This study, conducted in conjunction with Prof Matt Dalby, at the Centre for Cell Engineering, University of Glasgow, was focused on identifying the roles of high-frequency, low-amplitude mechanical stimulation in inducing MSCs to differentiate into bone cells (the process by which a cell becomes specialized in order to perform a specific function, as in the case of a bone cell). “After blood, bone is the most transplanted tissue used in patients in the form of bone graft. Autologous graft (i.e. bone grafts taken from the patient’s own body and commonly employed for the treatments of bone cancer, trauma or infection), is in short supply and can be associated with pain and donor site morbidity.
Tissue engineered bone-like graft would help meet this clinical demand as well as provide researchers with a potential tissue model for drug screening” he explains.
In this article it was shown for the first time, that high-frequency vibrations of nanoscale amplitude alone can be used to differentiate patient derived stem cells, to form mineralised tissue in 3D. To achieve this, a totally new genre of vibrational bioreactor has been designed and developed. Using this bioreactor, it was demonstrated that nanoscale mechano-transduction is independent of other environmental factors, such as matrix rigidity. By doing this they have provided a scalable pathway to control the differentiation of stem cells to bone cells across a broad range of applications.