Scientists are trying to develop a new form of stem cell transplant that would revolutionise the way in which damaged bones and cartilage are mended.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh are developing the technique, in which stem cells are taken from a person's bone marrow, turned into bone or cartilage cells in the laboratory, and then put inside a 'scaffold' and placed inside the damaged limb or joint.
The process could prove useful in treating shattered bones and conditions such as osteoarthritis, which often requires a hip replacement or knee surgery.
Dr Brendon Noble, a researcher in the university's MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, said: "We hope that this will kick-start the body's natural healing processes, enabling cells to grow and carry out repair to the damaged area."
The expert revealed that half of consumers undergo orthopaedic surgery at some stage during their lifetime and added: "We envisage a number of scenarios where this therapy could be used for cartilage injuries or severe fractures."
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Knee replacement surgery news : 18 February 2008