A collaborative Scottish team, drawn from the universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde and the West of Scotland, are developing a new technique which could help patients with spinal injuries grow new bone. They call it “nanokicking”. It plays on the potential our bodies’ stem cells possess to turn into any other kind of tissue – blood, muscle or, in this case, bone.
Persuading stem cells to become bone has been done in the laboratory before. But existing techniques typically involve complex and expensive engineering or cocktails of chemicals. Instead, this technique mimicks a natural process – when broken bones need to knit, they vibrate.