Stem Cell

Stem Cells Try, But Fail, to Repair ACL Injuries

Credit: Beaumont Health

Newswise — The human body has a stockpile of stem cells, armed and ready to respond and repair damage to a variety of cells and tissues. Researchers have known heart attacks and strokes summon these cells, but, scientists recently discovered other injuries, like a torn ACL of the knee, could command the army of stem cells to deploy.

However, when the stem cells arrive to help regenerate and repair the injured ligament, they get stuck. They can’t get through the thick membrane that surrounds the knee joint.

The discovery, described in a recent study by researchers at Beaumont Health, revealed ACL tears send a signal to stem cells throughout our body. This could lead to future breakthroughs to enable stem cells to repair injuries and reduce development of conditions like osteoarthritis.

The research was conducted by Kevin Baker, Ph.D., Beaumont director of Orthopedic Research, and Beaumont orthopedic surgeon Kyle Anderson, M.D.

Dr. Baker and his colleagues found a six-fold increase in stem cells circulating around the knee, similar to the body’s response to a major, life-threatening event like a stroke or heart attack.

“We think this discovery…