Targeting Endogenous Stem Cells for Critical-Sized Fracture Repair
Bone tissue, which provides major structural and supportive connective tissue to the body, can be lost due to cancer or trauma. When the edges of a fracture are close to each other, bone repair cells are capable of healing the injury. However, when a large piece of bone is missing, these cells cannot bridge the necessary gap for healing, resulting in the need for bone grafting — the current gold-standard therapy. The Gazit Laboratory is developing a novel approach for the treatment of bone fractures without the need for bone grafting. Stem cells are recruited to the fracture site using a collagen matrix and then a bone-forming gene is directly delivered to the stem cells using an ultrasound pulse. The pulse is localized to the defect site, oscillating microbubbles to increase the uptake of the desired gene in nearby osteoprogenitor cells. This proposed therapy has the potential to generate rapid healing of bone fractures and significantly decrease patient hospitalization, loss of working days and significant healthcare costs.