Come Next Year and the World Will See First Stem Cell Trial

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Stem Cell Trial

Doctors from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and UK’s Great Ormond Street Hospital will undertake the world’s first clinical trial next year to inject fetal stem cells into babies in womb to reduce the symptoms of brittle bone diseases. The brittle bone disease also known as osteogenesis imperfecta affects around one in every 25,000 births.

The disease can be fatal for babies who are born with multiple fractures. Babies who survive can have up to 15 bone fractures in a year, brittle teeth, impaired hearing and growth problems. The disease is caused by errors in a developing baby’s DNA in which collagen – a flexible material that strengthens bone is either of poor quality or missing. Doctors will inject 20-week-old fetuses with stromal stem cells containing unmutated copies of the collagen gene. The stem cells will come from terminated pregnancies.

The experiment will begin in January 2016 wherein doctors aim to treat 15 fetuses and 15 babies with the condition. The former will have infusion before and after birth whereas the next 15 will have treatment after birth. Thereafter the number of fractures will be compared with that of untreated patients. 

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