Background: Recent evidence indicates that bone marrow contains stem cells with the potential for differentiation into a variety of tissues, including endothelium, liver, muscle, bone, and skin. It may thus be plausible that bone marrow-derived cells can provide progenitor and/or stem cells to wounds during healing. Our objective in this study was to establish proof of principle that bone marrow-derived cells applied to chronic wounds can lead to closure of nonhealing wounds. We applied autologous bone marrow cells to chronic wounds in 3 patients with wounds of more than 1-year duration. These patients had not previously responded to standard and advanced therapies, including bioengineered skin application and grafting with autologous skin.
Observations: Complete closure and evidence of dermal rebuilding was observed in all patients. Findings suggesting engraftment of applied cells was observed in biopsy specimens of treated wounds. Clinical and histologic evidence of reduced scarring was also observed.
Conclusion: Directly applied bone marrow-derived cells can lead to dermal rebuilding and closure of nonhealing chronic wounds.