Researchers at the University of Southampton, in collaboration with the University of Glasgow, have developed a new method to generate bone cells. The researchers cultured human embryonic stem cells on the surface of plastic materials, which included polycarbonate plastic, a method cheaper and easier than traditional ways of culturing embryonic stem cells, according to a press release from the university. They used nanotopographical patterns on the materials to manipulate the stem cells towards bone cells.
The technique can be used to aid tissue engineering, potentially leading to new methods for bone repair. It could eventually result in new medical device designs and cell culture designs, according to a press release from University of Southampton.
Stem cells are difficult to grow in sufficient numbers as the process of stem cell differentiation prevents the cells from maintaining their original stem cell characteristics. The recent research builds on previous research from the University of Southampton and the University of Glasgow where the research team used plastic with nanopatterns to grow and spread adult stem cells, while maintaining their stem cell characteristics. The new study demonstrates that human embryonic stem cells respond in a similar manner.Camilla Andersson