Giuseppe Maria de Peppo Shares Advancements In Bone and Tissue Engineering Alongside Leading ExpertsNews
With more than 6 million bone fractures occurring in the United States each year and more than 200 million people worldwide suffering from osteoporosis, we are in desperate need of new solutions for bone defects and diseases.
This March, NYSCF – Ralph Lauren Senior Research Investigator Giuseppe Maria de Peppo, PhD, presented the latest in his groundbreaking work to accelerate better treatments for bone diseases and injuries at Stem Cell Talks, a national stem cell biology outreach initiative established to educate college students on the science and practical ethics of stem cells. This year’s meeting, held at the University of Toronto, also featured experts in regenerative medicine including George Gittes, MD (Chief of Pediatric Surgery, University of Pittsburgh), Michael Rudinicki, PhD (Director of the Regenerative Medicine Program and Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute), John Dick, PhD (Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology, George Daley, MD, PhD (Dean, Harvard Medical School).
Dr. de Peppo explained that while current bone grafts are typically made from donor bone, synthetic substitutes, or bone from another part of the patient’s body, these grafts can cause immune rejection or fail to integrate properly into the body. To address these issues, his team is creating patient-specific bone from stem cells, allowing the grafts to seamlessly integrate into a patient’s body, forming the nerves, connective tissues, and vasculature needed to become fully functional.
“Someday, the use of bone transplants and alloplastic materials for bone reconstructions might become a thing of the past,” he said. “We could grow patient-specific bone on-demand, and thus circumvent the complications associated with current treatments.”
He is also working to optimize methods for growing stem-cell-derived bone for transplantation or study of bone diseases. His team has identified a more effective and cost-efficient method for creating the scaffolds used to generate bone made from stem cells, created a new method for testing prosthetic implants, and leveraged nanotechnology to engineer surfaces where bone-forming stem cells can mature as they would in the human body.
“Improving the ways we generate stem-cell-derived bone and test current treatments will help us better understand how diseases progress, test drugs, and ultimately develop personalized therapies.”
Most tissue engineering methods can only create small sections of bone. Dr. de Peppo detailed a strategy called Segmental Additive Tissue Engineering (SATE) that allows researchers to generate larger bone grafts by combining smaller sections grown in the laboratory.
“SATE enables the construction of segmental bone grafts with geometrical requirements for individual patients that could facilitate a tissue engineering approach to segmental bone defect therapy,” he remarked. “We are hopeful that this new strategy will one day be able to improve the lives of the millions of people suffering from bone injury due to trauma, cancer, osteoporosis, osteonecrosis and other devastating conditions of the skeletal system.”
Learn more about NYSCF’s bone & tissue engineering research here.