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April 10th, 2006
Nano-patterns guide stem cell development
Stem cells can be prompted to develop into bone, instead of muscle or cartilage tissue, if they are grown on a substrate etched with nanoscopic patterns – and no added chemicals – researchers have found. The discovery could lead to longer-lasting artificial implants that are nano-engineered to encourage suitable tissue to develop around them, experts say.
Biologists usually treat stem cells with chemicals to make them differentiate into specialised cells and become certain types of tissue. But experiments with bone marrow stem cells, carried out by tissue engineer Matthew Dalby and colleagues at the University of Glasgow, UK, suggest this is not necessary, providing the cells' physical environment is exactly right.
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