All we know from this is that serendipity stepped in and showed us a valuable pathway. Speeding bone healing is always a good thing and doing it for the aged will save lives and reduce suffering big time.
Recent work using stem cells to fabricate heart tissue on a framework shows us were this is all going.
We can anticipate the insertion into the body of a replacement organ or even bone using a collagen framework that is then bathed with appropriate stem cells. They are doing just that in the lab and we will shortly be trying it out on humans.
Thus we can expect surgery to be reduced to the removal of tissue and shaping of the insertion area before a replacement collagen framework is placed in the areas. Stem cells then rebuild a natural organ in that location.
We can also expect major scar tissue to quietly become a thing of the past.
The convincing experiments have been undertaken over the past year and I am expecting to see plenty of more reports.
By the way, I do not think it has happened yet. But what I have just described successfully applied to cases in which nerves are damaged or destroyed means the end of permanent disability, an amazing economic health benefit.
I would say that it is not too much to ask that by 2020, that all mechanical damage conditions will be curable. And since the human organism is good for about one hundred years at least, a lot of folks alive today will join a rising cohort of centenarians.
April 14, 2009
Enhancing Stem Cell Production for Miraculous Bone Healing in Less than Half the Time
The drug teriparatide, or Forteo, which was approved by the FDA in 2002 for the treatment of osteoporosis appear to also boost bone stem cell production for "miraculous bone healing".
"The decreased healing time is significant, especially when fractures are in hard-to-heal areas like the pelvis and the spine, where you can't easily immobilize the bone - and stop the pain," Bukata added. "Typically, a pelvic fracture will take months to heal, and people are in extreme pain for the first eight to 12 weeks. This [healing] time was more than cut in half; we saw complete pain relief, callus formation, and stability of the fracture in people who had fractures that up to that point had not healed."
When a fracture occurs, a bone becomes unstable and can move back and forth creating a painful phenomenon known as micromotion. As the bone begins healing it must progress through specific, well-defined stages. First, osteoclasts - cells that can break down bone - clean up any fragments or debris produced during the break. Next, a layer of cartilage - called a callus - forms around the fracture that ultimately calcifies, preventing the bony ends from moving, providing relief from the significant pain brought on by micromotion.
Only after the callus is calcified do the bone forming cells - osteoblasts - begin their work. They replace the cartilage with true bone, and eventually reform the fracture to match the shape and structure of the bone into what it was before the break.
According to Puzas, teriparatide significantly speeds up fracture healing by changing the behavior and number of the cartilage and the bone stem cells involved in the process.
"Teriparatide dramatically stimulates the bone's stem cells into action," Puzas said. "As a result, the callus forms quicker and stronger. Osteoblasts form more bone and the micromotion associated with the fracture is more rapidly eliminated. All of this activity explains why people with non-healing fractures can now return to normal function sooner."
I had patients with severe osteoporosis, in tremendous pain from multiple fractures throughout their spine and pelvis, who I would put on teriparatide," said Bukata. "When they would come back for their follow-up visits three months later, it was amazing to see not just the significant healing in their fractures, but to realize they were pain-free - a new and welcome experience for many of these patients."
Bukata began prescribing teriparatide to patients with non-healing fractures, and was amazed at her findings: 93 percent showed significant healing and pain control after being on teriparatide for only eight to 12 weeks. And in the lab, Puzas began to understand how teriparatide stimulates bone stem cells into action.