NJIT Presidential Award winner takes stem cell research another step

Treena Arinzeh, a young professor who last year won a Presidential Award, the nation's highest scientific honor, is bringing the promise of stem cell research one step closer to reality.

Arinzeh, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at NJIT, is researching the use of stem cells to induce bone repair. Her research will help diabetics whose impaired bones will not properly heal. She is using adult stem cells, in combination with allografts donated bone tissue - to regenerate and repair the patients' damaged bones. She is performing tests on diabetic animals, after which she'll test patients at the clinical level.

Arinzeh is collaborating on the research with Sheldon L. Lin, MD, an assistant professor of orthopaedics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark. Arinzeh has received a $100,000 grant from the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation to support the team's research.

"People suffering from diabetes have impaired bone healing," Arinzeh said. "So the question is how to treat patients suffering from bone fractures and other defects that may not heal because they are also suffering from other disorders. We are looking at the current treatment for repairing bone defects, which is the use of allograft tissue, as well as newer treatments such as combining allograft with stem cells."

One day soon, as a result of Arinzeh's research, patients could be treated with off-the-shelf stem-cell therapies instead of drugs. In five years, say, a patient with a bone ailment would visit a doctor and be injected with a ready supply of stem cells. The cells would seek out the patient's damaged bone tissue and begin to generate healthy tissue. After six months of treatments, the patient's bone would begin to heal.

Arinzeh's drive to advance the science of stem cell research has gained her national recognition. In the fall, she earned the highest honor given to a young researcher by President Bush: Th

Contact: Robert Florida
New Jersey Institute of Technology

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