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

d. "Such a major re-surgery, especially for older people, is a health risk and significant inconvenience, and is also undesirable from the cost point of view."

This is the first study of its kind using stem cells attached to titanium oxide nanotube implants. Jin and his research team which include Jacobs School bioengineering professors Shu Chien and Adam Engler, as well as post doctoral researcher Seunghan Oh and other graduate students and researchers report that the precise change in nanotube diameter can be controlled to induce selective differentiation of stem cells into osteoblast (bone-forming) cells. Karla Brammer, a Jacobs School materials science graduate student, will also present these findings in a poster session during Research Expo on February 19.

According to this breakthrough research, nanotubes with a larger diameter cause cells growing on their surface to elongate much more than those with a small diameter. The larger diameter nanotube promotes quicker and stronger bone growth. "The use of nano topography to induce preferred differentiation was reported in recent years by other groups, but such studies were done mostly on polymer surfaces, which are not desirable orthopedic implant materials," Jin said.

It is common for physicians and surgeons to use chemicals for stem cell implants in order to control cell differentiation, a conversion into a certain desired type of cells, for example, to neural cells, heart cells, and bone cells. However, introducing chemicals into the human body can sometimes have undesirable side effects. "What we have accomplished here is a way to introduce desirable guided differentiation using only nanostructures instead of resorting to chemicals," said Seunghan (Brian) Oh, who is the lead author of the PNAS article.

The next step for engineers will be to work with orthopedic surgeons and other colleagues at the UC San Diego School of Medicine to study ways to translate this breakthrough resear
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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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