Artificial Bones From Umbilical Cord Stem Cells

I am back from vacation. We visited some colleges in Indiana for my daughter who will be a senior this year. She really liked Taylor University and Anderson University. We’ll see if the tuition exchange works out.

Now to blogging.

Scientists from Granada, Spain have patented a hew biomaterial that consists of activated carbon cloth that just happens to be able to support the growth of cells that have the ability to regenerate bone. These results came from experiments that were conducted outside any living animals, but they hope to confirm these results in a living animal in the near future.

This new biomaterial facilitates the growth of bone-making cells derived from umbilical cord stem cells. This activated carbon cloth acts as a scaffold for cells that differentiate into “osteoblasts,” which are bone-building cells. This activated carbon cloth gives the osteoblasts a proper surface upon which to promote the growth of new bone.

Bone loss as a result of cancer, trauma, or degenerative bone diseases requires replacement bone to heal to damaged bone. Making new bone in the laboratory that can be transplanted is an optimal strategy for treating these patients.

Even though this laboratory-made bone was not used in living laboratory animals to date, the laboratory results look quite impressive. In the future, such techniques could help manufacture medicines or other sources of material to repair bone or lost cartilage. Once such artificial bone has been made in the laboratory, the Spanish team hopes to transplant it into rats or rabbits to determine if it can regenerate bone in such creatures.

Presently, no materials exist to replace lost bone. The method used to make bone by the research team from Granada uses a three-dimensional support that facilitates the production of those cell types that regenerate bone without the need for additional growth factors.

The growth of these umbilical cord stem cells on activated carbon cloth produced a product that could produce organic bone, but also mineralize the organic bone matrix. This patent could have numerous clinical applications in regenerative medicine and the Granada group hopes to obtain funding to continue this work and achieve their ultimate objective: to regenerate bones by implanting biomaterial in patients with bone diseases.

First Human Study Using Dental Stem Cells

This is an old paper, but it is still a good read.

November 12th 2009 the first clinical study involving human dental stem cells was published in the journal European Cells and Materials journal.

This study examined patients with impacted wisdom teeth who also had bone loss (resorption) at the site of impaction. Such a bone defect does not repair on its own after the wisdom teeth are removed. Therefore, the researchers used a mixture of dental pulp stem cells harvested from the patient’s non-impacted, upper wisdom teeth and placed them onto a “scaffold” made of collagen sponge. They then used this mixture to fill in the injured areas that remained after the impacted teeth were removed from the lower jaw. The area in the upper jaw served as a control, or comparison, since no dental stem cells were used in that region.

Three months after treatment, the bone had completely regenerated at the injury site and the periodontal tissue had been restored. In the seven patients who returned for one-year follow-up examinations, optimal bone regeneration was observed. The investigators concluded that dental stem cells embedded onto a collagen sponge scaffold can completely restore bone defects in the human jaw. Furthermore, these cells have the potential to repair and/or regenerate tissues and organs.

Before the publication of this paper, jaw defects had been repaired using dental stem cells in an animal model, but never in humans. In fact, no dental stem cell therapies have ever been used in human patients. This bone grafting study is very exciting for the future promise of dental stem cell therapies. It does not matter if the dental stem cells come from a dental stem cell bank, such as the National Dental Pulp Laboratory, or individuals who wish to preserve their own or their children’s pulp in order to have a source of stem cells that they might be able to put to use for future medical needs.