Recipe – From stem cells into new bone

We at Human Spare Parts research programme not only do research, we also treat patients. Since 2006 we have treated around 30 patients with bone grown from patient’s own stem cells. The number of patients is the largest in the world – and so are the bone defiency treatments we have given. However, before the stem cell treatment can be part of general treatments, we have to pass many phases. Our next goal is to go through controlled clinical trials within next two years. That takes bone growing treatments a huge step forward.

As a forerunner in stem cell research, we know how to grow bone.

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Stem cells used for patient case are from patient’s own fat because there is less chance of the body rejecting the cells because it recognizes the cells as being its own.

Stem cells used for research purposes are from fat leftovers from surgical procedures. Some stem cells are from 5–6 day old embryos, which would otherwise been destroyed after IVF treatments. In a case of embryos, it is the couples who decide whether they like to donate embryos for stem cell research.

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First we need around 1 decilitre patient’s fat. Fat cells come to our clean laboratory carefully packed. Then we need to separate stem cells from other cells. We take good care of each stem cell gang by giving them an ideal home for 4–6 weeks in the box with optimized temparature, gas saturation. When there are enough cells, we transform them into fat cells, mix them with biomaterial and put the mixture into a mold.

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The bone treatments does not end there. Mold filled with cells and biomaterial is put to its place in the patient’s body. In the future we are able to follow up how well the bone we grew works with the patient’s body. In the future we are able to follow up how well the bone continues to grow and get along with the patient’s body. Biodegradable sensors could give data about how the bone grows or about blood circulation in the bone. Biodegradable electronic sensors have already been made, and now it is time to find and develop an optimal biomaterial to host sensor in patient’s body.

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