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How sound waves could help regrow bones

How sound waves could help regrow bones

 

What happened?

Researchers have used sound waves to turn stem cells into bone cells, in a tissue engineering advance that could one day help patients regrow bone lost to cancer or degenerative disease. The innovative stem cell treatment from researchers at RMIT University offers a smart way forward for overcoming some of the field's biggest challenges, through the precision power of high-frequency soundwaves.

 

Read the original article: https://bit.ly/34YSeC7

 

Why is this important?

Tissue engineering is an emerging field that aims to rebuild bone and muscle by harnessing the human body's natural ability to heal itself. A key challenge in regrowing bone is the need for large amounts of bone cells that will thrive and flourish once implanted in the target area. To date, experimental processes to change adult stem cells into bone cells have used complicated and expensive equipment and have struggled with mass production, making widespread clinical application unrealistic. Additionally, the few clinical trials attempting to regrow bone have largely used stem cells extracted from a patient's bone marrow—a highly painful procedure. In a new study published in the journal Small, the RMIT research team showed stem cells treated with high-frequency sound waves turned into bone cells quickly and efficiently. Importantly, the treatment was effective on multiple types of cells including fat-derived stem cells, which are far less painful to extract from a patient. Co-lead researcher Dr. Amy Gelmi said the new approach was faster and simpler than other methods:

  • "The sound waves cut the treatment time usually required to get stem cells to begin to turn into bone cells by several days," said Gelmi, a Vice-Chancellor's Research Fellow at RMIT.
  • "This method also doesn't require any special 'bone-inducing' drugs and it's very easy to apply to the stem cells.
  • "Our study found this new approach has strong potential to be used for treating the stem cells before we either coat them onto an implant or inject them directly into the body for tissue engineering."
  • The high-frequency sound waves used in the stem cell treatment were generated on a low-cost microchip device developed by RMIT.

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