Imperial College London scientists claim that they have moved a step closer to making replacement bones for patients with damaged or fractured bones using stem cell technology.
The researchers say that they compared "bone-like" materials grown from three different commonly used clinically relevant cell types, and found significant differences between the quality of bone-like material that these can form.
AdvertisementThey have revealed that the "bone-like" materials grown from bone cells from mouse skull and mouse bone marrow stem cells successfully mimicked many of the hallmarks of real bone, which include stiffness.
However, they say, the 'bone-like' material grown from mouse embryonic stem cells was much less stiff and less complex in its mineral composition, when compared to the other materials.
They stress the need for further research to explore the implications of their findings for different stem cell therapies.
"Many patients who have had bone removed because of tumours or accidents live in real pain. By repairing bone defect sites in the body with bone-like material that best mimics the properties of their real bone we could improve their lives immeasurably.
Our study provides an important insight into how different cell sources can really influence the quality of bone that we can produce. It brings us one step closer to developing materials that will have the highest chance of success when implanted into patients," Nature magazine quoted Professor Molly Stevens, from the Department of Materials and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London, as saying.
The researchers have also revealed that, for their analysis, they used laser-based raman spectroscopy to understand the detailed chemical make-up of live cells as they grew and multivariate statistical analysis techniques, which enabled them to compare and analyse data about the growth of different cell populations.
They also used a nano-indenter and high resolution electron microscopy, which allowed the researchers to probe the samples so that they could understand how stiff the bone-like materials were and what their structure was at a microscopic level.
A research article describing their study has been published in the journal Nature Materials.
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