Scientists Grow Human Bones from Liposuctioned Fat

by , 03/30/10

growing bones from stem cells, Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, stem cell research, Columbia University, bioreactor, design for health, titanium bone implants, bone grafts, growing bones from fat, growing bones from bone marrow, lab-grown bones

Growing plants can be tricky enough, but growing bones seems altogether impossible. Yet that’s exactly what scientists at Columbia University recently accomplished. A group led by Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic recently used stem cells and liposuctioned fat to grow — yes, grow — actual human bones. Once the process is perfected, it could eliminate the need for titanium bone replacements and painful bone grafts.

To create a particular bone, researchers use digital images to direct a machine to carve a bone replica, or scaffold. Scientists place the scaffold in a bioreactor and add in human cells from bone marrow or liposuctioned fat. Adding in oxygen, growth hormones, sugar and nutrients allow the cells to flourish, eventually growing into bone. By using this process, scientists can create an exact copy of any bone in the human body.

The lab breakthrough is a huge step forward for bone-replacement procedures. Being able to grow any bone from actual human tissue could eliminate the need for bone grafts, a painful procedure that requires harvesting bone samples from other parts of the body. Growing human bones could also replace titanium bone implants, which aren’t as biocompatible as human tissue.

Researchers say they’ll test the grown bones in animals and a few humans, and the process may be used in hospitals within the next decade.

+ Columbia University

Via Popular Science

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  1. feline74 March 13, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Wow. A joint replacement made out of your own bone.

    None too soon since metal-on-metal hip replacements are being un-recommended.

  2. Lab-Grown Lungs Success... July 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    […] of collagen, blood vessels and airways in place. Immature animal cells were used to “grow” the lungs that were then attached to the […]

  3. ville June 22, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    this takes “big boned” to a Whole…….notha…….leva……

  4. owen66 March 30, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    great time to be alive.

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