Scientists develop stem cell techniques that uses magnets to repair bones

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Tiny bundles of stem cells built in the laboratory using microscopic magnets could pave the way to revolutionize the treatment of repairing bone, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.

[Scientists created] ball-shaped clumps of around 10,000 stem cells, just big enough to see with the naked eye.

Placing the 3D cultures next to laboratory “wound models” simulating damaged cartilage, bone and ligament, the stem cells reactivated. They migrated toward the injured tissue and began to develop into the right kind of cells to promote healing.

Dr. Catherine Berry…said, “This is a really exciting discovery, which uses a fairly simple and affordable method to grow and maintain stem cells ready to heal tissues.”

To make the stem cell bundles, the team used an ingenious technique that exploits magnetism.

Microscopic magnetic nanoparticles were first added to the stem cells, allowing them to be drawn together by the attractive force of a simple magnet.

“We’re keen to explore how we can use our technique to understand more about how stem cells communicate with other cells….” [Dr. Berry] said.

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