(Imported from the old Blarg)
Students from Johns Hopkins University have discovered a way to combine a patient’s own stem cells into surgical thread that doctors use to repair orthopedic injuries.
“Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering students have demonstrated a practical way to embed a patient’s own adult stem cells in the surgical thread that doctors use to repair serious orthopedic injuries such as ruptured tendons. The goal, the students said, is to enhance healing and reduce the likelihood of re-injury without changing the surgical procedure itself ….
The students believe this technology has great promise for the treatment of debilitating tendon, ligament and muscle injuries, often sports-related, that affect thousands of young and middle-aged adults annually. “Using sutures that carry stems cells to the injury site would not change the way surgeons repair the injury,” said Matt Rubashkin, the student team leader, “but we believe the stem cells will significantly speed up and improve the healing process. And because the stem cells will come from the patient, there should be no rejection problems.” “
Off the top of my head I can think of people I know who this discovery would have been a great help to. Between knife fights with vegetables and sports-related injuries I have friends who have had to deal with long recovery times or in one case the permanent partiual loss of a hand’s function. Whether it was just faster healing times, or the ability to better regrow tendons or muscles, I can see this having the potential to help a lot of people.