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Bone produced from skin and gum tissue

erse Jell-O," remaining liquid when cool and firming up when warm, says Rutherford. Injected as liquid into a lesion of any size or shape, the material gels as it warms to body temperature, holding the engineered cells in the appropriate place.

In another set of experiments reported in the paper, the researchers implanted engineered human gingival cells into a strain of mouse that has no immune system and therefore does not reject foreign tissue. To their surprise, the new bone that formed in the mice was composed of both mouse and human tissue. "This suggests that the gingival cells were not just delivering BMP-7, but also responding to the protein and making bone themselves," says Rutherford.

Using a patient's own cells from easily accessed tissues that heal quickly is a major step toward an alternative to conventional bone grafts, Rutherford says. "If the implanted cells form bone directly, in addition to secreting BMP-7, these autografts would be useful in regenerating bone in the many cases where few cells capable of forming new bone remain in the injured bone. Such lesions are difficult to treat by conventional treatment."


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Contact: Nancy Ross-Flanigan
rossflan@umich.edu
734-647-1853
University of Michigan
18-May-2000


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