Stem Cells Will Allow Us To Grow Bones And Joints

by Malc on February 22, 2011

Imperial College London

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Molly Stevens, Biomaterials Professor at Imperial College London, is a prime mover in the development of stem cell technology to create bone.

A £4,000,000 grant has recently been awarded to Imperial to fund research into bone reconstruction. Over the next five years, scientists at Imperial College will combine their expertise in skeletal stem cells and the ‘scaffolds’ they require, to identify the conditions that will lead to tissue regeneration and skeletal repairs.

Professor Stevens herself says she can see a time when the regrowth of joints will be possible.

That is stunning, considering the trauma involved in replacing a hip or a knee joints. Not to mention that the lifetime of such joints is limited.

Currently, even a fairly simple tendon repair to the knee – for example, a ripped tendon due to a sports injury – can take a two-hour operation to fix and cost many thousands of pounds in total. This is quite apart from the recovery time for the patient and the cost of their removal from the work pool, or the resulting difficulties of performing family or other daily tasks.

The use of stem cells will have dramatically changed medicine in 10 years time; and many aspects of medicine will be unrecognisable in 20 years time thanks to this technology.

Story – Wired Magazine:

http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2010/11/start/she-grows-bones

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