Stem cell discovery could drive new bone repair therapies

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Adding to the list of potential treatments scientists hope to derive from embryonic stem cells, researchers at the University of Southampton in the U.K. think new bone repair therapies could be within reach.

Working in collaboration with the University of Glasgow, scientists created a new method to generate bone cells by culturing human embryonic stem cells onto the surface of biomedical implantable polycarbonate plastic materials and assessing the cells' ability to change.

Without chemical enhancement, scientists used the embossed nanopatterns on the biomedical plastic to manipulate human embryonic stem cells into bone cells. The study was published in the science journal Small.

Scientists say generating bone cells for regenerative medicine and further medical research remains challenging.

"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," said Richard Oreffo, a professor who led the University of Southampton team.

The biomedical plastic materials could offer a more accessible way to culture human embryonic stem cells and opens the door for future medical research into bone repair therapies for people with bone fractures or those who need hip replacement surgery due to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

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

- read the press release

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