Synthetic bone implant: The new bone marrow

Bone marrow transplantations are being performed on a wide scale all across the globe. This transplantation has a number of side effects due to the high dose medications or radiations performed to discard the existing bone marrow with the new donor’s bone marrow. Thus, the scientists have developed a new bone-like implant that is similar in function to that of an existing bone marrow. The engineered implant produces the healthy blood cells without any cons.

But, are you aware of what a bone marrow is? It is just a spongy tissue mostly in the center of the bones. The basic function of the bone marrow is to produce red blood cells from the stem cells. In certain cases of immune diseases or anemia the stem cells are attacked, hence there is a need for carrying out the transplantation of the bone marrow.

In the immune disease or blood-related disorders, an individual has to undergo the process of removing the damaged marrow and replacing it with a healthy donor’s bone marrow stem cells. However, before the transplantation, the earlier existing stem cells have to be completely wiped off from the body so that the recipient’s body can accept the foreign bone marrow. And previously, this was done using drugs or radiation therapy, which further led to a number of effects such as infertility, nausea, or vomiting.

As a solution to these problems, researcher Shyni Varghese and her colleagues from the University of California have developed a synthetic implant that is similar to a real bone. It surpasses all the expectation and grows as well as proliferates just like a natural bone marrow. The implant comprises of two sections of which one is the outer bone-like structure whereas the inner is the marrow that is made of hydrogen matrix. The outer structure has depositions of calcium phosphate minerals around it that helps the stem cells from the recipient grow into the cells, which initiate the bone growth. The inner section of the implant acts as a home for the donor’s bone marrow stem cells.

The implant contributes to the host’s blood supply rather replacing it totally. Hence, it can prove to be a good option for the blood cancer patients. This breakthrough will open new gates for studying the blood stem cells and the causes of various blood diseases in the near future.

Poonam Bhosale-Gorade undertook the post of Team Lead–Content Writer at Medical Device News, following a 3-year stint as a writer and editor of books, reports, special publications. She holds a BE degree in Information technology from Pune University. Her hobbies include reading books, writing on Quora, trekking, playing badminton, etc. She is currently maintaining her blog Crazy Indian Stories (started recently). She can be reached at: poonam@medicaldevicenews.net