APR 16, 2017 10:26 AM PDT

Lab-Grown Bones are Becoming a Reality

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Bones are complicated tissues in our bodies. They vary in size and shape, and even density. Thus when patients are stricken with diseases, like congenital deformities, or damage their bones by accidents, it can be exceedingly challenging for doctors to find and 'install' replacement parts. Even so, bone transplants are the second most common transplanted tissues, next to blood. Thus, finding alternatives to donor bone tissues is of great interest.

Earlier last year, a team from the University of the West of Scotland and the University of Glasgow observed that bones normally need some sort of physical stimulation to thrive. Using high frequency vibrations, called 'nanokicks,' the team found they could stimulate stem cells to differentiate into bone cells.

Scientists have also experimented with fat stem cells and a 3-D-printed bone model as a scaffold with similar promising results. Watch the video to learn more about how bones are being grown in the lab for the clinic!
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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