Researchers at Hadassah Hospital’s Department of Orthopedics have found conclusive evidence that using stem cells to treat severe fractures can speed up the healing process. The clinical trials that were conducted found that the new treatment shortened the recovery process that normally takes six to 12 months down to two to three months.
“A process that began 15 years ago eventually led to this clinical trial at Hadassah, the first of its kind in Israel,” said Professor Iri Liebergall, Head of Orthopedics, who led the research. The trial, which began four years ago, included 24 patients with severe pelvic fractures – fractures that tend to heal very slowly if at all.
The study introduced an innovative treatment that was based on re-injecting stem cells, taken from the patient’s pelvic area, into the fracture site. The cells that are used are called Mesenchymal stem cells: they are stromal cells, those that make up the connective tissue of organs, which have the ability to differentiate into a number of cell types. In this case, the researchers took advantage of the cells’ ability to become cells that are responsible for bone formation, called osteoblasts.
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After the injection procedure, patients regained functionality and returned to their everyday life significantly faster than those who had not undergone it. The study’s findings were published in the medical journal Molecular Therapy.
“This research is a medical breakthrough. Publication of this study and its findings will most likely change the current accepted principles of treating complicated fractures. Now we face the challenge of understanding this healing mechanism and how it works,” Professor Liebergall explained.
Photo: Xray Picture Pelvis by Bigstock