Stem cell breakthrough could lead to new bone repair therapies on nanoscale surfaces

February 11, 2013

Scientists at the University of Southampton have created a new method to generate bone cells which could lead to revolutionary bone repair therapies for people with bone fractures or those who need hip replacement surgery due to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

The research, carried out by Dr Emmajayne Kingham at the University of Southampton in collaboration with the University of Glasgow and published in the journal Small, cultured human on to the surface of plastic materials and assessed their ability to change.

Scientists were able to use the nanotopographical patterns on the biomedical plastic to manipulate towards bone cells. This was done without any chemical enhancement.

The materials, including the biomedical implantable material polycarbonate plastic, which is a versatile plastic used in things from bullet proof windows to CDs, offer an accessible and cheaper way of culturing human embryonic stem cells and presents new opportunities for future medical research in this area.

Professor Richard Oreffo, who led the University of Southampton team, explains: "To generate for regenerative medicine and further medical research remains a significant challenge. However we have found that by harnessing surface technologies that allow the generation and ultimately scale up of human embryonic stem cells to skeletal cells, we can aid the tissue engineering process. This is very exciting.

"Our research may offer a whole new approach to skeletal regenerative medicine. The use of nanotopographical patterns could enable new cell culture designs, new device designs, and could herald the development of new therapies as well as further human ," Professor Oreffo adds.

The study was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

This latest discovery expands on the close collaborative work previously undertaken by the University of Southampton and the University of Glasgow. In 2011 the team successfully used plastic with embossed nanopatterns to grow and spread adult stem cells while keeping their stem cell characteristics; a process which is cheaper and easier to manufacture than previous ways of working.

Dr Nikolaj Gadegaard, Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology at the University of Glasgow, says: "Our previous collaborative research showed exciting new ways to control mesenchymal stem cell – from the bone marrow of adults – growth and differentiation on nanoscale patterns.

"This new Southampton-led discovery shows a totally different stem cell source, embryonic, also respond in a similar manner and this really starts to open this new field of discovery up. With more research impetus, it gives us the hope that we can go on to target a wider variety of degenerative conditions than we originally aspired to. This result is of fundamental significance."

Explore further: Scientist discovers stem cell 'partnership' that could advance regenerative medicine

More information: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/smll.201202340/abstract

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Electrical circuit made of gel can repair itself

August 25, 2015

(Phys.org)—Scientists have fabricated a flexible electrical circuit that, when cut into two pieces, can repair itself and fully restore its original conductivity. The circuit is made of a new gel that possesses a combination ...

Scientists grow high-quality graphene from tea tree extract

August 21, 2015

(Phys.org)—Graphene has been grown from materials as diverse as plastic, cockroaches, Girl Scout cookies, and dog feces, and can theoretically be grown from any carbon source. However, scientists are still looking for a ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

SoylentGrin
not rated yet Feb 12, 2013
Polycarbonate skeletons that function like natural bones? When can we start upgrading?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.