The U.S. Department of Defense [DOD] has approved a grant of $2 million to the University of Arizona [UA] to advance the development of their technology combining 3D printing and stem cell grafting to create a better alternative to conventional bone replacement. Current standard of care for shattered bones involves using cadaver bones and support rods to replace bones entirely. However, these treatments are often ephemeral since the cadaver bone is dead and becomes increasingly fragile over time. The technique being developed by UA utilizes advanced 3D printing to create a scaffold that mimics the structure of bone and then seeds it with the patient’s own stem cells, along with calcium, to grow a bone that will be sturdier. Since the technique will use the patient’s own stem cells, it virtually eliminates the possibility of rejection.
Researchers at University of Glasgow have developed a new “nanokicking” technology, which directs mesenchymal stem cells to precisely differentiate into a bone material for use in fracture repairs and bone grafting. By subjecting the stem cells to ‘nanokicking’ – precise, nanoscale vibrations, while the cells are in a collagen gel, these cells can more effectively transform into bone cells capable of replenishing damaged or depleted bone mass. Current bone grafts obtained from patients themselves nearly never yield enough bone material to be clinically relevant for severe injuries, and donor bone grafts have a high risk of rejection hence, autologous stem cell grafts represent an optimal treatment option for patients suffering from any type of bone trauma or deficiency. With bone being the second most grafted tissue [behind blood], ‘nanokicking’ the patient’s own stem cells would significantly impact patient outcomes following reconstructive, maxillofacial and orthopedic surgeries.