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Adult Stem Cells to Be Grown As 3D Spheres!

Most of us have heard and watched movies in 3D format. Scientists have taken a step further, and are planning to grow a type of adult stem cell as microscopic 3D spheres in the laboratory in the near future.

The adult stem cell type mentioned above is known as Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) found in bone marrow, blood and several other tissues of adults and children.

These MSCs have already been shown to repair damaged cartilage and bone in a set of patients who were suffering from bone disease or fractures.

The only limitation of these cells is their ability to form only a few cell types when grown in the laboratory.

According to Dr Paul Genever, the lead author of this current study, these Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs), when grown as tiny spheres, have the potential to become cells that form heart muscle cells.

Smith & Nephew and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) are providing the required funding for this study.

The main aim of the experiments to be conducted by Dr Genever is to recreate the same conditions (microscopic 3D environment) as those inside a human body for the MSCs to produce different cell types in the laboratory.

When MSCs were grown in 2D layers, they always formed either fat or bone or cartilage only.

The 3D technique claims to provide the required oxygen levels, nutrients and forces experienced in our bodies. By growing them as microscopic 3D spheres measuring between 200 and 300 microns (just about half of the size of a dust mite), they can easily and quickly specialize their roles to develop into a wider range of cell types.

Moreover, these 3D spheres enable continuous monitoring of the interactions occurring between the cells inside them.

By providing scope to observe the step by step process in the development of these cells, this discovery has given an opportunity to scientists to study stem cell behavior in depth.

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