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UC San Diego engineers develop novel method for accelerated bone growth
Date:1/30/2009

Engineers at the University of California at San Diego have come up with a way to help accelerate bone growth through the use of nanotubes and stem cells. This new finding could lead to quicker and better recovery, for example, for patients who undergo orthopedic surgery.

In recent years, stem cells have become a hot topic of investigation with studies suggesting revolutionary medical benefits due to their ability to be converted into selected types of newly generated cells. During their research, the group of UC San Diego bioengineers and material science experts used a nano-bio technology method of placing mesenchymal stem cells on top of very thin titanium oxide nanotubes in order to control the conversion paths, called differentiation, into osteoblasts or bone building cells. Mesenchymal stem cells, which are different from embryonic stem cells, can be extracted and directly supplied from a patient's own bone marrow.

The researchers described their lab findings in a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), "Stem Cell Fate Dictated Solely by Altered Nanotube Dimension."

"If you break your knee or leg from skiing, for example, an orthopedic surgeon will implant a titanium rod, and you will be on crutches for about three months," said Sungho Jin, co-author of the PNAS paper and a materials science professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering. "But what we anticipate through our research is that if the surgeon uses titanium oxide nanotubes with stem cells, the bone healing could be accelerated and a patient may be able to walk in one month instead of being on crunches for three months.

"Our in-vitro and in-vivo data indicate that such advantages can occur by using the titanium oxide nanotube treated implants, which can reduce the loosening of bones, one of the major orthopedic problems that necessitate re-surgery operations for hip and other implants for patients," Jin adde
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Contact: Andrea Siedsma
asiedsma@soe.ucsd.edu
858-822-0899
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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