Predictions from the Universities of Edinburgh and Southampton disclose that artificial bone, created by using stem cells and a new lightweight plastic, is on the horizon. We could soon see how this process could help heal shattered limbs. The process of bone stem cell transplant encourages regrowth of bone when stem cells are combined with a degradable rigid material, then inserted into broken bones.
Researchers used a honeycomb scaffold structure that allows blood flow through it and stem cells from the patient to attach. Over time, new bone grows and the plastic slowly degrades. Successful and fruitful results for artificial bones created from stem cells have been demonstrated in the lab and animal testing. The focus is now moving towards human clinical evaluations.
Prof. Mark Bradley of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry adds, “We were able to make and look at a hundreds of candidate materials and rapidly whittle these down to one which is strong enough to replace bone and is also a suitable surface upon which to grow new bone.”
The study, published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. This new discovery is the result of a seven-year partnership between the Univ. of Southampton and the Univ. of Edinburgh. Read more about the study.