Science Market Update

Regenerating Ribs with Stem Cells at USC

Posted by Sam Asher on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

In Science Market Update articles alone, we have seen the power of stem cells applied to restoring eye function and to repairing the brain at UW Madison. Not to be outdone, the University of Southern California is adding to the list of stem cell applications with its new study into repairing skeletal structures, in particular the ribs.

USC bioresearcherUp to now, stem cells have not been applied to the field of skeletal repair, a field “where an acute clinical need is present for ameliorating skeletal injury, chronic osteoarthritis and the severe problems associated with reconstructive surgery,” according to assistant professor of cell and neurobiology Francesca Mariani. Sometimes broken bones grow back; sometimes they don’t. Curious about what makes bones regenerate, Mariani and her lab decided to study the ribs of mice.

The USC team found that a protective sheath of tissue surrounding the ribs known as the perichondrium was the deciding factor in rib regrowth. That is, if a section of rib was removed along with its perichondrium, it didn’t grow back (even after nine months), but if the same section was removed and the perichondrium left intact, the rib grew back within two months. In addition, the team found that removing the perichondrium from the rib and placing it elsewhere in the body caused a rib to grow inside the sheath. These findings led Mariani to believe that the perichondrium is made up of stem cells to some degree.

rib cage

Mouse rib cage stained to show cartilage (blue) and bone (red). Image courtesy USC.

“[W]e are excited about the potential for using cells derived from the rib perichondrium or using rib perichondrium-like cells for regenerative therapy,” Mariani says in a USC news release. Her study has just received a $450,000 grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in order to continue. Funding for this project also came from an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation Research Award, the Baxter Medical Scholar Research Fellowship, and the James H. Zumberge Research and Innovation Fund. For more funding information regarding research projects at USC, have a look at our free University of Southern California Funding Report, available below:

Get More USC Funding  Information

If you are a laboratory supplier in the LA area who would like to boost awareness of your products and increase scientific sales, plan to attend Biotechnology Calendar, Inc.'s next BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the University of Southern California, Health Science Campus. This event is held annually on the USC Health Science campus and will happen next on October 8, 2014. If you are planning to be in the Southern California area in early October, we will also be hosting the Irvine BioResearch Product Faire™ and the Los Angeles Biotechnology Vendor Showcase on the days before and after the event, namely, October 7th and 9th respectively. 

 Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. has been bringing life science research trade shows to top research campuses for 20 years now. To reserve space for our USC show, please click the button below. If you’d like to attend a show closer to home, please see our 2014 schedule of events and our brand new 2015 schedule of events to find a show at a university campus near you.

Exhibit at Fall USC

Tags: 2014, CA, University of Southern California, California, USC, Los Angeles, BioResearch Product Faire Event

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