It was recently discovered that human embryonic stem cells can be used to grow bone tissue grafts. The use of these grafts in medical research and medical applications is anticipated. The research team responsible for this wonderful news is based at the New York Stem Cell Foundation.
The discovery utilized human embryonic stem cell derived bone cell progenitors. These progenitors were the precursors to the compact bone tissue that was generated. According to the study, centimeter-sized defects in the bone structure could be repaired with the growth of the progenitor cells.
A study conducted on mice, indicated that when the bone cell progenitors were implanted in mice, “ the implanted bone tissue supported blood vessel in-growth, and continued development of normal bone structure, without demonstrating any incidence of tumor growth.”
Since there was a positive result in the experiment, the hope is that a similar occurrence in humans will result. The possibility of repairing and replacing human bone tissue is now closer to existence. There are many medical conditions which will benefit from bone replacement therapies. Critical applications include the healing of traumatic injuries and birth defects.
The head researcher on the project is Dr. Darja Marolt. The findings were part of her post-doctoral research at the New York Stem Cell Foundation. Marolt is currently using pluripotent stem cells (iPS) to generate bone grafts. The advantage of iPS cells is that they are individualized to patients. If they are used to generate patient tissue, they will more readily be accepted by the human body that they are implanted in. Transplants are often hindered by factors such as immune system rejection, which can be overcome if the cells used to generate the transplanted cells are obtained from the patients body.
The findings are available in the online publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. For further details please view the following link: