Bone marrow stem cells have been found to play a new role in wound repair, suggesting that they could be used to enhance healing.

The findings, by researcher Frank Isik and colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle, could lead to bone marrow-derived stem cell treatments that promote healing for chronic wounds, such as those that plague people with diabetes.

“Wounds may not heal the way we thought they did,” says researcher Richard Ikeda of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. “This study shows that bone marrow stem cells, in addition to cells from the surrounding tissue, may actually contribute to the healing process. If this is the case, it could lead to completely new ways of treating serious wounds.”

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