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Stem Cell Trial Proves Successful

BBC News, August 4, 2006

In a ground-breaking trial at a Shropshire hospital, patients with complicated bone fractures are being helped to evade permanent disability.

Oswestry's Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopedic Hospital is conducting the stem cell therapy research.

The trial is set to involve 40 patients total and twelve have taken part thus far.

The trial involves using a patient's bone marrow to literally reproduce their own bones in an attempt to assist the fracture and the healing process.

Faced with having her leg amputated after suffering a complex fracture in a fall down a set of stairs, Warwickshire mother Jane is one patient who will be gaining from the trial.

After suffering five years of pain and undergoing 15 separate operations, Jane, from Bidford-on-Avon was told the only alternative was to have the limb amputated.

"I realized that I would go through a lot of emotional and mental anguish," she said.

She can lead a full life again now that the revolutionary treatment has saved her leg.

The treatment is unlike embryonic stem cell treatment, involving the use of stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow. The cells are then stimulated in a laboratory, implanted back into her leg, and therapeutic benefits are achieved.

The stem cells help knit the fracture site together by growing new bone.

"These patients have already had several operations on fractures that haven't healed over several years and are facing amputation or a lifetime of pain and disability,” Paul a clinical scientist at the hospital said.

"Having just completed the tenth stem cell implant, the initial results are extremely encouraging. In fact, three of our patients have already handed back their crutches."


 

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