Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Protocol for production of bone tissue from human stem cells in vitro

Technology #2846

This technology is a protocol for the production of living human bone tissue in vitro using stem cells.

Unmet Need: Readily available functional human bone tissue for implantation

Current approaches to repair major bone defects which use bone grafts harvested from other parts of the body face severe challenges, including donor site morbidity and associated pain, high cost, and supply limitations. Allogeneic grafting using donor specimens bypasses the harvesting procedure, but can result in rejection and potentially life-threatening immune reactions.

The Technology: Implantable living bone tissue grown in vitro from stem cells

This technology is a method for producing living human bone tissue from stem cells. Using this protocol, osteogenic progenitor cells generated from human pluripotent stem cells are seeded on osteoconductive scaffolds, such as decellularized bone, and cultured in a perfusion bioreactor, resulting in the growth of large pieces of bone tissue. Cell-seeded scaffolds can be customized in terms of size and shape to serve as a patient-specific implant for craniofacial or skeletal reconstruction, and can integrate with the surrounding bone following implantation.

This technology has been validated in vivo in mice.


  • Bone tissue grafts for craniofacial and skeletal reconstruction
  • Platform to test drugs and study diseases affecting bone
  • Platform to generate other tissues (nerve, muscle, cartilage)


  • Provides customizable, patient-specific bone grafts
  • Obviates the need to use autologous tissue grafts, allogeneic transplants, and prosthetic implants
  • Integrates with surrounding bone following implantation
  • Could serve as a convenient in vitro bone model for drug testing and pathophysiological studies

Lead Inventor:

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Ph.D.

Patent Information:

Patent Pending (US 20140147419)

Related Publications:

Tech Ventures Reference: