Some smart researchers at the University of South Carolina are looking at enzymes in our blood that may be important in the healing cascade and in putting stem cells into an “activated” state.
In their study in mice, they identified an enzyme called Hepatocyte Growth Factor Activator (HGFA) that is always in the blood stream but doesn’t activate until the body sustains an injury. HGFA, once activated by injury signals the stem cells to enter an alert state. “Alert” stem cells have a greater ability to heal and repair damaged tissues. The study is interesting and maybe has identified another thing in blood (think IRAP and a2M) that could be isolated and used to promote healing in orthobiologics. HGFA is interested in that it directly “turns on” stem cells and may be one of the factors that is giving us our clinical outcomes that hasn’t been studied much yet.