Stem Cell Therapy May Be of Relief to Burn Victims



Lesley Kelly has a reason to smile after more than 40 years of living with third-degree burns. Though she went through reparative surgeries to fix the burns, which covered more than 60 percent of her body, it wasn’t until the U.K. resident underwent an experimental procedure that proved to be successful. She was able to regain 40 degrees of motion she had lost around her right elbow as a toddler.

When Kelly was two years old, she fell into a hot bathtub that burned most of the right side of her body, and as a result, she lost movement around her joints. For the experimental procedure, surgeons used liposuction to take fat from Kelly’s waist; they then separated the fat cells from the stem and regenerative cells, which were then injected into the wound on her arm to repair some of the damage by giving her more range of motion.

This form of stem cell therapy, approved in the U.K. to treat soft-tissue wounds and created by biotechnology company Cytori Therapeutics Inc., is gaining favor in the U.S. The biotech company has been awarded a U.S. government contract, which may be valued up to $106 million, to use the therapy for the treatment of thermal burns, caused by heat or fire, and radiation burns, caused by high amounts of exposure to radiation.

The two-year contract, in accordance with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), calls for preclinical and clinical research of the therapy. The therapy will first be performed on animals before it can be used to aid humans.

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