Bioscientists are constantly discovering new methods to accelerate bone healing. First, we saw them use stem cells to regenerate ribs, and then we saw them add a protein that boosts bone regeneration. Both of these techniques involve introducing new and foreign substances into the body, which run the risk of rejection. A new study from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor shows that, in fact, cells already at the injury site know how to repair bone if you know how to remind them.
The UM study explains that all cells have injury repair and bone-building mechanisms that are most frequently dormant. By adding specific strands of mRNA to the cells, these mechanisms can be activated. Lead researcher Peter Ma developed a polymer sphere that delivers said mRNA to the cell, which is tricky because mRNA is usually repelled by the cell membrane. In addition, the sphere can release small amounts of mRNA periodically, so that treatment may last for a month or longer.
"The new technology we have been working on opens doors for new therapies using DNA and RNA in regenerative medicine and boosts the possibility of dealing with other challenging human diseases," said Ma, who is a professor of dentistry at the University of Michigan. He envisions this technology being used to help treat tooth decay and accelerate bone surgery. It has currently been used with great success in healing osteoporotic mice, but it has yet to be tested in larger animals.
Professor Ma’s study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. For more detailed funding statistics regarding the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, read on with our Funding Statistics and Vendor Show Info report:
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