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The Biology of Broken Bones Leads to New Treatments
Date:11/3/2008

Understanding how a fracture heals uncovers "biologic treatments"

ROSEMONT, Ill., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A review of research into how cells and proteins repair fractured bones published in the November 2008 issue of The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (http://www.jaaos.org/) demonstrates that understanding the biology behind this healing process may lead to improved and less invasive treatments for fractures.

"The healing of a fracture (http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00097) takes place at the injury site and at other points in the body further away. It is one of the few human biological processes that are capable of regenerating exactly the same tissue," says study co-author Mitchell B. Harris, MD, associate professor at Harvard Medical School and chief of the orthopaedic trauma service at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Recent research has explained more about how the body naturally repairs broken bones, and this data has allowed trauma surgeons to combine conventional treatments such as putting a cast on a fracture with "biological treatments" that mimic or exaggerate some of the regenerative processes involved in bone repair. However, there is still much to learn to improve fracture repair, especially fractures that are difficult to treat.

By understanding the processes that fail when fractures do not heal, scientists can pursue new methods of treatment. Study co-author Francois N. K. Kwong, MD, says, "We know which clinical factors impair fracture healing, but we do not always understand how they affect the cells and proteins involved in fracture repair." Dr. Kwong was a research fellow, supervised by Dr. Christopher Evans, director of the Center for Molecular Orthopaedics at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, when the resear
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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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