Sunday, 9 December 2012

New stem cell gene therapy for the treatment of bone defects

A new stem cell gene treatment has been developed by Martina Hauser-Schinhan from the University Department of Orthopaedics at the MedUni Vienna. The gene treatment uses modified stem cells from fat tissue and bone marrow, and in the future may be applied to serious orthopaedic limb injuries. Hopefully, it will one day prevent amputations, bone shortenings and help in the treatment of large bone defects.

During the treatment, stem cells are taken from fat or bone marrow and are then genetically modified with 
BMP-2 genes. The modified stem cells are then placed in a fibrin gel which is applied in the broken section of the bone.There the stem cells start producing BMP-2 (bone morphogenetic proteins) which in return stimulate bone production.

"Until now, in cases of severe injury that we would be able to treat with this method, amputations or bone shortening surgery were often necessary" says Hauser-Schinhan.

Model of the BMP-2 protein produced by the modified stem cells
Model of the BMP-2 protein

As of today, the treatment has only be used in vivo trials. Clinical trials are expected to follow as the findings seem to be very promising. According to the researcher the treatment can also be used for "filling the gaps" left after the removal of  large bony tumors

The treatment was developed during a research fellowship at the Center for Advanced Orthopedic Studies at the Harvard Medical School.


1 comment:

  1. I am a biology major at a secondary school. In one of my biology classes, I learned the process of bone growth and restoration. The process involves osteoblasts and osteoclast working together to control bone development. My questions is how is this discovery related to the regulation those cell types? Also, during this process are the osteoclast in a any way inhibited?


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