Gene therapy as a new option for bone defects

December 7, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Gene therapy involving modified stem cells obtained from fatty tissue and bone marrow could represent a new option for the treatment of severe orthopaedic injuries to the extremities. This treatment has been developed by Martina Hauser-Schinhan from the University Department of Orthopaedics at the MedUni Vienna during a research fellowship at the Center for Advanced Orthopedic Studies at the Harvard Medical School. The treatment could in future prevent threatened amputations or massive shortenings of bones.

The new method involves altering the body's own , obtained from fat or bone marrow, with BMP-2 genes which are known to promote bone healing. The autologous stem cells that are genetically modified with ad.BMP-2 are embedded in a fibrin gel which is applied between the two broken parts of the bone. The stem cells continuously produce BMP-2, like a power plant. The stem cells and the BMP-2 cause the bones to heal. "Until now, in cases of severe injury that we would be able to treat with this method, amputations or bone shortening surgery were often necessary," says Hauser-Schinhan.

The new has been used in in vivo trials and clinical studies are set to follow. The results so far invite the conclusion that healing occurs within a few weeks. Says Hauser-Schinhan: "Even with normal , it takes six weeks." Its use even after the removal of bony tumours, which involves taking away large portions of bone, appears to be possible according to the MedUni researcher.

Hauser-Schinhan carried out research at Harvard between April 2011 and April 2012. The local Center for Orthopedics, led by Christopher Evans, who has collaborated closely for many years with the Head of Department in Vienna Reinhard Windhager, is renowned for its work on and its use in the healing of bone defects.

Explore further: Molecule dictates how stem cells travel

Related Stories

Molecule dictates how stem cells travel

January 14, 2006

U.S. researchers have defined a molecule that dictates how blood stem cells travel to the bone marrow and establish blood and immune cell production.

Study uses bone marrow stem cells to regenerate skin

January 14, 2009

A new study suggests that adult bone marrow stem cells can be used in the construction of artificial skin. The findings mark an advancement in wound healing and may be used to pioneer a method of organ reconstruction. The ...

Stem cells from fat may help heal bone

June 30, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Wounded soldiers may one day be treated with stem cells from their own fat using a method under development at UC Davis.

Smart materials that get bone to heal

November 4, 2011

Bone tissue is very good at self-healing, but in many situations the natural healing process is not sufficient. In a dissertation at Uppsala University, Sonya Piskounova shows how functional materials that she and her colleagues ...

Stem cells could heal equine tendon injuries

November 1, 2012

Tendon injuries affect athletic horses at all levels. Researchers from the University of Connecticut are studying the use of stem cells in treating equine tendon injuries. Their findings were published Oct. 16 in the Journal ...

Recommended for you

Strict diet combats rare progeria aging disorders

August 25, 2016

Mice with a severe aging disease live three times longer if they eat thirty percent less. Moreover, they age much healthier than mice that eat as much as they want. These are findings of a joint study being published today ...

New avenue for understanding cause of common diseases

August 25, 2016

A ground-breaking Auckland study could lead to discoveries about many common diseases such as diabetes, cancer and dementia. The new finding could also illuminate the broader role of the enigmatic mitochondria in human development.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.