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The University of Southampton

Research into new ways of helping bones to grow

Published: 27 January 2003

Research by University of Southampton scientists could offer new hope to people with severe osteoporosis or bad fractures which are healing slowly.

Dr Kris Partridge and Dr Richard Oreffo are working on ways to grow replacement bone in the laboratory, using multi-potential adult stem cells which can develop into bone or cartilage, given the right conditions and growth agents.

A £216,000 grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council will fund research into non-viral ways of delivering growth agents to the cells to encourage development of bone. This is because existing techniques use viruses such as one that causes the common cold as part of the process, which can be harmful to patients.

The work is being carried out in association with Dr Martin Garnett, and Professors Kevin Shakesheff and Steve Howdle at the University of Nottingham.

Dr Partridge said: "Bone is a living material and our skeletons renews completely within ten years. If we can find a safe way of helping bones grow, it could make a great difference to many people's lives."

Notes for editors

The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University, which celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2002, has 20,000 students and over 4,500 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £235 million.

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