Models suggest treatments for fractures that won't heal

September 2, 2010

New models, reinforced by in vivo experimentation, show why 5-10% of bone fractures don't heal properly, and how these cases may be treated to restart the healing process. Results of the model, published September 2 in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology, may benefit the ageing population in which the occurrence of bone fractures is expected to rise substantially in the near future.

In 5 to 10% of bone fracture cases, the does not succeed in repairing the bone, which leads to the formation of delayed unions or even non-unions - fractures that fail to heal. Using a combination of an mimicking a clinical non-union situation and a mathematical model developed for studying normal fracture healing, researchers at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), University of Ličge (Belgium), Edinburgh University (United Kingdom) and Oxford University (United Kingdom) investigated this health problem.

For example, the authors investigated the potential to treat non-unions by transplanting cells from the bone marrow to the fracture site. This was also tested in a pilot animal experiment; both the simulations and the experiments showed the formation of a bony union between the fractured bone ends. In addition, the researchers used the to explain some unexpected experimental observations.

The study demonstrates the added value of using a combination of mathematical modelling and experimental research, as well the potential of using cell transplantation for the treatment of non-unions.

Explore further: Smashing the time it takes to repair our bones

More information: Geris L, Reed AAC, Vander Sloten J, Simpson AHRW, Van Oosterwyck H (2010) Occurrence and Treatment of Bone Atrophic Non-Unions Investigated by an Integrative Approach. PLoS Comput Biol 6(9): e1000915. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000915

Related Stories

Smashing the time it takes to repair our bones

December 4, 2006

New research by Queensland University of Technology is helping scientists better understand how bone cells work and may one day lead to the development of technology that can speed up the time it takes to heal fractured and ...

Lithium and bone healing

July 30, 2007

Researchers have described a novel molecular pathway that may have a critical role in bone healing and have suggested that lithium, which affects this pathway, has the potential to improve fracture healing.

Adult stem cells improve fracture healing

June 16, 2008

In an approach that could become a new treatment for the 10 to 20 percent of people whose broken bones fail to heal, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have shown that transplantation of adult ...

Cholesterol-lowering drug boosts bone repair

July 31, 2008

Lovastatin, a drug used to lower cholesterol and help prevent cardiovascular disease, has been shown to improve bone healing in an animal model of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). The research, reported today in the open access ...

Researchers detail how aging undermines bone healing

January 15, 2009

Researchers have unraveled crucial details of how aging causes broken bones to heal slowly, or not at all, according to study results published today in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. The research team also successfully ...

Cell injections accelerate fracture healing

February 12, 2009

Long bone fractures heal faster after injections of bone-building cells. Research published in the open access journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders has shown that osteoblast cells cultured from a patient's own bone marrow ...

Recommended for you

Genomes uncover life's early history

August 24, 2015

A University of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms.

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...

Why a mutant rice called Big Grain1 yields such big grains

August 24, 2015

(Phys.org)—Rice is one of the most important staple crops grown by humans—very possibly the most important in history. With 4.3 billion inhabitants, Asia is home to 60 percent of the world's population, so it's unsurprising ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.