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Seaweed used to transport stem cells


A research team at Newcastle University has discovered a newly developed technique of putting stem cells into plasters and bandages to help heal wounds.

The stem cells were encased in an alginate gel, a natural material extracted from seaweed, in order to prolong their life. The study found that after three days at a range of temperatures, up to 90% of the stem cells were still viable.

Previous scientific evidence has been able to demonstrate that stem cells can be used to improve wound healing. However, these stem cells have had to be stored and handled by experts under specialised conditions. This alternative method offers an effective solution to many of the challenges of transporting cell cultures.

Using the alginate solution, the team from Newcastle University has been able to develop stem cell beads and also a gel that can be put into a mould to form a jelly pad or film.

Dr Stephen Swioklo describes the process: “One circular disc just an inch diameter was demonstrated in our study to effectively preserve a million stem cells and could easily contain up to 10 million.”

Stem cell treatment requires a perfect match for the patient to avoid having to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of their life. A perfect match can only come from your own stem cells and it is recommended that you have them extracted from your naturally shed baby teeth. This method of extraction means that the quality will not have been compromised by age or pollution and it also has the benefit of being non-invasive.