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Study shows that delivering stem cells improves repair of major bone injuries in rats
Date:1/11/2010

that we still need to develop an improved way of delivering the stem cells so that they stay alive longer and thus remain at the injury site longer," explained Guldberg.

The researchers also found that the quantum dots diminished the function of the transplanted stem cells and thus their therapeutic effect. When the stem cells were labeled with quantum dots, the results showed a failure to enhance bone formation or bridge defects. However, the same low concentration of quantum dots did not affect cell viability or the ability of the stem cells to become bone cells in laboratory studies.

"Although in vitro laboratory studies remain important, this work provides further evidence that well-characterized in vivo models are necessary to test the ability of regenerative tissue strategies to effectively integrate and restore function in complex living organisms," added Guldberg. "Improved methods of non-invasive cell tracking that do not alter cell function in vivo are needed to optimize stem cell delivery strategies and compare the effectiveness of different stem cell sources for tissue regeneration."

Guldberg is currently exploring alternative cell tracking methods, such as genetically modifying the stem cells to express green fluorescent protein and/or other luminescent enzymes such as luciferase. He is also investigating the addition of programming cues to the scaffold that will direct the stem cells to differentiate into bone cells. These signals may be particularly effective for fetal stem cells, which are believed to be more primitive than adult stem cells, according to Guldberg.

Lessons learned from the current work are also being applied to develop effective stem cell therapies for severe composite injuries to multiple tissues including bone, nerve, vasculature and muscle. This follow-on work is being conducted in the Georgia Tech Center for Advanced Bioengineering for Soldier Survivability in collaboration with Ravi Bel
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Contact: Abby Vogel
avogel@gatech.edu
404-385-3364
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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