This site is intended for health professionals only

Trial could change hip replacements

Using bone from donors for hip replacements could be scrapped in favour of using patients' own bone stem cells.

Two universities have formed a team to trial the introduction of a patient's skeletal stem cells into the hip joint.

The researchers hope it will allow better repair and regrowth of the joint.

The traditional grafting technique is used to repair the thigh bone and joint during replacement or revision hip replacement therapy, where surgeons introduce donor bone to the damaged area to provide support for the new hip stem.

In the study, scientists from the universities of Southampton and Nottingham will use adult stem cells from bone marrow in combination with a new impacted process and polymer scaffolds, or support structures, to see if it works.

Provisional work carried out in Southampton shows that the polymers can aid bone formation through the creation of a living cell material and aid attachment of the hip implant.

The two-year research, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), is aiming to see if the procedure can work.

"Surgeons currently use bone from donors during bone grafting, so introducing a patient's own stem cells to create a living cell or material composite would be a totally new approach," said Professor Richard Oreffo, who is leading the project.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Medical Research Council