A new research finds that tendons stem cells could help in accelerating the process of tendon healing. The same research also points to the possible use of tendon stem cells for bypassing invasive surgeries. The research led by Chen-Ming Fan from Carnegie, is published in Nature Cell Biology. Tendon injuries such as jumper’s knee or torn rotator cuff are painful and take time to heal. Besides, these injuries may also be responsible for secondary tendon rupture. Therefore, it was important for medical researchers to develop a quick-healing and pain-free method for treatment.
Functions of Tendons
Tendons are responsible for muscle movement, and they tether the muscles to the bones. Furthermore, tendons offer stability to the body by allowing force to transfer from the muscles to the overall limbs. However, the susceptibility of the tendons to injury and damage makes them a critical part of the body. In severe cases of injury, tendons become irreparable, limiting an individual’s movements and subjecting them to excruciating pain. A surgery becomes mandatory in all such cases. Fan reveals that his team studied the various cell types pertaining to the patellar tendon. Their work made a breakthrough in cell research by finding tendon stem cells.
Refuting the Fallacies
Since tendon injuries did not recover completely, it was previously assumed that tendon stem cells were inexistent. However, Fan’s team refuted all such claims after discovering tendon stem cells beneath the kneecap. The team found that tendon stem cells and fibrous scar tissue cells have the same area of origin. The tendon stem cells coexist with fibrous scars near this area, and this explains the difficulties in tendon healing. Tendon stem cells need to outplay the fibrous scars in order to accelerate the process of healing.