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Bone Repair With Stem Cells

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 18 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
Stem Cells Bone Repair United States

Repairing bone is important to people who suffer bone trauma or experience a loss of bone from disease. One of the ways in which researchers want to help is by finding uses for stem cells in bone repair.

Choosing a Stem Cell Source

While many sources of adult stem cells are being examined, a key one is to use stem cells from fat. By encouraging cells from a person’s fat to essentially regenerate the damaged bone, a person can experience better form and function. But how exactly would this work and are there any complications?

Starting a Study

A new study has just started to look at how stem cells from fat can help repair damaged bone. The study has been funded with a grant from the United States Army and it is hoped the results can help both the military and the general public.

How it Works

The method researchers are using involves the use of a material that has a gel-like consistency. This particular material then coaxes stem cells extracted from fat to regenerate bone that has been damaged.

Activating the Body’s Healing System

The stem cells trigger – or activate – the body’s own healing system. They work to stimulate the growth of very tiny blood vessels that are found within bone that is just in the developing stages. In this way, the bone actually repairs itself with the help of the stem cells removed from fat.

Stem cells are also contained to the site of bone injury due to the gel used in the procedure. As the bone continues to heal, the gel then degrades as it is no longer needed.

Researchers had first tried to inject only stem cells into the damaged bone but it did not work very well because the stem cells did not stay and instead, moved throughout the body. The gel remedies that issue by targeting the injury site.

Using Racehorses as a Model

A veterinary professor initially used the injection approach on racehorses that had been receiving treatment for bone cysts at a medical teaching hospital. They injected stem cells without a gel and are now using the gel technique in three horses.

Why Use Stem Cells from Fat?

The researchers who will soon start testing their results think that there are some important advantages to using stem cells from a person’s own fat. In the first instance, there is less chance of the body rejecting the cells because it recognises the cells as being its own. This kind of immunological rejection has traditionally been an issue with many kinds of treatments.

Fat is also a more conveniently accessible form of stem cells. Extracting stem cells from bone marrow, for instance, can be very time-consuming and painful. It also means that several days are required for the patient to recover from the procedure. With fat – also called adipose tissue – large numbers of cells can be isolated.

Safe and Successful Bone Repair

The ultimate hope is that one day, a surgeon can remove fat from a patient, isolate the stem cells and then combine them with the gel before injecting them right into a bone fracture. For patients who need bone repair, this research is exciting news that may help them one day in the near future.

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Hi, My wife has her right humerus (mid section) fracture, so far the treatment was with braces and sling and after 4 months the bone has not heal. We prefer not to go for surgery if possible, hence exploring the stem cell technique to heal. My wife is 68 years old and has 15 years of Parkinson disease, her condition is manageable and under control. Can you please advise where we can go to get the bone heal using stem cell and any surgery is required. We are in Melbourne Australia. Thanks Cheers Chue
Chue - 18-Jun-17 @ 11:08 AM
Hi i was wondering if this would work for faulty or deformed vertebrae or is it firstly for spinal disc injury? Would it regeneratecollapsed vertebral body?
Cro - 12-Nov-16 @ 10:59 PM
Two years after my accident I have been advised that there is still non-union to my tibia.I would like to look into stem cell rather than have more open surgery and external fixators. I'm in the UK.
NikNak - 28-Oct-16 @ 3:27 PM
Had the stem cell treatment from bone marrow in my hip on Friday done through my private healthcare cover - bupa. I'm on crutches for 6 weeks but this will hopefully prevent a hip replacement in the next 10 years - I am 27. I won't have the follow up for another 5 weeks but have been told it was successful.
Booker - 12-Aug-16 @ 12:01 AM
I am looking for help finding a bone specialist that would possibly use Stem Cells to rebuild bone eaten out by cancer and causing fractures to the entire skeletal system. The person I am inquiring for is on Medicare and is finding it difficult to locate a doctor that is taking new patients, taking Medicare and will touch her after having cancer wreak havoc on her body.
A Friend - 21-Jul-16 @ 6:03 PM
Does anyone know what the cream is called?
Azz - 28-Jun-16 @ 9:12 PM
Hello I have osteoporosisand degenerative arthritisand my spine is very bad. I have had surgeriesand need more is there anythingthat can be done for me? Also inquiring on stem cell for wrinkles.
Sunshine - 20-Jun-16 @ 4:28 AM
I have osteoarthritis in my left foot and the bones are quite badly damaged. I had my foot x-rayed and the foot surgeon said the only way to stop the pain in the bones in my foot would be to have the bones 'fused together' but he said it would be so complicated to do he wouldn't recommend it. I would prefer to try to regenerate the bones using stem cells. When will this treatment be available?
Pat - 18-Jan-16 @ 9:13 PM
@Leigh - I'm sorry to hear of your condition bought about by steroids. Unfortunately, there are no new scientific reports that I can put my hands on in order to help you further. The best thing you can do is toresearch online in order to read any articles that have been recently uploaded. I hope this helps.
ExploreStemCells - 20-Jan-15 @ 10:49 AM
I am most interested in learning more about stem cell and repairing bones. Many years ago I needed steroids for a serious condition which has caused me to have two hip replacements and now my shoulders are failing with the condition known as avascular necrosis. Could you please give me more information about how stem cells may be able to help me and Anythat is being currently done on this Thanks leigh
Leigh - 18-Jan-15 @ 10:14 PM
@Optimistic AboutStem -you might have heard the news today about a paralysed man who has been able to walk again after a pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord. I think there is a programme on about it tonight that might interest you.
mina - 21-Oct-14 @ 2:32 PM
I had a severe car accident in 1988. I broke my able completely off. Straight cut through the Tibia and Tibia,and crumbling of my talus. Was told I'd never walk again. With a lot of time,screws desolvable pins. Dr. White did the best job he could. Though the years,I was getting server degeneration of the joint.It's now 2014. I am feeling the pain. My Talmud now looks like a triangle. Dr. says I'm bone on bone. There's only 2options.1 is to get my ankle fused,our ankle replacement(which I heard it's rare & the outcome is not always the best. Someone told me about stem cells.They could possibly rebuild my ankle.What could make me a candidate? Is there research studies. I'm very interested. I have worked for years in cosmetics that used stem cells in their products. I am a believer. Would love to be contacted,and discuss options. Thank You, Jill M Sharlow
Optimistic AboutStem - 21-Oct-14 @ 4:39 AM
Where can I get this in the UK? Or, who can I see about the possibility of treatment?
physiogirl - 8-Sep-14 @ 8:46 AM
I am told by an orthopaedic surgeon that stem cell obtained from your own blood can help in growing the cartilage of the worn out knee joint. He has shown me the video of people who were unable to walk and after the procedure, could walk without any support and with confidence that they can walk now. Is it possible to obtain stem cells from blood and how one can be sure that stem cells obtained from the blood will help growing the cartilage as early as within 48 hours?
Minoo - 13-Aug-14 @ 6:11 PM
i want to know, who can stem cell be use. and my friend new born boy was on 4-5 year old. he is born time without half right hand. so can stem cell treatment, and reapir to this? pls known me... my contact no. is 09898375976,
no. - 12-Jul-14 @ 6:55 PM
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