New way to extract bone-making cells

6 October 2014

New research, published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy, has revealed a novel method to draw bone-producing cells from fat.

Human fat houses a variety of cells with the potential to develop into bone, cartilage, or more fat if properly prompted. This makes this adipose tissue, in theory, an available pool for regenerative therapies such as bone healing, if scientists are able to get enough of those cells and encourage them to produce bone.

A team at Brown University developed a fluorescent tag that could find and identify cells expressing a gene called ALPL, which suggests they have the potential to make bone. If this tag identifies the RNA produced when the gene is expressed, it latches on and glows. 

A device that can detect the fluorescing light then separates out the ALPL-expressing cells. This method, according to the team, was able to produce more than twice the yield of potential bone-makers (nine per cent) compared to their best outcome of another method, which generated just four per cent.

Posted by Jeanette Royston​


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