Growing Human Bones From Liposuctioned Fat

Human Bones Successfully Grown in Lab From Stem Cells

Scientists could use the technique to reconstruct almost any intricate bone shape in the lab, using digital images as a model

Figuring out a good bone replacement for limbs has proved a problem since the days of the wooden peg leg. Yet scientists have now grown two small bones based on digital images and a 3-D scaffolding, the New York Times reports.

Replacement Bones, Grown to Order in the Lab

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, a professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University, has solved one of many problems on the way to successful bone implants: how to grow new bones in the anatomical shape of the original.

Dr. Vunjak-Novakovic and her research team have created and nourished two small bones from scratch in their laboratory. The new bones, part of a joint at the back of the jaw, were created with human stem cells. The shape is based on digital images of undamaged bones.

Jaw Bone Grown from Adult Stem Cells

Vunjak-Novakovic's technique for turning stem cells into bone was inspired by the body's natural bone-building process. Her team started by analyzing digital images of a patient's jawbone in order to build a scaffold into the precise shape of a TMJ joint. The scaffold itself was made from human bone stripped of living cells. The team then seeded the scaffold with bone marrow stem cells and placed it into a custom-designed bioreactor. The reactor, filled with culture medium, nourished and physically stimulated the cells to form bone. "Bone tissue is metabolically very active," she says. Bone tissue develops best when it is bathed in fluid flowing around it. Vunjak-Novakovic and the team looked into the exact flow rates one needs for optimal effects. After five weeks, they had a four-centimeter-high jawbone that was the precise size and shape of a human TMJ.

Engineering anatomically shaped human bone grafts

Warren L. Grayson, Mirjam Fröhlich, Keith Yeager, Sarindr Bhumiratana, M. Ete Chan, Christopher Cannizzaro, Leo Q. Wan, X. Sherry Liu, X. Edward Guo and Gordana Vunjak-Novakovica

Tissue engineering of anatomically shaped bone grafts. (A–C) Scaffold preparation. (A and B) Clinical CT images were used to obtain high-resolution digital data for the reconstruction of exact geometry of human TMJ condyles. (C) These data were incorporated into MasterCAM software to machine TMJ-shaped scaffolds from fully decellularized trabecular bone. (D) A photograph illustrating the complex geometry of the final scaffolds that appear markedly different in each projection. (E) The scaffolds were seeded in stirred suspension of hMSCs, to 3 million cells per scaffold (≈1-cm3 volume) and precultured statically for 1 week to allow cell attachment, and then the perfusion was applied for an additional 4 weeks. (F) A photograph of perfusion bioreactor used to cultivate anatomically shaped grafts in vitro. (G–I) Key steps in bioreactor assembly (see Movie S1).

Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Research

Osteochondral Tissue Engineering

  1. Human Bones Successfully Grown in Lab From Stem Cells | Popular Science
  2. Novelties - Replacement Bones, Grown to Order in the Lab - NYTimes.com
  3. Jaw bone grown from adult stem cells
  4. Engineering anatomically shaped human bone grafts — PNAS
  5. Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Research
  1. Stem Cells Used to Create New Jaw Bone | Singularity Hub
  2. Scientists Grow Human Bones from Liposuctioned Fat | Inhabitat
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