MONDAY, Dec. 1, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Using stem cells that were turned into bone and cartilage, University of Illinois at Chicago researchers formed the ball structure of a joint in the human jaw.
They report their findings in the December issue of the Journal of Dental Research.
This tissue-engineering method used to create the human-shaped articular condyle could some day be used to regenerate the ball structure of joints in the jaw, knee and hip that have been lost through injury or diseases such as arthritis.
"This represents the first time a human-shaped articular condyle with both cartilage- and bone-like tissues was grown from a single population of adult stem cells," Jeremy Mao, director of the university's tissue engineering laboratory, says in a prepared statement.
"Our ultimate goal is to create a condyle that is biologically viable -- a living tissue construct that integrates with existing bone and functions like the natural joint," Mao says.
He and a colleague created the articular condyle using stem cells taken from the bone marrow of rats.
Here's where you can learn more about stem cells.