Bonus Biogroup, a regenerative medicine company in Israel, has found a way to grow human bone from a patient’s own fat, culled during liposuction. Following successful pre-clinical testing, clinical trials will begin within the next year in Europe or in Israel on applications ranging from growing bones for dental surgery to replacing bone tissue lost through trauma or illness.
The new innovation pioneered by Bonus evolved from years of research and development at the NASDAQ-traded company Pluristem Therapeutics, which Meretzki founded previously. The technology involves extracting stem cells from a person’s own fat tissues, and transferring them to a special matrix that coaxes the cells to grow into real human bone.
The impact could be enormous. Bone transplantation following hip and knee injuries and fractures amounts to two million bone grafts costing some $15 billion a year. A second application with winning potential is in grafting bone for making dental implants. When the technology is made available, perhaps four years down the line, a bone graft is expected to cost several thousand dollars, most of which should be covered by healthcare insurance.
Bonus founder and CEO Shai Meretzki says he is indebted to contributions in the field from leading Israeli research centers such as the Technion Institute of Technology and the Weizmann Institute of Science, as well as biomedical researchers around the world. Meanwhile, Meretzki’s Pluristem, a company specializing in stem-cell regenerative medicine, is now in advanced clinical trials on its first product for treating arterial disease. (via Israel21c)
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