Navigation Links
Biomaterials get stem cells to commit to a bony future

With the help of biomimetic matrices, a research team led by bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego has discovered exactly how calcium phosphate can coax stem cells to become bone-building cells. This work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Jan. 6, 2014.

UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering professor Shyni Varghese and colleagues have traced a surprising pathway from these biomaterials to bone formation. Their findings will help them refine the design of biomaterials that encourage stem cells to give rise to new bone. The researchers say their study may also point out new targets for treating bone defects and bone metabolic disorders such as major fractures and osteoporosis.

The materials are built to mimic the body's own cellular niches, in which undifferentiated or "blank-slate" stem cells from bone marrow transform into specific bone-forming cells. "We knew for years that calcium phosphate-based materials promote osteogenic differentiation of stem cells, but none of us knew why," Varghese said.

"As engineers, we want to build something that is reproducible and consistent," she explained, "so we need to know how building factors contribute to this end."

The researchers found that when phosphate ions gradually dissolve from these materials, they are taken up by the stem cells and used for the production of ATP, a key metabolic molecule. An ATP metabolic product called adenosine then signals the stem cells to commit to becoming bone-forming cells.

Varghese said it was a surprise to her team that "the biomaterials were connected to metabolic pathways. And we didn't know how these metabolic pathways could influence stem cells' commitment to bone formation."

While the PNAS findings only apply to bone building, Varghese and her students at UC San Diego are working on a variety of projects to understand how stem cells thrive and differentiate into a variety of cell types. With this information, they hope to design biomaterials that can be used to help transform stem cells into tissues that may someday replace diseased or degenerated bone, muscle, or blood vessels.

Stem cell research may seem like an unusual endeavor for engineers, but tissue construction and the development of biomaterials have become one more type of "building" in the engineering repertoire, Varghese said.

"But to me, what we do is use engineering principles to solve a biological problem, and by integrating many research disciplines from molecular biology to engineering to medicine," she added.

The first author of the PNAS paper, Yu-Ru V. Shih is a postdoctoral fellow in Varghese's research group, the Bio-inspired Materials and Stem Cell Engineering Group. He came to UC San Diego as part of the UST-UCSD International Center of Excellence in Advanced Bioengineering, sponsored by the Taiwan National Science Council I-RiCE Program. This initiative by the Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM) at UC San Diego is directed by UC San Diego bioengineering professor Shu Chien. During the course of this study, Shih collaborated with Chien and Oscar K. Lee of the department of orthopedics and traumatology at Taipei Veterans General Hospital.

"This research is a testimony to how international collaborations could provide unique opportunities to young researchers to tackle interdisciplinary questions relevant to medical sciences," Varghese said.


Contact: Daniel Kane
University of California - San Diego

Related biology technology :

1. Regulatory Challenges Are Increasingly Limiting Product Availability and Revenues in the US Market for Orthopedic Biomaterials
2. Japanese Orthopedic Biomaterials Market
3. Global Biomaterials Market 2012-2016: Worldwide Industry Latest Market Share, Strategy, Growth, Size, Trends and Forecast Research Report
4. New Information Released on Measuring Zeta Potential and Surface Charge on Biomaterials
5. Biomaterials Market worth $88.4 Billion - 2017
6. Blue Marble Biomaterials Secures Distribution Agreement with SAFC
7. LA Dental Bone Graft Substitute & Other Biomaterials Market Reviewed in New iData Research Report Available at
8. The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine forms Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Committee
9. IntelliCell BioSciences Announces Research Agreement with the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials at Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey
10. Biomaterials China News 1210 - Annual Subscription
11. Piggy-backing proteins ride white blood cells to wipe out metastasizing cancer
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Biomaterials get stem cells to commit to a bony future
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  HUYA Bioscience International, ... China,s pharmaceutical innovations, today announced it has ... Development Fund (KDDF) to foster collaboration between KDDF and ... and commercialization of healthcare products for the global market. ... an important source of new innovative preclinical and clinical ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... San Jose, CA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... the Content Intelligence Company, today announced tighter software integration with MarkLogic, the ... management where organizations maximize information to drive change. , Smartlogic’s Content Intelligence ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... India , November 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... --> Growing popularity of companion diagnostics ... in cancer biomarkers market with pharmaceutical companies ... in-demand companion diagnostic tests. ... --> Complete report on global cancer ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2 nouvelles études permettent d , ... les souches bactériennes retrouvées dans la plaque dentaire ... . Ces recherches  ouvrent une nouvelle voie ... de l,un des problèmes de santé les plus ... --> 2 nouvelles études permettent d , ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/17/2015)... , November 17, 2015 Paris ... 2015.   --> Paris from 17 ... DERMALOG, the biometrics innovation leader, has invented the first ... fingerprints on the same scanning surface. Until now two different ... Now one scanner can capture both on the same ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... BOSTON , Nov. 12, 2015  A golden ... for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) has provided a new ... Boston Children,s Hospital, the Broad Institute of MIT and ... Brazil . Cell, ... some dogs "escape" the disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... About signature verification Signature ... identify and verify the identity of an individual ... secure and accurate method of authentication and is ... because each individual,s signature is highly unique. Signature ... signature of an individual is compared and matched ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):