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Biologics Feature

Source: Wikimedia Commons and BioTek Instruments

Stem Cells to Regrow Bone in Israeli Trial

Biloine W. Young • Fri, December 29th, 2017

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In a procedure being called “science fiction” an Israeli man became the first ever to receive a surgical procedure intended to regrow a section of his shin bone.

Eight months earlier, following a car accident, the patient had had a part of his shin bone surgically removed. Earlier this December, surgeons successfully dealt with his prior injury with a new, never before accomplished procedure.

The operation performed on the patient was developed several years ago by Bonus BioGroup, an Israel-based biotechnology company that produces tissue-regenerating bone grafts.

The company's medical team harvested fat tissue cells from the patient’s leg and grew them in their laboratory. The fat cells were then injected back into his leg to regenerate the bone's missing parts.

"We created thousands of tiny bone particles, each one of them alive, which enables us to inject them into the missing part where they join to form a fully functional bone," said Shai Meretzky, M.D., CEO of Bonus BioGroup, according to The Times of Israel.

"Our patient arrived with a missing part in his shinbone that his body could not regenerate on its own. In the surgery I transplanted the cells we extracted from him two weeks ago, and within six weeks the bone will regrow itself and his shin will function normally again. This surgery is truly science fiction. It changes the entire game in orthopedics. Today I can grow any bone in a lab," Meretzky claimed.

Australian scientists have also reprogramed fat cells for an adult's bone through a new stem cell treatment. Like Bonus BioGroup's procedure, it could provide a way to regenerate any form of damaged tissue in the body.

Further research conducted into the effectiveness of stem cells could provide potential solutions for health conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s.

Former President George W. Bush vetoed a bill from the U.S. Senate in 2001 that would have provided more funding for stem cell research, Former President Barack Obama overturned Bush's regulation in 2009 saying, “Medical miracles do not happen simply by accident. They result from painstaking and costly research; from years of lonely trial and error, much of which never bears fruit and from a government willing to support that work."

Announcement of the procedure's success pushed Bonus BioGroup's publicly traded stock up 18.66% on the Tel Aviv Stock exchange at market close, according to CTech.

Bonus BioGroup's procedure will not hit the market for a while. Many questions remain about the procedure and implant including: Was it properly absorbed by the body and not rejected?

More clinical trials will need to be run to determine the procedure's long-term safety and effectiveness.

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