Medical

Sound waves convert stem cells into bone in regenerative breakthrough

Sound waves convert stem cells...
A microscope image of stem cells turning into bone cells – green indicates collagen, which the cells produce as a by-product of the process
A microscope image of stem cells turning into bone cells – green indicates collagen, which the cells produce as a by-product of the process
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A microscope image of stem cells turning into bone cells – green indicates collagen, which the cells produce as a by-product of the process
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A microscope image of stem cells turning into bone cells – green indicates collagen, which the cells produce as a by-product of the process
A diagram illustrating how the microchip (left) produces sound waves to induce the stem cells in culture (right) to begin differentiating into bone
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A diagram illustrating how the microchip (left) produces sound waves to induce the stem cells in culture (right) to begin differentiating into bone
The team's prototype sound-wave-emitting chip
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The team's prototype sound-wave-emitting chip
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Regrowing or replacing bone lost to disease is tricky and often painful. In a new study Australian researchers have found a relatively simple way to induce stem cells to turn into bone cells quickly and efficiently, using high-frequency sound waves.

Stem cells have enormous medical potential in helping to regenerate various tissues in the body, but bone has proven particularly hard to work with. Bone originates from what are known as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which mostly reside in the bone marrow. Collecting these is a painful procedure, then converting them into bone cells is difficult to scale up to useful levels.

But researchers from RMIT have now found a faster and simpler way to induce MSCs to turn into bone cells. Previous studies have suggested that the vibrations from sound waves can induce cell differentiation, but it typically took over a week with mixed results. These experiments have been limited to low frequencies, and it was thought that higher frequencies would have little benefit. So for the new study, the RMIT team investigated these higher frequencies.

The team used a microchip that produced sound waves in the MHz range, and directed it at MSCs in silicon oil on a culture plate. They found the optimal setup was to expose these cells to 10-MHz signals for 10 minutes a day for five days, which boosted the levels of certain markers that indicated they were converting into bone cells.

A diagram illustrating how the microchip (left) produces sound waves to induce the stem cells in culture (right) to begin differentiating into bone
A diagram illustrating how the microchip (left) produces sound waves to induce the stem cells in culture (right) to begin differentiating into bone

“We can use the sound waves to apply just the right amount of pressure in the right places to the stem cells, to trigger the change process,” said Leslie Yeo, co-lead researcher on the study. “Our device is cheap and simple to use, so could easily be upscaled for treating large numbers of cells simultaneously – vital for effective tissue engineering.”

Once the stem cells have begun to differentiate into bone, they can be injected into the body at the site of an injury or disease, or coated onto an implant, ready to grow new bone. The team says this process removes the need for drugs that coax stem cells down this path, and makes the whole thing much faster and more efficient. Importantly, the MSCs can be obtained from other parts of the patient’s body, such as fat tissue, which is less invasive than from bone marrow.

The team plans to continue investigating how to scale up the platform for practical use.

The research was published in the journal Small.

Source: RMIT

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4 comments
4 comments
Expanded Viewpoint
Energy in various forms has been applied to bodies for many years to both heal and kill. There is anecdotal information about this phenomena spanning many years, but serous research into it has been sparse, at best. It would be nice to see some people get together and pool all of their known data and do a big research project on it. Light, sound/frequencies and electricity as well as mental exercises all brought together to create a new healing process. It's like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.
CAVUMark
What about a similar use for healing bone marrow and anemia?
Grunchy
I actually contacted Dr. Tarak El-Bialy of University of Alberta in Edmonton, he told me he wasn't pursuing this technology any more.
"Low-Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound LIPUS used to regrow teeth".
https://newatlas.com/go/5971/
Ralf Biernacki
In modern urban environments, we live our lives surrounded in incessant noise and vibrations. If 10 minutes of intense sound for five days can alter our cells so profoundly, one wonders what the effect of years upon years of lower intensity vibrations does to our bodies.