A study published this week reinforces the potential value of stem cells in repairing major injuries involving the loss of bone structure.
The study shows that delivering stem cells on a polymer scaffold to treat large areas of missing bone leads to improved bone formation and better mechanical properties compared to treatment with the scaffold alone. This type of therapeutic treatment could be a potential alternative to bone grafting operations.
"Massive bone injuries are among the most challenging problems that orthopedic surgeons face, and they are commonly seen as a result of accidents as well as in soldiers returning from war," said the study's lead author Robert Guldberg, a professor in Georgia Tech's Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. "This study shows that there is promise in treating these injuries by delivering stem cells to the injury site. These are injuries that would not heal without significant medical intervention."
Details of the research were published in the early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on January 11, 2010. This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
The study was conducted in rats in which two bone gaps eight millimeters in length were created to simulate massive injuries. One gap was treated with a polymer scaffold seeded with stem cells and the other with scaffold only. The results showed that injuries treated with the stem cell scaffolds showed significantly more bone growth than injuries treated with scaffolds only.
Guldberg and mechanical engineering graduate student Kenneth Dupont experimented with scaffolds containing two different types of human stem cells -- bone marrow-derived mesenchymal adult stem cells and amniotic fluid fetal stem cells.
"We were able to directly evaluate the therapeutic potential of human stem cells to repair large bone defects by
|Contact: Abby Vogel|
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News