Scientists at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia have managed to regrow bones by sending high-frequency sound waves at stem cells. This is a new method that could revolutionize the field of regenerative medicine.
The scientists reported that this technique based on sound waves was faster, more effective and less expensive than existing experimental methods of bone regeneration. The latter notably use stem cells extracted from the bone marrow, but the process is often painful and invasive.
The article describing this study was published in the journal Small.
The advantages of the process
According to Amy Gelmi, researcher at RMIT and co-author of the article, the sound waves can reduce the processing time by several days for the stem cells to start transforming into bone cells. She added that this new method does not require special drugs to grow bones and that its application at the stem cell level is very simple.
Meanwhile, MRIT professor and co-author Leslie Yeo said the device used for the treatment was cheap and simple to use. This will make it easy to scale it to process a large number of cells simultaneously.
How does the new method work?
The principle behind the use of sound waves is that once the stem cells have been transformed into bone cells, these can be injected or applied to an implant. It is also possible to regrow an entire bone.
The technique is all the more simple as it does not rely on bone marrow cells which are very difficult to obtain. Other cells can be taken from the patient’s body such as fatty tissue. Scientists use a small device they developed to generate sound waves with frequencies above 10 MHz.
During one of their experiments, the researchers applied sound waves to stem cells for 10 minutes a day for 5 days. The results showed that it significantly strengthened the process of transformation into bone.
For now, scientists still need to find a way to adapt the technique for medical use. But it can be said that this is a very important advance that could help many patients with bone problems.