Researchers have developed a pioneering simple new technique to generate cells that can go on to re-grow damaged cartilage and even bone, revolutionizing Arthritis treatment.
Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Centre in the US, have used a combination of small molecules to generate mouse cells that can form bone and cartilage and said that the new method could allow them to re-grow broken bones and mend cartilage damage to back discs and joints, the Daily Express reported.
The research team, led by Dr Naoki Nakayama, created special stem cells known as pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryos, which has the ability to become any cell type in the body and then used small molecules to persuade them to turn into cells that can form cartilage, called chondrocytes.
Nakayama said that current cell generation strategies generally use proteins to direct the stem cells to give rise to functional cells of interest and such proteins act on the target cells through multiple mechanisms, not all of which necessarily help to achieve the overall goal of generating chondrocytes.
Using embryonic stem cells and small molecules, the team was able to generate cells that look and behave like chondrocyte precursor cells that are destined to form cartilage for the formation of backbone and disc. When such cartilage was transplanted into mice, they were able to form bone-like structures.
The study was published in the journal Development.