Press: UNC Medical Researchers Unexpectedly Grow Bone From Stem Cells
San Antonio, TX, Thursday, December 10, 2015 – Medical researchers surprised themselves when they discovered a new way to convert stem cells into bone.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Press: UNC Medical Researchers Unexpectedly Grow Bone From Stem Cells
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Irma Calderón Woodruff at 210-410-1214
Growing New Bone
UNC Medical Researchers Unexpectedly Grow Bone From Stem Cells
Already Underway in San Antonio!
San Antonio, TX, Thursday, December 10, 2015 – Medical researchers surprised themselves when they
discovered a new way to convert stem cells into bone.
To understand the significance of their finding, a basic understanding of current stem cell therapy is
important. Our bodies are composed of billions of different, specialized cells. Each one has its own role
to fill in our organs, tendons, joints, muscles, etc. Stem cells are unspecialized. They will divide to
produce more stem cells but do not take on a specialized task. Under certain conditions, however, stem
cells can be induced into becoming a tissue-specific, specialized cell.
Most people are aware of embryonic stem cells and the controversy that surrounds them. However, the
Stem Cell Orthopedic Institute uses somatic stem cells, also known as adult stem cells. Everyone has
unspecialized cells found throughout the body, inside tissue and organs. These cells exist to produce
more cells. They aid your body by regenerating damaged tissue and replenishing dying cells.
In recent years, adult stem cells have launched the innovative field of stem cell therapy or regenerative
medicine, which focuses on regrowth and repair of old damage. Injecting a patient’s adult stem cells into
a damaged area in their body can accelerate the natural healing process by greatly increasing the
regenerative abilities that specific location. Stem cell therapy is currently used to treat a variety of
ailments, such as osteoarthritis, hip pain, knee pain, degenerative disc disease, and rotator cuff
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Medical science is often a slow, lengthy process wherein researchers methodically work through every
aspect of a problem in controlled conditions. Regenerative medicine, however, is a very new field and,
when exploring uncharted territory, surprises do occur.
The medical researchers at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine experienced
such a surprise recently when applying cytochalasin D, a substance found in mold, to stem cells. They
expected the cells to turn into fat. Instead, they become bone.
“It goes against everything in the literature,” says
Professor Janet Rubin. The team expected the cells
to lose their ability to form bone but the exact
“And the bone forms quickly,” states Rubin. “The data and images are so clear; you don’t have to be a
bone biologist to see what the cytochalasin D does in one week in a mouse.”
Their research was published in the journal Stem Cells and can be found online.
It isn’t difficult to imagine the far reaching impact that this discovery could have. Osteoporosis and low
bone mass affects around 54 million Americans. Senior citizens are especially at risk of serious
complications. Osteoporosis symptoms can be easy to overlook as a natural part of aging but the impact
on a senior’s health can be dramatic. 20% of seniors who break a hip die within a year, either due to the
broken bone itself or complications from the surgery used to repair it. The ability to regrow lost bones
would dramatically improve and frequently save lives.
Is stem cell therapy right for you? To schedule a medical evaluation with the Stem Cell Orthopedic
Institute of Texas, please call (210) 293-3136. Courteous Patient Advocates are standing by to answer
your questions. Reporters who would like interviews should call Irma Calderón Woodruff at (210) 410-