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WEDNESDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- For the first time, scientists have been able to grow an entire joint from stem cells, albeit in rabbits not humans. And the joints worked.
"The rabbits were able to hop and walk and bear weight, virtually like normal rabbits," said Dr. Jeremy Mao, senior author of a paper published online July 29 inThe Lancet. "This was the first regeneration of the entire joint with restored functioning."
If replicated in humans, the researchers are hoping these regenerated joints would last longer than artificial joints, which have a life span of about 10 to 15 years right now.
This is especially important given the number of younger people (65 and younger) who are now requiring joint replacements, often because of osteoarthritis, the authors stated.
Currently, damaged joints are replaced with joints made of titanium or stainless steel. They have a number of drawbacks, including limited life span.
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