Stem cell applications in military medicine

Stem Cell Res Ther. 2011 Oct 19;2(5):40. doi: 10.1186/scrt81.

Abstract

There are many similarities between health issues affecting military and civilian patient populations, with the exception of the relatively small but vital segment of active soldiers who experience high-energy blast injuries during combat. A rising incidence of major injuries from explosive devices in recent campaigns has further complicated treatment and recovery, highlighting the need for tissue regenerative options and intensifying interest in the possible role of stem cells for military medicine. In this review we outline the array of tissue-specific injuries typically seen in modern combat - as well as address a few complications unique to soldiers--and discuss the state of current stem cell research in addressing each area. Embryonic, induced-pluripotent and adult stem cell sources are defined, along with advantages and disadvantages unique to each cell type. More detailed stem cell sources are described in the context of each tissue of interest, including neural, cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal and sensory tissues, with brief discussion of their potential role in regenerative medicine moving forward. Additional commentary is given to military stem cell applications aside from regenerative medicine, such as blood pharming, immunomodulation and drug screening, with an overview of stem cell banking and the unique opportunity provided by the military and civilian overlap of stem cell research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation
  • Immunosuppression
  • Military Medicine*
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy