reNEW researcher have recreated, for the first time, the process for developing and growing long bones in a laboratory setting.
Genetic skeletal disorders affecting long bones can have a significant impact on an individual’s growth, development, and overall well-being. One example of a genetic skeletal condition is osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly known as “brittle bone disease”. In this condition, the structure and composition of bones is affected, resulting in bones that break easily, often with no obvious cause.
There are very few therapies for these disorders.
The research team, led by Murdoch Children’s A/Professor Shireen Lamande, including collaborators Professor John Bateman and reNEW Melbourne researchers Dr Elizabeth Ng and Professors Ed Stanley and Andrew Elefanty, use induced pluripotent stem cells to create cartilage that becomes more mature over time, similar to human development.
Using their novel system, the team can then transform certain cartilage cells into bone cells.
“Our method reproduces all the development events during the process of long bone formation, allowing us to better understand cartilage and bone development,” said A/Professor Lamande.
“We can also simulate genetic disorders affecting cartilage and bone and explore potential treatments.”
See full publication: Modeling human skeletal development using human pluripotent stem cells.
The research team are also collaborating on a proof-of-concept project to investigate the ability of lab-grown, high-quality cartilage to repair damaged cartilage. This lab-grown cartilage shows the specific biochemical qualities of human surface articular cartilage and its underlying deep cartilage zones. This research is featured in our 2022 reNEW Annual Report.