Posted: Sep 10, 2010
Emerging research is showing the potential to repair bone injuries using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), a particular type of stem cell with several unique characteristics. MSCs are found in large quantities in a newborn’s umbilical cord and also in cord blood and bone marrow.
This research suggests that newborn tissues, like umbilical cord blood or cord tissue, may prove to be an optimal source to create bone grafts.( 1) Several preclinical studies have demonstrated that newborn MSCs can successfully create bone grafts and stimulate bone regeneration.( 2,3 4, )
MSCs give rise to many types of specialized cells that are the building blocks of connective tissue, bone, cartilage, and the circulatory and lymphatic systems. Given their unique properties, MSCs are well-suited for use in tissue engineering to create a bone graft. Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that currently involves replacing missing bone with transplanted tissue, the most common source of which comes from the patient’s own bones where limited tissue is available and the procedure for obtaining it can lead to medical complications. These drawbacks have led researchers to explore the possibility of tissue engineering using a patient’s own MSCs.
Current tissue engineering techniques use a scaffold made of biomaterials to support the growth of MSCs and to create a bone graft. These techniques have already shown success in preliminary clinical studies by 1) promoting the repair of severe bone defects and 2) providing assistance with spinal fusions in a small number of patients who received a graft created from their own bone marrow MSCs.(5, 6,7 8 )
In March 2010, researchers at Columbia University reported that they created a tissue-engineered jaw bone using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from bone marrow. MSCs naturally give rise to connective tissue such as bone and cartilage, making bone regeneration one of the most investigated therapeutic areas for MSCs today.
Given the promising research described above, and considering MSCs are the building blocks of connective tissue such as bone and cartilage, newborn MSCs may prove to be beneficial in bone repair.
1)Jager M, Zilkens C, Bittersohl B, Krauspe R. Cord Blood-An Alternative Source for Bone Regeneration. Stem Cell Rev Rep. Aug 4 2009.
2)Kang JM, Kang SW, La WG, Yang YS, Kim BS. Enhancement of in vivo bone regeneration efficacy of osteogenically undifferentiated human cord blood mesenchymal stem cells. J Biomed Mater Res A. Jul 16 2009.
3) Jager M, Degistirici O, Knipper A, Fischer J, Sager M, Krauspe R. Bone healing and migration of cord blood-derived stem cells into a critical size femoral defect after xenotransplantation. J Bone Miner Res. 2007;22(8):1224-1233.
4)Wang FS, Yang KD, Wang CJ, et al. Shockwave stimulates oxygen radical-mediated osteogenesis of the mesenchymal cells from human umbilical cord blood. J Bone Miner Res. 2004;19(6):973-982.
5) Gan Y, Dai K, Zhang P, Tang T, Zhu Z, Lu J. The clinical use of enriched bone marrow stem cells combined with porous beta-tricalcium phosphate in posterior spinal fusion. Biomaterials. 2008;29(29):3973-3982.
6) Jager M, Jelinek EM, Wess KM, et al. Bone marrow concentrate: a novel strategy for bone defect treatment. Curr Stem Cell Res Ther. 2009;4(1):34-43.
7) Kitoh H, Kitakoji T, Tsuchiya H, et al. Transplantation of marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells and platelet-rich plasma during distraction osteogenesis—a preliminary result of three cases. Bone. 2004;35(4):892-898.
8) Marcacci M, Kon E, Moukhachev V, et al. Stem cells associated with macroporous bioceramics for long bone repair: 6- to 7-year outcome of a pilot clinical study. Tissue Eng. 2007;13(5):947-955.