Researchers Invent Miracle Fracture Putty To Heal Broken Bones8 Feb 2012
After experiencing approximately 300 broken bones in my lifetime, I can honestly say that I would give ANYTHING to learn of a treatment that could heal bones quickly.
Everyone’s bones renew themselves all the time, by breaking down and building themselves up again, but due to my Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), my bones break down faster than they build up, so I’m always left with more fragile bones, than the average person.
During childhood, fractures occurred around ever 2 – 3 months, but once I reached puberty, and entered adult hood, my fractures slowed down, and almost stopped, and now it’ll be years in between fractures. This is usually the case for most people with OI, but it still doesn’t stop us thinking, worrying and wondering all the time, about the next big fracture, and when it will happen.
To be honest, I was constantly having nightmares leading up to my wedding, that I would break something right beforehand, and it would ruin everything, but I’m so thankful that nothing happened!
I always tend to get a bit panicky when everything else in my life is going along smoothly, because I just expect a break to get in the way and mess it all up, while trying to stay positive that it won’t.
For me, it’s been about five years since I last broke something, which was my leg, and it has healed crooked. I want to get it straightened, which would involve re-breaking it in about three places, and inserting a rod down the centre, with some screws and plates to hold it all together, but my doctor is reluctant to touch it, because once people with OI become older, the bones can have a harder time healing. So for now, I’m just going to live with it, besides, I’d rather a crooked leg, than a permanently broken one, any day!
Anyway, I came across an article today which has some promising results from a research project that is being performed by a group of scientists and university students, in Georgia, in the US. Their exciting findings could change the way doctors treat broken bones, forever.
They have discovered that by harvesting adult stem cells, and processing them into a type of gel that has been named ‘fracture putty’, they can heal broken bones in a matter of days in some cases, by injecting the substance into the fracture sight.
Naturally, the more severe the break, the longer the bone will take to heal, but for more complicated fractures, they could heal in a matter of weeks, the time that it currently takes for a small fracture to heal.
Retrieving the adult stem cells, could be quite unpleasant for patients, as they have to be harvested from inside your bones, from the bone marrow. So I don’t see this as a treatment that could be possible in small medical centres around the world, but rather larger hospitals, which are equipped to deal with such procedures.
So far, this treatment has only been tested on small animals, such as rats and sheep, but will soon be tested on larger animals, and if all goes well, eventually humans. The US military is helping to provide funding for the project, as they can envisage this treatment assisting soldiers injured during combat, who would normally have to face amputation for more complex fractures.
As much as I, being an animal lover, squirm at the thought of scientists in white lab coats gathering around tiny rats and helpless sheep, breaking their bones, only to repair them again, if it is successful, then maybe no animal or human will ever have to endure months of agony after a break ever again. Here's hoping!
If you would like to see the original article which contains a thorough explanation into this research project, please click here: http://news.uga.edu/releases/article/uga-discovery-uses-fracture-putty-to-repair-broken-bone-in-days/