Delivering healing genes

I’ve been wondering for months now how in the world the doctors were going to deliver all these stem cells we are all so excited about. Well, I don’t know if this is going to be relevant, but it sure sounds like it to me.

Stents have traditionally been used mainly to hold open blood vessels that weren’t free-flowing enough. Lots of issues arose around that, including narrowing of the stents themselves, and inflammation caused by the coatings.

Now researchers have been able to coat bare metal stents with therapeutic genes that help heal surrounding blood vessels, thus avoiding the inflammation of other types of coatings. Right now, it’s being done with Animal Heart Vessels, but the promise for humans is great. Delivering a beneficial biological substance on a metal surface. So this means that if you get a metallic implant (they mention artificial joints and orthopedic pins and rods, pacemaker electrodes, and titanium tooth implants–I wonder about heart valves?) you can get some good stuff delivered, too.

Could they use this approach–say, temporarily insert a metal device that can deliver stem cells to the tissue that needs healing? I don’t know if I’m interpreting this right, but it sure would be nice if it turns out that way.