When stem cells are used to regenerate bone tissue, many wind up migrating away from the repair site, which disrupts the healing process. But a technique employed by BMES Member Danielle Benoit and her University of Rochester research team keeps the stem cells in place, resulting in faster and better tissue regeneration.
The key, as explained in a paper published in Acta Biomaterialia, is encasing the stem cells in polymers that attract water and disappear when their work is done. The technique is similar to what has already been used to repair other types of tissue, including cartilage, but had never been tried on bone.
Our success opens the door for many-and more complicated-types of bone repair, said Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Benoit.
For example, we should now be able to pinpoint repairs within the periosteum-or outer membrane of bone material.