative medical science gives us some promising hope.

Stem cell technology is swiftly evolving and is emerging as the most exciting and reliable field of life science. Stem cells are the cells in the body that can not only self-replicate but can also differentiate into various tissue and organ types. These cells can be obtained from various sources, such as bone marrow, embryo, fetus, adipose tissue, and umbilical cord blood and tissue.

What are Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs)?

Mesenchymal Stem Cells are 'Multipotent Stem Cells', meaning they can produce more than one type of specialized cells of the body, but not all types. MSCs can differentiate into osteoblasts, chondrocytes, tenocytes, skeletal myocytes, and cells of the visceral mesoderm.

Distinct Biological Properties of MSCs :

Mesenchymal Stem Cells show some starkly distinct properties from other stem cells, which makes them very attractive for researchers all over the world!

▪ Some studies have revealed that the differentiation potential of MSCs extends beyond the conventional mesodermal lineage, as they can also differentiate into cells of the ectodermal and endodermal origin, such as hepatocytes (liver cells), neurons, and cardiomyocytes (heart cells).

▪ MSCs can suppress immune cells independently of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) identity between donor and recipient due to their low expression of MHCII and other costimulatory molecules. That means the chances of Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) are very low with MSCs. These are natural immune-suppressants. This facilitates allogenic transplantation.

▪ A number of studies have suggested that, MSCs have the capacity to migrate to sites of inflammation and tumor microenvironments.

The Promising Features of MSCs in Regenerative Medicine :
▪ Due to their distinct biological properties, MSCs can be used for transplants to suppress graft rejection immune response from the host.
▪ MSC therapy is an attractive candidate for cardiovascular repair due to its regenerative and immunomodulatory properties.

Clinical trials using MSCs to improve cardiac function have also yielded encouraging results.
[more info]
▪ MSCs have also been proposed as a treatment for autoimmune diseases. Patients suffering from severe autoimmune diseases do not respond to standard therapy and often require autologous or allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Treatment. The use of MSCs is however a more feasible and safe option, as it modulate immune responses.
▪ MSCs have also been used to treat cirrhosis in a limited number of trials. [more info]
▪ MSCs are emerging as vehicles for cancer gene therapy due to their inherent migratory abilities toward tumors. Whether MSCs themselves have antitumor effects is still controversial. [more info]

In recent years, umbilical cord derived stem cell banking has gained popularity in India. The youngest and most primitive MSCs can be obtained from umbilical cord tissue, viz. Wharton’s Jelly. Globally, there are ~ 800 active MSCs clinical trials today (clinicaltrials.gov), and this number is increasing significantly year-over-year. Currently, countries such as USA and Germany have a very rapidly expanding stem cell markets.

HiMedia and MSCs

HiMedia ventured into the Mesenchymal Stem Cell market in 2011. The mesenchymal cell culture platform from HiMedia offers a range of products such as mesenchymal stem cells (HiFi™), expansion media (HiMesoXL™), expansion kits (EZXpand™) and differentiation media to facilitate rapid expansion and healthy differentiation of stem cells. All of these are provided in the Indian market at very affordable prices with a quality that is at par with international standards.

The HiFi mesenchymal cell lines are derived from Wharton’s Jelly (HWJ-MSC), human Adipose tissue (HAD-MSC), and human dental pulp (HDP-MSC). Based on these types, there are differentiation media for Adipocytes (HiAdipoXL™), Osteocytes (HiOsteoXL™) and Chondrocytes (HiChondroXL™). In addition to this, HiMedia also offers staining kits for all three differentiated cell types of mesenchymal stem cells (EZstain™).

The stem cell platform from HiMedia is a One Point Solution (OPS) for Mesenchymal Stem Cell applications in India, thus contributing to the growth of global Mesenchymal Stem Cell industry.