A new method for repairing damaged bones with stem cell and carbon material has been developed by researchers working with the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST). The method involves using stem cells from human bone marrow and carbon sheets with photocatalytic properties, and may help to create better treatments for bone injuries like periodontal disease and fractures.
During their study, researchers found that carbon nitride sheets that absorb red light encourage proliferation and growth of bone, as well as osteogenic differentiation. Human bone marrow stem cells have previously been used in the treatment of fractures, as they promote bone regeneration even in patients who have lost large areas of bone because of trauma or disease. The use of carbon nitride sheets alongside the bone marrow stem cells in this study were an attempt to accelerate the regeneration process.
Researchers found that when the carbon nitride was exposed to red light, it absorbed the light and emitted fluorescence, which is already known to expedite bone regeneration. The study also showed proliferation in osteogenic differentiation genes and accelerated bone formation in cells that were cultured in the lab.
Professor Young-Kyo Seo, one of the researchers from UNIST, commented on the significance of their findings, “This research has opened up the possibility of developing a new medicine that effectively treats skeletal injuries, such as fractures and osteoporosis. It will be a very useful tool for making artificial joints and teeth with the use of 3D printing.”
This new stem cell research shows that coupling human bone marrow stem cells with carbon nitride could prove to be an effective way to create new bone material in areas that are lacking. With further research, this method could soon be applied to helping to heal bone fractures and wear-and-tear related to diseases like osteoporosis, as well as used to create new joints and teeth.