Scientists Develop Artificial Bone Marrow
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – German scientists have developed artificial bone marrow that allows stem cells to multiply and may simplify the treatment of leukemia.
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, researchers said.
Scientists at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, and Tubingen University developed the synthetic material that allows stem cells to multiply.
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.
Researchers artificially reproduced major properties of natural bone marrow at the laboratory.
With the help of synthetic polymers, scientists created a porous structure simulating the sponge-like structure of the bone in the area of the blood-forming bone marrow.
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.
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 study appears in the journal Biomaterials.