UCL News


UCL in the News: Stem cell growth 'may help hip replacements'

16 October 2007

A pioneering technique to strengthen the crumbling joints of patients who need a second hip replacement could help thousands of people every year, scientists claim.

British scientists are to test a promising way to harvest a patient's stem cells in the hope it can boost the success rate of "revision hip replacements".

Prof Gordon Blunn [UCL Institute of Orthopaedics] and his team, together with John Skinner, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, Middlesex, received £130,000 from the UK Stem Cell Foundation and the Medical Research Council. …

Prof Blunn believes that the quality of bone chips which are squeezed into damaged hip joints to rebuild them - before an artificial replacement hip is implanted - can be improved by first transplanting the patient's stem cells into them. …

His preliminary experiments suggest bone formation can be boosted up to 75 per cent by the transplant of a patient's own stem cells - the building blocks used by the body during growth and repair.

Prof Blunn said it was unclear whether the NHS could cope with the demands of having to grow a patient's stem cells, estimating that the cost would be around £2,000 per patient if the method were used routinely. …

Roger Highfield, 'Daily Telegraph'