Authors: Crispin R. Dass
Chitosan is a biomaterial extracted from the exoskeleton of crustaceans and insects. It is naturally abundant, is biocompatible, biodegradable, and can be formulated into various shapes and sizes, and can be used for various biomedical applications. Bone tumours lyse bone (osteolysis) and these include primary tumours such as osteosarcoma or chondrosarcoma, or secondary tumours such as breast and
prostate with a predilection for metastasis to the bone. These tumours are aggressive and there is molecular cross-talk between tumour cells and normal bone cells such as osteoblasts (OBs) and
osteoclasts (OCs). We show that chitosan is capable of inducing osteoblast (OB) maturation from bone marrow precursor cells in mice, and to suppress the growth of osteoclasts (OCs). Currently, we are pursuing this further to see whether chitosan can be used to foster stem cell survival and activity for bone regeneration in an attempt to heal damaged bone tissue as a result of aggressive tumour growth at or in proximity to the bone.
Keywords: chitosan, stem cell, bone, regeneration, cancer, tumour