Remember back in grade school when one kid would show up with a cast on his arm and all of the other kids would stumble over themselves to sign it? Your kids might not have the same experience thanks to a research project at the University of Georgia Regenerative Bioscience Center. Researchers there – in cooperation with the Department of Defense – have developed a “fracture putty” that could reduce the healing time for fractured bones from months to mere weeks, with patients being able to get up and move around just days after the treatment.
The secret is in the magic of stem cells. The researchers used adult stem cells which were producing a certain enzyme involved in bone generation. They prepared the stem cells into the “putty” concoction and injected the preparation into the fracture site on lab rats. A stabilizing device held the fractured bones in place and the injured rats were back to normal within two weeks, running around and showing no signs of their previous injuries. The putty is being tested on larger animals now and could move on to human trials by the end of 2012.