Scientists from Leiden University Medical Center and the University of Twente will receive a €1.8 million ENW-Groot grant from NWO (The Dutch Research Council) to find out how stem cells grow into specific tissues, such as cartilage. Prof. Ingrid Meulenbelt, Scientific Leader of the scientific program Medical Delta Regenerative Medicine 4D: Generating complex tissues with stem cells and printing technology is involved as research leader. Dr. Yolande Ramos is also involved in both stem cell research and the Medical Delta program.
Knowledge about how stem cells grow into specific tissues, such as cartilage, is necessary to make regenerative medicine with stem cells for osteoarthritis a reality. This research therefore contributes directly to the Medical Delta Regenerative Medicine 4D program.
The research project, called SCI-MAP, brings together scientists from cell biology, molecular epidemiology, micro-engineering, systems biology and mathematics. “Together we will find out which (combination of) factors determine that a stem cell grows into a cartilage cell. We use microgels, single cell-omic technology and systems biology to predict and achieve this,” says Meulenbelt.
Stem cells are expected to be the game changer in the relatively new field of regenerative medicine, in which diseased tissue is repaired rather than replaced. However, the effective application of regenerative medicine is currently still severely hampered by a lack of understanding of factors that determine the path a stem cell takes to become a specific tissue cell. Knowledge from the SCI-MAP project brings the concrete application of regenerative medicine for osteoarthritis, but also for other chronic diseases, an important step closer.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic, common, debilitating joint disease. Regenerative medicine offers patients a prospect of joint repair instead of expensive symptom relief or joint replacement surgery.
More information can be found at https://www.lumc.nl/over-het-lumc/nieuws/2020/Maart/stamcel-kraakbeencel-miljoen-nwo/?year=2020&month=2