Adult stem cells used to grow jawbone

Scientists at Columbia University have created part of a human jaw joint by growing human adult stem cells on a tissue scaffold. They say it is the first time a complex, anatomically-sized bone has been accurately created in this way. The research is described in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lead researcher Dr Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic told the BBC: "The availability of personalised bone grafts engineered from the patient's own stem cells would revolutionise the way we currently treat these defects."

The latest study used human adult stem cells taken from bone marrow. These were seeded into a tissue scaffold which had been formed into the precise shape of the human jaw bone by using digital images. Dr Vunjak-Novakovic said: "We thought the jawbone would be the most rigorous test of our technique; if you can make this, you can make any shape." ~ BBC, Oct 10

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