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Scientists Grow Human Bones from Liposuctioned Fat
Posted By Sarah Parsons On March 30, 2010 @ 9:02 am In Design for Health,green technology,social design | 4 Comments
Growing plants can be tricky enough, but growing bones seems altogether impossible. Yet that’s exactly what scientists at Columbia University  recently accomplished. A group led by Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic recently used stem cells and liposuctioned fat to grow — yes, grow – actual human bones . Once the process is perfected, it could eliminate the need for titanium bone replacements and painful bone grafts.
To create a particular bone, researchers use digital images to direct a machine to carve a bone replica, or scaffold. Scientists place the scaffold in a bioreactor and add in human cells from bone marrow or liposuctioned fat. Adding in oxygen, growth hormones, sugar and nutrients allow the cells to flourish, eventually growing into bone . By using this process, scientists can create an exact copy of any bone in the human body.
The lab breakthrough is a huge step forward for bone-replacement procedures. Being able to grow any bone from actual human tissue  could eliminate the need for bone grafts , a painful procedure that requires harvesting bone samples from other parts of the body. Growing human bones could also replace titanium bone implants , which aren’t as biocompatible as human tissue.
Researchers say they’ll test the grown bones in animals and a few humans, and the process may be used in hospitals within the next decade.
Via Popular Science 
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 Columbia University: http://www.columbia.edu/
 grow – actual human bones: http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-03/lab-grown-bones-based-digital-images-created-human-stem-cells
 bone grafts: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/bonegrafts.html
 titanium bone implants: https://webspace.utexas.edu/reyesr/titanium/
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