It's been a long time in the pipeline, but I am proud to say that Agnieszka's paper on Wnt and bone stem cells was published yesterday in the journal Stem Cells. Check it out here.
It is called Transient Canonical Wnt Stimulation Enriches Human Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cell Isolates for Osteoprogenitors. A bit of a mouthful, but in short we found that when we added a protein called Wnt to samples of human bone marrow, it increased the frequency of bone stem cells. It also made these stem cells more likely to turn into bone.
But it's not all positive news - if we exposed these cells to Wnt for too long, it almost completely stopped them turning into bone.
There are lots of drugs based on Wnt being developed for the clinic, and it's likely that they'll really change how osteoporosis is treated. But no-one really knows how these drugs will work if we give them to people after they break a bone. Agnieszka's study shows that the time when you give these drugs may be really important in making sure they heal patients' bones.
Here's a short video, which is actually a 'video abstract' for the journal, so it's a bit technical in parts. Hope you enjoy it!
We wouldn't have been able to do this work without the really generous support of a local charity called Wessex Medical Research. Check out their site here
We're also grateful to the many anonymous donors undergoing hip replacement at Southampton General Hospital, who consented to donate some tissue to us.
Finally this need the skills and expertise of a team of 9 scientists, here and at Dstl in Porton Down. Thanks to all of them too.