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Biotech Medicine Science

Fracture Putty Can Heal a Broken Bone In Days 236

An anonymous reader writes "If we break a bone it can take weeks or even month to heal depending on the type and severity of the break. In some extreme cases the complexity of the fracture can make it impossible to heal properly. Researchers at the University of Georgia Regenerative Bioscience Center have come up with a new solution for healing broken bones that cuts recovery time to days. It relies on the use of stem cells that contain a bone generating protein. These cells are injected in gel form directly into the area of the broken bone, where they quickly get to work forming new bone. The end result is very rapid recovery, possibly sidestepping the muscle atrophy that can come with long bone healing times. The gel has been proven to work on animals as big as a sheep and has funding from the DoD. Lets hope it is proven to work on humans in the coming years."
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Fracture Putty Can Heal a Broken Bone In Days

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  • by dutchwhizzman ( 817898 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @05:41PM (#38959945)
    It'd be a bummer if you don't have a large supply of your own stem cells in your home fridge, or else this wouldn't work, or am I misinformed and you can use other peoples stem cells for this?
  • by Ronin Developer ( 67677 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @05:43PM (#38959983)

    I just spent six weeks in a cast after breaking my right arm Christmas Night (no...no rogue or drunk reindeer involved). There is now a titanium plate and six screws in my arm. My other wrist is broken also (yes...I fell and had a hell of hard time getting up). Now, I have to endure painful PT to regain full use of my arm again and have a 5 inch scar too (no...it is NOT cool).

    How I would have loved to have this stuff injected into the fractures and have it immobilized for a few days while it took action and fuzed the bones. I do hope this comes to fruition...cool stuff. Who said war wasn't useful?

  • by gcnaddict ( 841664 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @05:43PM (#38959987)
    There exist treatments overseas for increasing a person's height which rely on repeatedly fracturing leg bones and spacing them such that they heal at a distance, essentially lengthening the bone.

    Do we have any osteopathologists on slashdot who can comment on whether this can theoretically shorten such a procedure's duration to make someone taller in a matter of one or two weeks? The current procedure takes at least a few months, if not a year.
  • by TBedsaul ( 95979 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @06:05PM (#38960247)

    Seems to me this would be a great benefit to veterinarians. The hardest part of treating a fracture in an animal is getting the patient to stay still while they recuperate. Would be a lot easier to do that for a couple of days vs. several weeks. Racehorses might be able to live with injuries that result in euthanasia now.

  • by SleazyRidr ( 1563649 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @06:48PM (#38960697)

    No it doesn't, they just remember the names of places. The Chaser did a bit where they took a map and rewrote it so that Australia was labelled as either Iran or North Korea, then showed that map to Americans and asked them to located them. They just saw the name, and pointed at it saying "there it is!"

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @06:50PM (#38960717)
    If I were an injured soldier, I might want a break. Perhaps athletes will be among the first adopters. If you want to find people who are often injured, and to whom recovery might be worth tens of thousands of dollars per day, look to the NFL.
  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @07:01PM (#38960821) Journal

    With the interesting side effect of calling most members of the armed forces crash test dummies.

    I'm a veteran, and I have used VA medical care. I have to confess that this analogy works very well from that perspective.

  • by HapSlappy_2222 ( 1089149 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @08:40PM (#38961693)
    I'd actually go you one further and say "some people you refer to" instead of "religious people you refer to".

    Religion doesn't necessarily have have anything to do with opinions on abortive stem cell harvesting, research, or usage, for either side. Here are two anecdotal examples:

    1- My mother is very religious, but thinks abortive stem cells should be harvested since the embryos/fetuses are lost already. Her position is one of salvaging what possible good can come from what is essentially a complete tragedy.

    2- I'm atheist, but I think there are plenty of other ways to harvest stem cells, and I think abortive embryonic/fetal stem cells are of questionable long-term use anyway. Using your own stem cells, which your parents (hopefully) acquired for you at birth, is FAR superior, and we should be striving to have stem cells harvested from as many births as possible. There are also certain types of useful cells residing in your spinal column, though they aren't as nearly as amazing as the ones available at birth. Although I'm not *ethically* against the harvesting of abortive stem cells, my position is one of utilizing the non-abortive avenues of procurement to their full potential, and only using abortive stem cells for testing purposes or as a last resort.

    As I said, these are anecdotal, but I can see lots of people having various opinions on this type of subject, and the claim that only the religious are on one side and only the non-religious are on the other is just plain false.
  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @10:52PM (#38962737) Homepage Journal

    if you don't have a large supply of your own stem cells in your home fridge

    They know (in the lab anyway) how to take a random cell from you, force it to turn into a pleuripotent stem-cell and then make it become a 'whatever' (e.g. bone) cell. A happy side effect of Bush's fetal stem cell ban.

    So, I guess on a long-term basis, you'll have to wait a few days after you break your bone for this kind of treatment. Or, I guess if you're rich you can have this kind of stuff banked and ready. It's not worth $10,000 a year to me to guard against this kind of wait, but maybe if I had 4 billion in the bank I'd look at it differently.

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine