Scientists at Amrita Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine (ACNSMM), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kochi, have developed a remarkable simulation of bone marrow, using synthetic biocompatible polymeric materials. They proved that leukemic cells integrated into this synthetic bone marrow avoided drug treatment in much the same way that they do in a real bone marrow. Dr. Krishnakumar Menon, Associate Professor, ACNS, Kochi, and Dr. Ullas Mony, Assistant Professor, ACNS, Kochi, now plan for their research groups to use this bone marrow in a dish to develop a drug testing bed for leukemia drugs. The work was published in International Journal of Nanomedicine doi: 10.2147/IJN.S80397. E-Collection (Nair M.S. et al.)

Bone marrow is one of the most complex factories in the human system, sustaining life through maintenance of stem cells, and production of many critical factors needed for survival. However, it turns out that cancer originates from what are known as cancer stem cells, which uses this very same ecosystem to hide and survive. Recreating this complex ecosystem in the lab poses enormous challenges, but any success could have large implications for health and even for the treatment of blood cancers.

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