Skip to Content

Healing Bone with Stem Cells

For treatment of severe fractures, stem cells derived from bone marrow could be used to generate new bone tissue. But scientists need better ways to keep the cells alive once they’re implanted. Linda Griffith and colleagues at MIT have created a new tissue-engineering material that could fit the bill. The comblike material consists of a Plexiglas backbone studded with molecular tethers that can attach to a specific kind of growth factor, a protein that helps many cells, including stem cells, grow and differentiate. Adult stem cells grown on these scaffolds (left) were better able to survive and proliferate, potentially increasing the number of cells available to make new bone after transplantation. Scientists are now testing the material in animals. Griffith is planning additional experiments with human stem cells, to explore how tethering different proteins to the scaffold might do a better job of encouraging the cells to differentiate into bone. “We want to figure out, step by step, how to use marrow more effectively in the clinic,” she says.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.