Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Stem Cells, Cellular Therapy & Biobanking
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

KIT Researchers Develop Artificial Bone Marrow

Published: Monday, January 13, 2014
Last Updated: Sunday, January 12, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Specific reproduction of hematopoietic stem cells outside of the body might facilitate therapy of leukemia in a few years.

Artificial bone marrow may be used to reproduce hematopoietic stem cells. A prototype has now been developed by scientists of KIT, the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, and Tübingen University.

The porous structure possesses essential properties of natural bone marrow and can be used for the reproduction of stem cells at the laboratory. This might facilitate the treatment of leukemia in a few years. The researchers are now presenting their work in the “Biomaterials” journal (DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.10.038).

Blood cells, such as erythrocytes or immune cells, are continuously replaced by new ones supplied by hematopoietic stem cells located in a specialized niche of the bone marrow. Hematopoietic stem cells can be used for the treatment of blood diseases, such as leukemia. The affected cells of the patient are replaced by healthy hematopoietic stem cells of an eligible donor.

However, not every leukemia patient can be treated in this way, as the number of appropriate transplants is not sufficient. This problem might be solved by the reproduction of hematopoietic stem cells. So far, this has been impossible, as these cells retain their stem cell properties in their natural environment only, i.e. in their niche of the bone marrow. Outside of this niche, the properties are modified. Stem cell reproduction therefore requires an environment similar to the stem cell niche in the bone marrow.

The stem cell niche is a complex microscopic environment having specific properties. The relevant areas in the bone are highly porous and similar to a sponge. This three-dimensional environment does not only accommodate bone cells and hematopoietic stem cells but also various other cell types with which signal substances are exchanged.

Moreover, the space among the cells has a matrix that ensures a certain stability and provides the cells with points to anchor. In the stem cell niche, the cells are also supplied with nutrients and oxygen.

The Young Investigators Group “Stem Cell–Material Interactions” headed by Dr. Cornelia Lee-Thedieck consists of scientists of the KIT Institute of Functional Interfaces (IFG), the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, and Tübingen University. It artificially reproduced major properties of natural bone marrow at the laboratory. With the help of synthetic polymers, the scientists created a porous structure simulating the sponge-like structure of the bone in the area of the blood-forming bone marrow. In addition, they added protein building blocks similar to those existing in the matrix of the bone marrow for the cells to anchor. The scientists also inserted other cell types from the stem cell niche into the structure in order to ensure substance exchange.

Then, the researchers introduced hematopoietic stem cells isolated from cord blood into this artificial bone marrow. Subsequent breeding of the cells took several days. Analyses with various methods revealed that the cells really reproduce in the newly developed artificial bone marrow. Compared to standard cell cultivation methods, more stem cells retain their specific properties in the artificial bone marrow.

The newly developed artificial bone marrow that possesses major properties of natural bone marrow can now be used by the scientists to study the interactions between materials and stem cells in detail at the laboratory.

This will help to find out how the behavior of stem cells can be influenced and controlled by synthetic materials. This knowledge might contribute to producing an artificial stem cell niche for the specific reproduction of stem cells and the treatment of leukemia in ten to fifteen years from now.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
Snapshot Turns T Cell Immunology on its Head
New research may have implications for 1 diabetes sufferers.
Developing a Gel that Mimics Human Breast for Cancer Research
Scientists at the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham have been funded to develop a gel that will match many of the biological structures of human breast tissue, to advance cancer research and reduce animal testing.
Lung Repair and Regeneration Gene Discovered
New role for hedgehog gene offers better understanding of lung disease.
Restoring Vision with Stem Cells
Age-related macular degeneration (AMRD) could be treated by transplanting photoreceptors produced by the directed differentiation of stem cells, thanks to findings published today by Professor Gilbert Bernier of the University of Montreal and its affiliated Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital.
The Age of Humans Controlling Microbes
Engineered bacteria could soon be used to detect environmental toxins, treat diseases, and sustainably produce chemicals and fuels.
Gene Expression: A Snapshot of Stem Cell Development
New genes found that regulate development of stem cells.
Tissue-Engineered Colon from Human Cells
A study by scientists at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has shown that tissue-engineered colon derived from human cells is able to develop the many specialized nerves required for function, mimicking the neuronal population found in native colon.
Tension Helps Heart Cells Develop Normally in the Lab
Stanford engineers have uncovered the important role tension plays in growing heart cells out of the body.
Urine Excretion From Stem Cell-Derived Kidneys
Researchers report a strategy for enabling urine excretion from kidneys grown from stem cells.
Stem Cell Research Hints at Evolution of Human Brain
Researchers at UC San Francisco have succeeded in mapping the genetic signature of a unique group of stem cells in the human brain that seem to generate most of the neurons in our massive cerebral cortex.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos