By combining stem cell science with orthopedic surgery, a team of researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute aims to reduce the 10 per cent failure rate in hip replacements and make repeat replacements and other joint repairs obsolete within 10-15 years.
With $1.5 million over five years in funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, a group of seven UBC scientists will explore how stem cells – the bodys "master cells" that can reproduce and develop many mature functional cells – can be used to regenerate bone cells to better secure artificial joints and other bone replacement structures. "Were very excited about the potential for long-term success for patients who need repeat surgery to repair or replace bone," says Fabio Rossi, UBC assistant professor of medical genetics and Canada Research Chair in Regenerative Medicine. "By using a well-understood stem cell and available technologies, we can accelerate research and have our discoveries quickly incorporated into patient care."
The team will create a new fixative mixture that combines minerals and slow-release growth factors. The mixture will be seeded with the patients own mesenchymal stem cells – a type of stem cell that is easily extracted from adult bone marrow and capable of manufacturing bone cells and connective tissue. This "living glue" will form a strong, organic environment to secure artificial joints, vertebrae or other replacement structures where the original replacement has failed.
Hilary Thomson | EurekAlert!
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