The clinical effectiveness of stem cell therapy has been, to say the least, modest. Part of this may be the result of the advanced age of some patients or the effects of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, say researchers in a review article (“Autologous Stem Cell Therapy: How Aging and Chronic Diseases Affect Stem and Progenitor Cells”),” published in BioResearch Open Access, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Scientists from Moscow State University analyze how aging and chronic diseases might affect the regenerative potential of autologous stem cells and explain the differences between the promising results reported in preclinical studies using stem cells derived from healthy young donors and the more modest success of clinical studies in aged patients. The paper’s authors propose strategies to test for and enhance the regenerative properties and therapeutic potential of stem cells in the article.

“Aging and chronic diseases, including [cardiovascular disease] and diabetes substantially affect stem/progenitor cells of adult organism” write the investigators. “Such conditions could restrict the effectiveness of autologous cell therapy in aged patients with CAD [coronary artery disease], CVD [cardiovascular disease], lower limb ischemia, T2DM [diabetes mellitus type 2] and other chronic pathologies, although these patients are some of the most obvious candidates for cell therapy. These findings also indicate the necessity of careful testing of autologous cell material before use as well as developing effective approaches for pretreatment or modification of stem/progenitor cells from aged patients with multiple comorbidities to enhance therapeutic potential and stimulate endogenous regenerative processes.”