A new discovery by UK scientists could help elderly patients with trauma injuries or osteoporosis.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh's MRC centre for regenerative medicine are using £1.4 million of funding to develop a "bioactive scaffold" which could help repair shattered bones and damaged cartilage using patients' own stem cells.
The rigid mesh structure works by encouraging stem cells to grown into bone or cartilage when placed in the body .
The stem cells will be taken from patients' bone marrow.
Surgeons have said that the technique could be used to repair trauma injuries which are too severe to heal on their own and could be especially beneficial to elderly people who tend to heal slower and less well.
The researchers hope that clinical trials of the technique will be underway by 2010.
According to the National Osteoporosis Society, one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 living in the UK will break a bone, mainly because of osteoporosis.
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