Researchers have developed a drug that can mimic inflammation signals to lure stem cells to damaged tissue, without causing any further inflammation. The technique could be a boon for regenerative medicine to treat neurological disorders.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury and damage, swelling up to allow better blood flow to the area. It also acts like a “fire alarm” to attract the attention of the immune system to help the healing process, and stem cells are some of the most important responders.
In theory, inflammation could be used to lure these regenerative stem cells to injuries, but of course there are risks. Chronic inflammation underlies conditions like arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease, and has even been linked to cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s and depression.