New Technique Grows Realistic Bone in a Dish

Laboratory-grown organoids—tiny cellular structures that mimic an organ’s anatomy and functions—are becoming increasingly useful in medical research. Such micro-models of the brain, lungs and other organs have been around for years, but creating them for bone tissue has proved uniquely difficult. Bone stands apart because its different cell types exist within an extracellular matrix, a continuously remodeled network of collagen and minerals. Previous organoid attempts have failed to capture how human bone cells form in parallel with this matrix and interact with it. Now, however, researchers say they have developed a lifelike model that will help them better understand a range of challenging bone diseases.
A new study in Advanced Functional Materials presents the first organoid with a “unified view” of bone formation’s critical early stages, according to lead author Anat Akiva, a cell biologist at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Akiva and her colleagues found that by applying mechanical force to mimic the stresses that shape bones in the human body, they could trigger bone marrow stem cells to transform into bone-building osteoblasts and growth-regulating osteocytes, which together produce all the proteins they need to function.

Read Full Story
Scientific American Rating

Share this:

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: