New Method for Tissue Regeneration, Inspired by Nature, Described by Scientists

Source: University of Birmingham

Summary: Researchers have found a novel way, using cell-derived nano-sized particles called vesicles which mimics our body’s natural healing process to repair damaged tissue.

The number of fracture cases is expected to double by 2020 worldwide, putting a tremendous strain on healthcare-systems. Cost of Osteoporosis-fragility fractures alone represent £1.5 billion to the NHS. The research team at the University of Birmingham describes a novel approach to bone regeneration and they believe that the findings mark the first step with a potential to repair bone, cartilage and teeth. The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.



Current methods have noticeable limitations; Autologous grafts can cause patient morbidity, Allogenic bone lacks bioactive factors, and growth factor (BMP-2: Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2) dependent methods have serious side effects. But in this novel method, mineralising osteoblasts are stimulated to produce nano-sized extracellular vesicles and delivered to the damaged tissue to facilitate tissue regeneration. This method delivers are the all the advantages of cell-based therapies but without using viable cells.

Dr. Sophie Cox, from the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, explained, “Though we can never fully mimic the complexity of vesicles produced by cells in nature, this work describes a new pathway harnessing natural developmental processes to facilitate hard tissue repair.”

Dr. Owen Davies, added, “It is early days, but the potential is there for this to transform the way we approach tissue repair. We’re now looking to produce these therapeutically valuable particles at scale and also examine their capacity to regenerate other tissues.”

More Information: O.G. Davis et al, “Annexin-enriched osteoblast-derived vesicles act as an extracellular site of mineral nucleation within developing stem cell cultures”, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-13027-6

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