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Stem Cells Expedite the Healing of Severe Bone Fractures

BBC, February 28, 2008

A team of scientists at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have developed a "bioactive scaffolding" comprised of materials designed to interact with adult stem cells in such a way that even the most serious types of skeletal injuries may now be able to heal completely. Some types of injuries to bone and cartilage are too traumatic to heal without medical intervention, although the conventional types of orthopedic surgery have not always been successful in repairing such injuries. Now Dr. Brendon Noble and his colleagues at the MRC (Medical Research Council) Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Edinburgh have developed a composite "scaffold" which consists of a rigid mesh structure that has been impregnated with chemicals that facilitate the natural action of stem cells derived from bone marrow. Such a device would be useful not only for treating people who have suffered acute injury, but also for treating chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis and cancer of the bone. People of all ages who may suffer skeletomuscular trauma, especially the elderly, would benefit greatly from such a therapy.

Dr. Noble and his colleagues are working in collaboration with the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service in the harvesting and culturing of blood-derived stem cells that are known to differentiate into bone, and which are incorporated into this new therapy.



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