Hohenstein Institute Researchers Develop Textile Coating To Facilitate Adult Stem Cell Colonization

Researchers at the Institute for Hygiene and Biotechnology (IHB) at The Hohenstein Institute — a
Germany-based textile research and testing laboratory with locations worldwide — have created a
textile coating that enables adult human stem cell colonization on the surface fibers of textile
implants. Adult stem cells can be retrieved from many types of human tissues, and the cell colonies
that are obtained from a patient’s body cells allow placement of tiny “all-rounders” at the site of
the damaged tissue, which then enables generation of new cells by the introduction of specific
factors. These mesenchymal stem cells are able to develop into various tissues, such as heart
muscle or bone or cartilaginous tissue. After a certain amount of time, the patient’s body
dissolves the biodegradable implants. Colonizing stem cells on textiles opens up possibilities for
applications in regenerative medicine such as tissues that are irreversibly damaged owing to a
heart attack or spinal cord injury.

“This is an initial success in the direction of textile stem cell therapy,” said Dr. Dirk
Hoefer, manager, IHB. “But we still need to develop better understanding of how stem cells colonize
– meaning interact with – fibers. Therefore, we will continue working on optimizing colonization of
textile implants in order to provide as many cells as possible per unit of fiber surface and with
the required factors in a targeted way.”

The Institute is working on ways to colonize various textiles with human stem cells in the
laboratory and then convert them directly into the cell type of the target tissue. Scientists also
are currently researching a way to color-mark the stem cells so they may be identified and tracked
even after they’ve been absorbed into the intended tissue.

September 22, 2009