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Artificial Bone Marrow Critical to Understanding Blood Cell Formation

In adults, human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) live in the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment.  Our comprehension of human hematopoiesis and the related niche remains restricted, as a result of human substance availability and limits of present in vitro culture models.

And therefore, a collaborative team from University of Basel, University Hospital Basel, and ETH Zurich has made an exciting breakthrough in this direction.

Now, scientists have engineered a synthetic bone marrow market, where the stem cells and progenitor cells can multiply for a span of many days. The researchers also have developed an artificial compound which mimics some of those intricate biological properties of pure bone marrow markets.

To do so, they blended human mesenchymal stromal cells using a porous, bone-like 3D scaffold made from a ceramic substance in what’s called a perfusion bioreactor, which has been utilized to combine biological and artificial substances.

This gave rise to a construction coated with a stromal extracellular matrix embedding cells.  In this regard, the artificial tissue had a very similar molecular structure to normal bone marrow markets, creating an environment where the performance of hematopoietic stem cells and progenitor cells may largely

be preserved.

The work undoubtedly opens up a whole host of possibilities, from researching factors that influence blood formation in humans, to drug screening with a view to predicting how individual patients will respond to a certain treatment.

We could use bone and bone marrow cells from patients to create an in vitro model of blood diseases such as leukemia, for example,” explain study authors Ivan Martin and Timm Schroeder. “Importantly, we could do this in an environment that consists exclusively of human cells and which incorporates conditions tailored to the specific individual.”

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