Scientists create jaw bone from stem cells


New York: Scientists have created part of the jaw bone for the first time in the lab using human adult stem cells.

The technique, which created the joint, may be useful for other areas of the body.

The Columbia University study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The bone which has been created in a lab, by scientists at Columbia University is called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint which is complex to repair can be damaged by defects at birth, arthritis or injury. Treatment is notoriously difficult as the joint has a complex structure and is difficult to replicate using bone grafts.

Scientists used human stem cells taken from bone marrow which were then planted into a “tissue scaffold” in the shape of a human jaw bone.

The cells were then cultured nutrients found during natural bone development.

Lead researcher Dr Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic said: “The availability of personalised bone grafts engineered from the patient’s own stem cells would revolutionise the way we currently treat these defects.”

She said the new technique could also be applied to other bones in the head and neck, including skull bones and cheek bones, which are similarly difficult to graft.

She stressed that the joint created in the lab was bone only, and did not include other tissue, such as cartilage which the team is also working on.