Scientists have taken ‘inspiration from nature’ to pioneer a new method for regenerating damaged tissues in humans.

The research team, led by the University of Birmingham, and including experts from the University of Loughborough and University College Dublin, has developed a technique to “mimic the process the body goes through to heal itself”. It involves taking what are called extracellular vesicles, which are naturally occurring in the body, and capturing these cell-derived particles – purifying them – and harnessing their potential as a regenerative tool.

Mixing the extracellular vesicles in a simple phosphate generated a therapy – in the lab – which ‘outperforms the current gold standard, BMP-2’.

“It is early days, but the potential is there for this to transform the way we approach tissue repair. We’re now looking to produce these therapeutically valuable particles at scale and also examine their capacity to regenerate other tissues,” explained Dr Owen Davies, EPSRC E-TERM Landscape Fellow at the University of Birmingham and Loughborough University.

Dr Sophie Cox and Dr.Owen Davies describe the new method. Credit: University of Birmingham