Friday, February 8, 2013

'Grow your own' hip replacements in a decade

Telegraph

Rather than being given metal and ceramic hip replacements (pictured), which wear out, patients would receive an implant made from a new plastic material that first stimulates new bone to grow - and then degrades away.

Grow your own’ hip replacements could become available within a decade, according to British scientists working on a new type of prosthetic that would become an organic part of the body.

Rather than being given metal and ceramic hip replacements, which wear out, patients would receive an implant made from a new plastic material that first stimulates new bone to grow - and then degrades away.

The end result would be ‘new’ hip made of natural bone, which would easily last the recipient the rest of their days.

Scientists at the universities of Edinburgh and Southampton have joined forces on the project to create the artificial bone material, which, like the real thing, has a ‘honeycomb’ structure containing millions of tiny holes.

Professor Mark Bradley, a chemist at Edinburgh University, explained that this “scaffold” prompted stem cells to morph into bone cells.

He said: “We all have stem cells flowing through us, and these would hook on to the scaffold.”

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