The development of cellular therapies could lead to advances in the treatment of trauma and critical care injuries

In recent years, significant advances have been made in treating those who have suffered severe hemorrhage and trauma, with the methods used to stop bleeding and resuscitate patients having made the largest strides. However, we currently provide little more than supportive care to those who survive the initial trauma. Since trauma is the leading cause of death for those aged 1 through 44, it is important that we develop therapeutic treatments for intermediate and long-term recovery.

An emerging area of particular interest in the treatment and rehabilitation of trauma survivors is the use of cellular therapy (CT), which can potentially be used to both prevent secondary injury and support the repair of injured tissues. Recent studies conducted with both animals and humans have shown that CT may be effective in treating conditions such as traumatic brain, spinal cord, and acute kidney injuries, organ failure, and burns, along with healing soft-tissue damage in the extremities.

Currently, there are two types of CT with significant potential for long-term healing. One is adult multipotent cells, which have the ability to replicate a limited number of differentiated cell types. The other type is pluripotent stem cells, which have an unlimited capacity for self-renewal and can also differentiate into any kind of cell in the body. Adult multipotent cells are more useful for the prevention of future injury and repair of injured tissues, whereas pluripotent cells are better suited for the replacement of cells in lost or injured tissue.

It’s evident that research involving CT could lead to a significant difference in how physicians care for patients healing from trauma, as well as how well these patients are able to return to a sense of normalcy after suffering from such extreme injuries.

For more information on the use of CT for trauma treatment, check out this article recently published in PlosMedicine.

By: Rebecca Yount