The researchers of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia have achieved bone regrowth by “bombarding” stem cells with high-frequency sound waves. It could be a revolutionary advance in regenerative medicine.
Compared to existing experimental bone regeneration techniques with stem cells taken from the bone marrow, the sound wave procedure is faster and cheaper.
The speed of sound
Second a study published in Small magazine, the sound waves shortened the time it takes for stem cells to transform into bone cells from days to hours. More: This method does not require any special drugs that 'stimulate' the bones, and is very easy to apply.
"Its scalability is a value. It could make it suitable for the simultaneous treatment of large numbers of cells, vital for effective tissue engineering," says MRIT co-author and professor. Leslie Yeo.
How the 'sound wave' method works
The small device developed by the researchers generates sound waves at frequencies above 10 megahertz, which is several orders of magnitude higher than the audible spectrum.
In the study, the researchers produced these sound waves and 'shot' them at stem cells ten minutes a day for just five days. Result? The processes involved in their bone development are significantly increased.
Other benefits of sound waves
"We can use sound waves to apply the right amount of pressure to the right places to stem cells. To better trigger the change process," Yeo explained.
Once induced to turn into bone cells, the idea is to inject the stem cells locally. Or even coat an implant to grow (or re-grow) a completely new bone.
Instead of relying on hard-to-find bone marrow stem cells, the technique can use other cells taken from the patient's body, including fat tissue.
When they manage to scale this platform for medical use, researchers will use it to massively create artificial cartilage. And it will happen very soon, they say.