By: 1 February 2015
Bone paste could provide treatment for osteoporosis

A liquid bone tissue that could help regenerate weak and fragile bones in patients suffering from osteoporosis is being developed.

As reported in The Telegraph, the paste is made up of porous calcium phosphate microspheres which contain stem cells to trigger new bone growth. This would be injected into specific areas of concern, providing a minimally invasive treatment for sufferers of osteoporosis patients with thinning bones.

The treatment is being developed by a team from the University of Nottingham who hope to target the growing number of older people at risk of fracture, reducing hospital visits and easing the financial burden on the health system.

About three million Britons currently suffer osteoporosis which results in about 60,000 hip, 50,000 wrist and 120,000 spinal fractures every year, according to the National Osteoporosis Society, costing about £1.7 billion in health and social care.

Ifty Ahmed, a researcher at Nottingham University, said his team wanted to provide a preventative treatment for osteoporosis, strengthening the bones of those at risk before they suffered a fracture.

Speaking at the Regener8 conference on regenerative medicine in Leeds in September, he said: “Our aim would be to use screening to spot people who are at risk, then strengthen their bones before they get fractures.

“It means that rather than waiting until people have a fall and break something, we would try to stop that ever happening, along with the consequences, loss of independence, surgery and secondary illnesses.”

Ahmed’s team hopes to strengthen thinning bones by puncturing the tiny hollow spheres of calcium phosphate allowing the stem cells to migrate inside them where they are protected. The experimental treatment has not yet been trialled on humans with osteoporosis. It would involve extracting stem cells from a patient’s bone marrow and mixing them with the microspheres before injecting the paste into the vulnerable bones.

“If it works, this kind of treatment could be done in a day,” said Ahmed.