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Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The world's first custom-made bones that can be "grown" in a matter of hours and fit precisely into a break could be available within three years.

Custom-made bones to be grown within hours
article in the Telegraph


"The new bones will replace damaged or ceramic versions that are currently used in reconstructive surgery.

They are made of one of the key materials in human bone, calcium phosphate, which means they will not be rejected by the body and will be completely absorbed into the skeleton within a couple of years.

Japanese researchers have made the breakthrough and say they will be available for use on the skull within three years and then the rest of the body soon after that.

Yuichi Tei, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Tokyo, said: "We have just completed the investigative study and clinical trials are under way on patients.

"Some people have congenital defects, others have lost bone after undergoing surgery for cancer, while others have been in traffic accidents.

"The reactions we have had so far have been very favourable."

Named CT Bone, the revolutionary system takes a series of minutely detailed pictures and x-rays to form a three-dimensional image of the affected portion of skull.

Once the 3-D image has been taken, layers of calcium phosphate just 0.1mm thick are laid on top of each other hundreds of times – in a similar way to an inkjet printer – until they match the exact shape and size of bone required.

The device, which was developed with Tokyo-based firm Next 21, repeats the process and builds up layers – 100 layers create a one-centimetre thick implant.

The technology also has narrow holes running through the artificial bones, inviting blood vessels and cells to come and help regenerate bone."

If this proves ultimately safe and successful what a wonderful boon it will be to so many people!

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