Replicating fetal bone growth process could help heal large bone defects


Watercolor- A watercolor image depicting the embryonic bone development process, endochondral ossification, featuring cartilage and bone. Credit: Joel Boerckel

From Penn Today:  June 6, 2019:  To treat large gaps in long bones, like the femur, which result from bone tumor removal or a shattering trauma, researchers Joel Boerckel’s group and the University of Illinois at Chicago developed a process that partially recreates the bone growth process that occurs before birth. A bone defect of more than two centimeters is considered substantial, and current successful healing rates stand at 50% or less, with failure often resulting in amputation. The team hopes that their method, which they’ve developed in rodent models to mimic the process of rapid fetal bone growth, can substantially improve success rates. Their findings are published in Science Translational Medicine.