A new study published in the journal Small describes the treatment.
Researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) have used high-frequency sound waves to turn stem cells into bone cells. Considerable bone cells are needed to help regrow bone, which typically requires complicated and expensive equipment to enable mass production.
The majority of clinical trials focusing on bone regrowth have extracted the stem cells for the treatment from a patient's bone marrow, a highly painful process. Now, the RMIT research team has demonstrated their stem cell conversion method to be effective for multiple types of stem cells, such as fat-derived stem cells, which are much less painful to source from a patient.
"The sound waves cut the treatment time usually required to get stem cells to begin to turn into bone cells by several days. This method also doesn't require any special 'bone-inducing' drugs and it's very easy to apply to the stem cells. Our study found this new approach has strong potential to be used for treating the stem cells, before we either coat them onto an implant or inject them directly into the body for tissue engineering," said Gelmi, a Vice-Chancellor's Research Fellow at RMIT.
"We can use the sound waves to apply just the right amount of pressure in the right places to the stem cells, to trigger the change process. Our device is cheap and simple to use, so could easily be upscaled for treating large numbers of cells simultaneously-vital for effective tissue engineering," said co-lead researcher Distinguished Professor Leslie Yeo.
You can read more from the study here.
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