Scientists in Switzerland have successfully created artificial bone marrow for research purposes, it has been announced.
A team, based at the University of Basel, say the stem and progenitor cells in their artificial marrow can multiply for several days. Details were published in PNAS.
The team combined human mesenchymal stromal cells with a porous, bone-like 3D scaffold made of a ceramic material. These biological and synthetic materials were combined in a perfusion bioreactor.
The resulting structure is a stromal extracellular matrix able to maintain haematopoietic stem cells.
The artificial framework mimics the native human osteoblastic niche environment allowing the functionality of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells to be maintained. In addition, it can allow the selective incorporation or removal of individual proteins.
The creation of an in vitro human bone marrow will allow researchers to study this tissue in ways not possible previously - "from researching factors that influence blood formation in humans, to drug screening with a view to predicting how individual patients will respond to a certain treatment".
Professor Ivan Martin says: "We could use bone and bone marrow cells from patients to create an in vitro model of blood diseases such as leukaemia, for example.
"Importantly, we could do this in an environment that consists exclusively of human cells and which incorporates conditions tailored to the specific individual."
Source: Bourgine, P.E., Klein, T., Paczulla, A.M., Shimizu, T., Kunz, L., Kokkaliaris, K.D., Coutu, D.L., Lengerke, C., Skoda, R., Schroeder, T. and Martin, I., 2018. In vitro biomimetic engineering of a human hematopoietic niche with functional properties. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, p.201805440
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