Professors Suchitra Holgersson and Michael Olausson have received 400,000 SEK to their stem cell research. The research project lays the foundation for future repairing of the body, instead of transplanting.
Suchitra Holgersson and Michael Olausson, both active at the Sahlgrenska Academy and Sahlgrenska University Hospital, were in early July awarded SEK 200 000 each from the Gelin Fund. Together they have already created new veins, blood vessels that lead blood back to the heart, with the help of stem cells. Now they set about to recreate the arteries, blood vessels that carry blood out of the body, and liver tissue.
Although it probably will take a while before the healthcare manages to recreate an entire liver using stem cells Michael Olausson is hopeful.
- Suddenly we make discoveries that will allow us to take quick steps forward. For example, we have transplanted organ for 60 years, but more progress has been made in the last ten years than was made in all the previous 50 years.
Better knowledge of storage and preservation of organs
A positive side effect of this type of research is that it provides knowledge that will come in handy in other areas. For example, it teaches researchers how to store and preserve kidneys and other organs for a long time outside the body.
- It would be very helpful if we could not only keep a kidney in 10 to 24 hours but maybe up to four weeks. In that case, one can imagine that one could treat organs outside the body with strong medications that can not be given directly to a patient, says Michael Olausson.
The method of recreating for example blood vessels and liver tissue with stem cells means that cells, genetic material, DNA and RNA are excluded from existing blood vessels or liver tissue. When only a kind of shell remains you use the patient’s own stem cells to rebuild it again. The advantage of this method is that the patient does not need to take medicines to prevent rejection because the new blood vessel or liver tissue is accepted as a natural part of the body.