The use of stem cells to replace damaged or diseased bone tissue would be a less risky and invasive approach than using surgical bone grafts, as depicted in this image (Credit: Wikipedia)
Stem cells, the body’s most flexible cells, have been ‘tricked’ into producing bone cells by a team of researchers based at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, led by Professor Fergal O’Brien.
The significance of this work is that it provides a way for scientists to generate new bone tissue where it has been damaged, or destroyed by disease, and avoid the need for surgical bone grafts.
Surgical bone grafts, either from another part of the person’s body, or from a donor, carry the risk of infection, and also, there is no guarantee that the grafted bone will not properly ‘take’ at the site where it’s required.
Surgery causes stress on the body, and, where possible, medics try to avoid it.
The use of stem cells to produce bone could provide the means for producing exactly the right amount of bone, at the location where it is required.
The article below was published in The Sunday Times 22.07.2012
Lung cancer is the biggest among men with cancer in Ireland each year, and the second biggest killer of women. There are approximately 1,800 cases of lung cancer each year in Ireland.
At St James’s Hospital in Dublin about 450 cases of lung cancer are seen each year. Dr Joe Keane, Respiratory Consultant at St James’, and has team, have devised a technique that could help to diagnose lung cancer earlier.
The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance people have to survive, and the tragedy is that many cases of lung cancer arrive in hospital too late for doctors to be able to do anything to help.
Broadcast on 01.07.2009 on Ireland AM
LISTEN: The Dark Side of the Universe, A Blood Test for Cancer
Broadcast on 103.2 Dublin City FM, Science Spinning with Seán Duke, on 30/06/2011
An artist’s impression of a Supermassive Black Hole at the centre of a Galaxy. These awesomely destructive structures are part of the ‘Dark Universe’ (Credit: NASA)
Prof. Malcolm Longair, University of Cambridge and Cavendish Laboratory; and Prof. Lokesh Joshi, NUI Galway
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