News / 23 March 2016
The image shows reconstitution of a rat skull by micro computed tomography (microCT). Two circular bone defects on the calvaria were regenerated after two months by the local delivery of engineered human growth factors. Mikaël Martino
The image shows reconstitution of a rat skull by micro computed tomography (microCT).

We have the ability to regenerate our bones after minor fractures throughout most of our adult life. But our bones are unable to effectively and efficiently recover from larger defects such as osteoporosis. In recent years, our immune system has increasingly been associated with healing our injuries and is a running hopeful as a regenerative medicine option.

To pursue this goal, EMBL Australia has brought on board Prof. Mikaël Martino as a group leader who studies the involvement of our immune system during bone regeneration.

After an injury, our body releases signals that regulates our immune response, such as activating immunes cells to participate in our body’s defence. However, the signals that are release do not always positively influence repair. Prof. Martino and his team identified that specific signals released after bone injury actually impairs the regenerative capacity of stem cells.

To counter this impairment, Prof. Martino developed a stem cell delivery system that inhibited these impairing signals during bone regeneration. What he saw was amazing; a significant improvement in a stem cell based bone regeneration after a critical bone defect. Prof. Martino work highlights that controlling the immune response is a key to unlocking successful regenerative strategies.

Prof. Mikaël Martino’s paper highlighting these results is titled ‘Inhibition of IL-1R1/MyD88 signalling promotes mesenchymal stem cell-driven tissue regeneration’ and was published in ‘Nature Communications’.