In the Guardian, an article about a UK biotech firm that has new procedures to help regrow significant amounts of lost bone. They believe they can make it work for other tissues, as well.
The key to this technique lies with the fact that our bones are covered in a layer of stem cells. We inject our material under that layer and that wakes up those stem cells. They start to multiply and produce lots of new bone. Then you can take that bone and move it somewhere else in a person’s body, a place where they have suffered a severe loss of bone – where they suffered an injury suffered after a car accident, for example…And when you think about it, that makes sense. The best place to grow tissue for yourself is in your own body, after all.
So far, we have been able to generate huge amounts of bone in our experiments using these techniques. In addition, the bone that was made this way was well organised. It had blood vessels and a proper architecture. That allows it to be really strong.
We also have developed other materials [to] use this directly at the affected site…There would be no transplant involved. Essentially, it would help a person grow a new jawbone if theirs had been removed after a cancer operation.
Both these techniques involve the regeneration of bone, but we are also working heart muscle and cartilage cells…We envisage making gels that you could inject into the miocardium which is damaged after a person has had a heart attack. This could help the heart to repair itself.