Washington: Scientists have successfully developed `artificial bones` from umbilical cord stem cells, paving way for repair of bones and replacement of lost cartilage in limbs.
Scientists in Granada, Spain, patented a new bio-material that facilitates generating bone tissue or artificial bones. The material consists of an activated carbon cloth support for cells that differentiate giving rise to a product that can promote bone growth.
Although the method has not yet been applied in living organisms, laboratory results are highly promising. In the future, they could help manufacture medicines for the repair of bone or osteochondrial, tumour or traumatic lesions and to replace lost cartilage in limbs, researchers said.
After obtaining artificial bones in the laboratory, the researchers` next step is to implant this bio-material in experimental animal models like rats or rabbits to see if it can regenerate bone in them.
The scientists have made this important scientific breakthrough after years of research in cell biology, radiobiology and materials studies.
No alternative materials are currently available on the market, nor have any been described in the literature, researchers said.
Precedents exist in the development of materials that fulfil the basic function of stimulating cell differentiation but a biologically complex material similar to bone tissue has never before been produced "ex vivo".
The method of stem cell differentiation uses a three-dimensional support and facilitates obtaining cell types implicated in bone regeneration in cell culture conditions not requiring additional differentiation factors or factors that differ from those present in the cell culture serum.
Thanks to this invention, a bio-material consisting of stem cells supported on activated carbon cloth and capable of generating a product in which osteochondrial and mineralised extracellular organic matrix lineage cells exist, can be obtained, researchers said.
The patent developed in Granada could have numerous applications in stem cell use in regenerative medicine, as well as in treating bone tissue and cartilage lesion problems.