Rewriting Life

Boning Up

A new gene therapy technique to grow bone from gum tissue may make life easier for patients who need bone grafts, by eliminating painful removal of bone from a donor’s hip.

R. Bruce Rutherford and colleagues at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry take a snippet of gum tissue and grow more cells in the lab. They then use recombinant virus to spike the cells with genes for factors that promote bone growth. Next, the researchers seed surgical gel with the treated cells, shape it to fit the area of the graft and implant it. The cells begin producing the growth factors, which prod surrounding bones to grow into the space, and even create new bone themselves. In tests on rats, large areas of bone removed from the animals’ skulls grew back in only one month.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Rewriting Life

Reprogramming our bodies to make us healthier.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.