The Laboratory is managed by Professor Kjeld Søballe and Professor Cody Bünger. In August 2005 the laboratory received a donation from the A. P. Møller Foundation for the establishment of the Laboratory of Molecular Orthopaedics. This has made it possible to expand the existing activities within molecular and cellular orthopaedis research. The activities of the laboratory within this area include among others:
- Bioreactor research with reference to tissue engineering of bone, cartilage, and spinal disc.
- Stem cells/genetic therapy for the regeneration of the spinal disc, improvement of bone healing, and cartilage regeneration.
- Nano-functionalized implants for improved anchoring and administering of medicine (bone and cartilage stimulating and anti-cancer remedies).
- Testing of how cells respond to new implant surfaces.
- High technology quantification of mineralizing processes in cell culture, on implants, and in bone.
- Biochemical and molecular biological analyses on stem cells from patients with different musculo skeleton disorders.
In the future, the regeneration of bone, cartilage, and spinal discs will probably be possible by taking a small amount of stem cells from the patient followed by the cultivation and gene modification in the laboratory. When the cell structure has reached a suitable level of development it is possible to put it back into the patient and replace the missing cartilage and bone. The stem cell technology is at a stage where it is relevant to start testing on animals, one of the areas where the Orthopaedic Research Lab has its biggest expertise. We have therefore expanded the activities concerning the cultivation of stem cells in order to do stem cell cultivation on animals. This is necessary for the stem cell regeneration of bone and cartilage.
Stem cells are cultivated on three-dimensional biodegradable scaffolds (see figure 1). Figure 1 is an example of such scaffolds (fig. 1A and C) and cell adhesion to a biodegradable scaffold (fig. 1B). Figure 1D shows an extract of a scaffold with stem cells seen as small luminous spots. Fig. E shows a scaffold with stem cells. The picture is made by taking and putting together pictures from different focal plans on the confocal microscope. Fig. F shows an example of real-time RT-PCR data on RNA purified from stem cells.