Scientists in Granada, Spain, have patented a new biomaterial that facilitates generating bone tissue—artificial bones in other words—from umbilical cord stem cells. The material, consisting of an activated carbon cloth support for cells that differentiate giving rise to a product that can promote bone growth, has recently been presented at a press conference at the Biomedical Research Centre, Granada.
Although the method has not yet been applied with 'in vivo' models, laboratory results are highly promising. In the future, they could help manufacture medicines for the repair of bone or osteochondrial, tumor or traumatic lesions, and to replace lost cartilage in limbs. After obtaining artificial bones in the laboratory, the researchers' next step is to implant this biomaterial in experimental animal models—like rats or rabbits—to see if it can regenerate bone in them.
The scientists, from the Biomedical Research Centre and the Faculties of Sciences of the Universities of Granada and Jaén, and the Spanish National Research Council Institute of Parasitology and Biomedicine "López Neyra," have made this important scientific breakthrough after years of research in cell biology, radiobiology, and materials studies.
Ground-breaking, worldwide scientific advance
As the authors of the patent explain, no alternative materials are currently available on the market, nor have any been described in the literature. Precedents exist in the development of materials that fulfill the basic function of stimulating cell differentiation but a biologically complex material similar to bone tissue has never before been produced "ex vivo."
What's more, the method of stem cell differentiation developed in Granada 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. In other words, thanks to this invention, a biomaterial consisting of stem cells supported on activated carbon cloth and capable of generating a product in which osteochondrial and mineralized extracellular organic matrix lineage cells exist, can be obtained.
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.
Following this important scientific finding, the researchers are confident of obtaining the finance needed to be able to continue this work and achieve the ultimate objective of their invention: to regenerate bones by implanting biomaterial in patients with pathologies affecting the osseous system.
Illustration: 'Artificial bone,' or mineralization of the extracellular matrix obtained by the Granada-based scientists thanks to their patent. –University of Granada.
University of Granada News Release (07/18/13)
Science Daily (07/18/13)
Abstract (Journal of Materials Chemistry B; 1, 3359-3368 (2013))
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