Magazine article ASEE Prism

Bone Loss

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Bone Loss

Article excerpt

Facial reconstruction to fix deformities caused by birth defects or injuries is difficult because the replacement bones must perfectly fit the person's face. The jaw, which must withstand the forces of chewing, is among the most challenging to replace. Moreover, the method that most reduces the chance of rejection-using bone from another part of the patient's body-requires making a second wound, and it's not always easy to find a large enough piece with which to work. Now researchers at Columbia University have devised a technique that uses a cow-bone matrix, which is the material remaining after the removal of resident cells. Six matrixes were carved into scaffolds using precise imaging technology and tested on pig jaws, because of their similarity to human jaws. The perfect-fitting matrixes then were covered in stem cells harvested from the pigs' fat and placed in a bioreactor for three weeks before being implanted. …

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