discoveries magazine

Healed From Within

Stem cells regrow damaged tissue.

Illustrations by Peter O'Toole

1. The Need

Wounded soldiers and civilians as well as accident survivors often undergo painful surgeries that may still fail to return limbs to normal function.

2. The Goal

Devise a way to encourage the body to regrow its own tissue.

3. The Technique

By injecting microbubbles mixed with a patient’s DNA into the affected area and then applying ultrasound waves, the patient’s stem cells can be activated to regenerate missing tissue and heal injuries without invasive surgery.

4. The Innovators

Zulma Gazit, PhD, (left), and Dan Gazit, DMD, PhD, (right), co-directors of the Skeletal Regeneration and Stem Cell Therapy Program; and Gadi Pelled, DMD, PhD, (center), assistant professor of Surgery

5. The Support

The Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health have awarded nearly $8 million to Cedars-Sinai to advance the technique—including funding to help take it to human clinical trials.

6. The Future

“The approach of activating the patient’s own stem cells could provide a platform for myriad clinical applications, such as heart and skin regeneration,” says Clive Svendsen, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, and the Kerry and Simone Vickar Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Regenerative Medicine.