It takes more than a cast and a little time to heal many broken bones….Now, researchers have combined ultrasound, stem cells, and gene therapy to stimulate robust bone repair. So far the work has only been performed in animals. But it has already been so successful that it’s expected to move quickly toward human clinical trials.
Researchers have long tried to improve matters by growing new bone without use of a graft. To do so they typically first fill gaps in bone with a natural scaffolding material called collagen. This scaffolding encourages a person’s own bone-forming stem cells, called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), to migrate into the area. The trouble is MSCs don’t only differentiate into osteocytes, the bone-producing cells. They can also develop into either fat tissue cells or scar tissue.
However, [Johnny Huard, an orthopedics researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston] notes, the pigs used in this study were all under 1 year in age. Younger animals, including people, tend to have far more MSCs than older ones, he says, yet large fractures are far more common in the elderly than the young.
[Read the full study here.]
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Tiny bubbles and a bit of gene therapy heal major bone fractures in pigs