Case study

Delivering expertise in enterprise and innovation: Nanokicking stem cells into action

23 Mar 2017

Our bodies’ stem cells have a great potential to turn into other kinds of tissue such as blood, muscle or bone, but sometimes they need a little encouragement. Now a collaboration between the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) and the University of Glasgow has developed a novel way of nudging the cells where we want them - and turning them into bone.

The team, led by the UWS Institute of Thin Films, Sensors and Imaging, has developed an ultra-sensitive vibration plate that gives stem cells miniscule bumps. The technique, called Nanokicking, replicates a natural process - when broken bones knit during mending, they vibrate.

As well as helping in the treatment of breaks and fractures, the patented technology underpinning Nanokicking could help develop new treatments for osteoporosis and other conditions. Although it’s at an early stage it’s hoped the technique, unveiled at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London, will be ready for testing on people within three years.