This is the first stem cell procedure that actually opens a road to outright bone repair. I mean specifically restoration work itself. If a bone is eroded and made unusable as happens commonly among the elderly, it may become possible to simply regrow the bone structure.
This will be slow coming, but the important first step is certainly here. Reconstructing fractures surgically and implanting a bio scaffold is very similar work.
The single largest uncured health problem is bone damage often impacting on nerve systems. Solve it and figure out how to regrow nerves and wheel chairs disappear.
As I have posted earlier, stem cell work appears to have overcome its many limitations that held its promise at bay for the past two decades. I am seeing real momentum develop. This was almost the first problem everyone recognized in the early days. It is humbling to realize how much time we had to wait for a positive report.
Also earlier this tear it was reported that they have found a way to stimulate the production of stem cells specific to cartilage and heart tissue. This is also a developing support protocol.
A novel technology involving use of stem cells, developed by Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers, has been applied to provide better and rapid healing for patients suffering from complicated bone fractures.
The technology, involving isolation of the from bone marrow, was developed by Dr. Zulma Gazit, Dr. Gadi Pelled, Prof. Dan Gazit and their research team at the Skeletal Biotechnology Laboratory at the Hebrew University Faculty of Dental Medicine and was given public exposure in an article that appeared in the prestigious journal Stem Cells. The technology has now successfully been used to treat complicated fractures in seven patients at the Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem.
To date, in clinical orthopedics, standard treatment for severe bone loss has involved either amputation or a prolonged period of disability. The use of prosthetic implants tends to fail in the long term. Excessive bone loss may result in non-uniting fractures, which are observed in more than one million new cases per year in the US alone.
Now, the Hebrew University group has developed a technology called immuno-isolation in which MSCs are sorted out from the other cells residing in a bone marrow sample, using a specific antibody. In the Stem Cell paper it was shown that the immuno-isolated cells could be immediately used to form new bone tissue when implanted in laboratory , without having to undergo a prolonged incubator growth period.
To date, seven patients suffering from complicated fractures have been treated successfully with a combination of their own immuno-isolated MSCs and blood products. The entire procedure lasted a few hours and without any need to grow the cells for weeks in a laboratory.
It is anticipated that future development of the current endeavor will extend to treat other injuries in the skeleton, such as degenerated intervertebral discs or torn tendons. The Gazit group believes that further clinical trials will demonstrate that the immuno-isolation technology is useful in overcoming morbidity in patients suffering from skeletal fractures and diseases, and might restore function and quality of life to sick and injured people.
Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the technology transfer arm of the university, licensed the immuno-isolation technology to TheraCell Inc. of California in July 2009. TheraCell aims to further develop and commercialize the technology for advanced regenerative medicine procedures such as spinal fusion.