Stem Cells & Bone Repair- Latest Research


A study by bioengineers at Penn State recently revealed how citrate-based biomaterial could help stem cells form new bone tissue. The study was published on November 26th, 2018 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the study, the stems cells were found to require additional energy when it came to bone regeneration. Citrate, “a material based on a natural product of bones and citrus fruit,” offered critical support in raising cellular energy during active bone formation.

According to Jian Yang, a professor of biomedical engineering at Penn State, the team of researchers decided to work with citrate because “90% of organic citrate is located in skeletal tissue.” The team also identified phosphoserine (an amino acid) as another important element to aiding stems cells during the bone healing process.

In terms of bone repair, this study’s findings could offer an alternative to methods like autografting; where doctors utilize bone from elsewhere in the body and graft it to the area in need. What’s more, current synthetic biomaterials are known to cause inflammation, have a slow healing process, and are often eventually rejected from assimilating with surrounding bone.

However, the citrate-based biomaterial used in the study resulted in less inflammation and no bone integration rejection. This biomaterial could provide a quicker path to healing in the body, not only in terms bones, but for other types of cells and tissues as well. For example, Yang concluded in the study that, “there is a high concentration of citrate in the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain. People can now use this understanding to start looking at citrate as a metabolism regulator to further regulate stem cells for other types of tissues and organs throughout the body.”

With over 200 growth factors, stem cells have been proven to best utilize the body’s ability to repair itself. Stem cell recruitment therapy is often used to treat joint and soft tissue injuries as well as bone fractures and osteoarthritis.

To get more information on stem cells as a treatment option, contact Dr. Stacie Grossfeld. Dr. Stacie Grossfeld is a trained orthopedic surgeon who is double board-certified in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine. To make an appointment today, call 502-212-2663 or use the contact form on her website.