"Very small embryonic-like stem cells" (VSELs) is one name given to populations of stem cells in the adult body that appear to share some characteristics with embryonic stem cells - such as the ability to differentiate into multiple cell types. If this pans out, these cells will be useful in therapy - and here is news of an upcoming trial:
Preparations are underway for the first known human trial to use embryonic-like stem cells collected from adult cells to grow bone. [The] research partners hypothesize that the VSEL stem cells, which mimic properties of embryonic stem cells, can provide a minimally invasive way to speed painful bone regeneration for dental patients and others with bone trauma.
Within a year, researchers hope to begin recruiting roughly 50 patients who need a tooth extraction and a dental implant. Before extracting the tooth, [researchers] harvest the patient's cells, and then NeoStem's VSEL technology is used to purify and isolate those VSEL stem cells from the patient's other cells. This allows [researchers] to implant pure populations of the VSEL stem cells back into test patients. Control patients receive their own cells, not the VSELs. After the new bone grows, researchers remove a small portion of it to analyze, and replace it with an implant.
"We're taking advantage of the time between extraction and implant to see if these cells will expedite healing time and produce better quality bone. They are natural cells that are already in your body, but NeoStem's technology concentrates them so that we can place a higher quantity of them onto the wound site."