4. To consider the relevant biology of stem cells and their sub populations in musculoskeletal regeneration
All of us have stem cells within our bone marrow. They are called “mesenchymal stem cells” or “MSCs” and they have the potential to regenerate tissues of the damaged joint; cartilage and bone. However, they can be few in number, particularly as we age and they are difficult to locate. One particular problem is that the true stem cells are mixed in with other bone marrow cells that are very similar in appearance and previously, scientists have had difficulty in distinguishing between them. As part of the Centre’s work, we will use a range of different techniques to identify specific sub-types of MSCs. We will uncover selective gene and protein markers so we can isolate distinct MSC populations that are not contaminated with other marrow cells. In doing this, we will be able to understand much more about MSC biology and identify those stem cells that are most capable of repairing damaged joint tissue.