Scientists Convert Stem Cells into Bone Utilizing Sound Waves

By: | February 26th, 2022

Image courtesy: RMIT

Stem cells are like the body’s raw materials. With the unique ability to develop into almost any type of cell type, they serve as a repair system for the body.

Breakthrough in regenerative drugs

Now, scientists from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia have used sound waves to turn stem cells into bone cells. They managed to regrow bone by firing high-frequency sound waves at stem cells.

The best part is it is faster, environment friendly, and much cheaper than the existing painful and invasive treatment of regrowing bone using stem cells extracted from bone marrow.

This innovative stem cell treatment could one day help patients regrow bone lost to cancer or other degenerative diseases.

The need for large amounts of bone cells to thrive and flourish is a key challenge in regrowing bones

Existing experimental processes to change stem cells into bone cells have been highly complicated. These procedures use expensive equipment making mass production and widespread clinical application unrealistic.

But researchers from RMIT used a microchip to produce sound waves in the MHz range. They found that exposing these cells to 10-MHz signals for 10 minutes a day for five days boosted the levels of certain markers, indicating conversion into bone cells.

Co-author of the study and MRIT professor Leslie Yeo said, “The sound waves cut the treatment time usually required to get stem cells to begin to turn into bone cells by several days,”. “This method also doesn’t require any special ‘bone-inducing’ drugs and it’s very easy to apply to the stem cells.”

“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,” 

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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