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Specially prepared titanium mesh and bone marrow cells have made it possible to allow new bone cells to grow in bone fractures. Researchers inserted a titanium mesh scaffold into a bone fracture in a rat. They allowed bone marrow cells to grow on this and the bone marrow cells stimulated new bone growth. In combination with bone marrow cells, titanium mesh forms a good culture medium for new bone growth in the case of bone damage. The researchers improved this bone growth by dynamically 'sowing' the cells onto the mesh.
Pre-cells destined to become fat can be converted instead into true bone cells in response to outside signals, say researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. The finding could pave the way for scientists to replenish lost bone cells in patients with conditions like osteoporosis, and to help repair bone defects. The new bone cells have all the hallmarks associated with mature bone formation, including production of bone proteins and calcification, the UCSF team says.
FROM THE TRENCHES: A new study by Rice University suggests bioengineers may be able to create the mechanical stimulation needed to grow bone outside the body. The trick appears to be stressing the sample out --- literally. In the absence of mechanical stress, lab grown bone is brittle and thin. But when created under proper conditions, it emerges thick and well-developed.