NEWLY IDEN­TI­FIED STEM CELLS COULD RE­GROW BONES

“IT MAY BE POS­SI­BLE TO UN­COVER THE MECH­A­NISMS THAT UN­DER­LIE TIS­SUE GROWTH AND RE­GEN­ER­A­TION”

Focus-Science and Technology - - DISCOVERIES -

Here’s some­thing worth bon­ing up on: re­searchers at Stan­ford Univer­sity have iden­ti­fied and pro­duced skele­tal stem cells from hu­man in­duced pluripo­tent stem cells – those that can grow into nearly all kinds of cells in the body – for the first time. The dis­cov­ery could lead to treat­ments for a range of de­gen­er­a­tive bone dis­or­ders or even en­able us to grow new bones for re­con­struc­tive surgery fol­low­ing trauma, ac­cord­ing to the team at Stan­ford.

Fol­low­ing on from work iden­ti­fy­ing skele­tal stem cells in mice pub­lished three years ago, the Stan­ford team tracked down sim­i­lar cells that are able to grow into bone and car­ti­lage in hu­man bone mar­row. The team then went on to de­velop a method of grow­ing th­ese skele­tal stem cells from in­duced hu­man pluripo­tent stem cells.

The team now plans to in­ves­ti­gate the dif­fer­ing re­gen­er­a­tive prop­er­ties of dif­fer­ent species of ver­te­brate with an end goal of de­vel­op­ing treat­ments for a broad spec­trum of health con­di­tions rang­ing from age-re­lated dis­eases such as os­teo­poro­sis and os­teoarthri­tis to non-heal­ing skele­tal in­jury, blood dis­or­ders and even cancer.

“By com­par­ing the molec­u­lar and func­tional dif­fer­ences in spe­cific types of stem cells be­tween dif­fer­ent species of ver­te­brates, it may be pos­si­ble to un­cover the mech­a­nisms that un­der­lie tis­sue growth and re­gen­er­a­tion, and ap­ply this un­der­stand­ing to­wards en­hanc­ing health and re­ju­ve­na­tion in hu­mans,” said Charles Chan of the Stan­ford Univer­sity School of Medicine.

Bone (yel­low), car­ti­lage (blue) and mar­row (red) are all present in a sin­gle stem cell de­rived from a hu­man skele­ton

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