A development by scientists in the UK could lead to a revolutionary new stem-cell treatment for osteoporosis.
Researchers at the University of Nottingham are developing a paste made from liquid bone tissue which could be delivered by injection to help regenerate thinning bones. If successful, the method could bring about a minimally-invasive alternative to the treatments currently available.
The paste is made of porous calcium phosphate microspheres, with stem cells to trigger new bone growth. According to the research team, the calcium phosphate provides a protective casing for the stem cells, which are extremely delicate and often die after transplantation.
Dr Ifty Ahmed, a researcher at Nottingham University, said that his team wanted to provide a preventative treatment to strengthen the bones of people at risk before they suffered a fracture. It would be used to specifically target weak and fragile bones in those who suffer from the condition, in an effort to prevent a break, loss of independence, surgery and secondary illnesses.
The experimental treatment has not yet been trialled on humans. It would involve stem cells being extracted from the patient´s bone marrow, combining them with the microspheres and injecting the paste into specific areas of concern.
“If it works, this kind of treatment could be done in a day,” Dr Ahmed commented.
The team hopes to link up with a commercial partner for further development. Previous funding came from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.