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The Role of Stem Cells in Femur Fracture Healing

Home » The Role of Stem Cells in Femur Fracture Healing
August 19, 2019
Edward Smith

Stem Cells Can Help with the Healing Process

A recent study demonstrated that stem cells can be used to expedite the healing process following a major fracture, such as a broken femur. Bone fractures can vary markedly in their scope and severity. When the fragments of a bone are not lined up, the two most common treatment options are bone grafts and surgical reduction (such as an open reduction and internal fixation). These two treatment options carry significant risk. There has been a push in the medical field to develop alternative treatment options. According to a team of researchers, they might have found a suitable alternative involving stem cells. Their research has the potential to change how major femur fractures are repaired.

A Revolution in the Field of Orthopedics

The research team is based out of the Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. The researchers recruited animals that had suffered severe fractures. The team identified the fractures and then implanted a scaffold for the fracture repair made out of collagen at the site of the fracture. Using ultrasound guidance, the researchers delivered stem cells to the bloodstream. They inserted genetic material into the cells that would promote fracture healing. This gene was called bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) 6. The gene plays a significant role in the growth and differentiation of new bone tissue.

The researchers observed the animals and found that the stem cells quickly arrived at the fracture site. Six weeks later, the researchers obtained imaging of the original fracture. They found that the fractures had healed entirely. When compared to the control group (the animal group that did not receive the stem cell therapy), their fractures were healed incompletely and improperly, showing evidence of malunion.

Significant Advantages Over Bone Graft Procedures

This research shows that stem cells can be used to heal broken bones, such as a severe femur fracture. This treatment option has significant advantages over existing bone graft procedures. In a bone graft procedure, healthy bone is moved from one bone to the location of the fracture. The bone graft then expands and fills the fracture site; however, this comes with significant risk.

First, bone grafts often don’t fill the entire fracture site, leading to an incomplete repair. In some cases, additional bone grafts might be needed to fill these gaps, requiring repeat surgery. Secondly, the healthy bone might not be available. The patient might already have osteoporosis, making it difficult to find a suitable graft. Finally, this surgical procedure can also lead to other complications such as blood loss and infections. These risks might be avoided with the use of a stem cell procedure for a femur fracture repair.

The Application of Stem Cells in Femur Fracture Repair

One of the major places that this research can play a role is in femur fractures. A broken femur typically follows a high-energy event, and the bones can be significantly displaced. Because of this, standard treatment usually involves some sort of surgical procedure. With stem cell research, these operations might be avoided in the future.

In the study, researchers were able to deliver these stem cells to the fracture site using ultrasound guidance and cell signaling. The cells use their implanted genetic material to initiate the healing process. Because of the ultrasound method, surgical procedures can be avoided. This will reduce the risks to the patient by preventing blood loss, scarring, and possible infections. Avoiding femur fracture surgery might expedite the healing process.

Using this method, bone tissue will grow to fill the femur fracture site. The results of the study above need to be replicated by additional researchers. The hope is that this treatment method will soon be replicated in clinical trials in human patients. This ultrasound delivery method represents a revolutionary treatment option for femur fractures and has the potential to help countless people all over the world.

Watch YouTube Video: How Stem Cell Injections Can Help You Heal Faster. This video provides a closer look at how stem cells can help with the healing process from an injury.

Sacramento Femur Fracture Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento femur fracture lawyer. Stem cells play a major role in the repair of femur fractures. If your loved one has been diagnosed with a femur fracture in a traumatic accident, please reach out to me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.

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Citation of Photo: Pixabay.

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