Uproxx knows that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines are driving the future of this planet forward. Every day, we see new ideas, fresh innovations, and bold trailblazers in these fields. Follow us this month as we highlight how STEM is shaping the culture of NOW.
Bone transplants or grafts can be problematic. Grafts from cadaver bones can be rejected and need immunosuppression drugs. Grafts from other bones in your body can lead to new pain in the place where the graft was taken from. Then there’s the longevity issues that come with such transplants — most bone transplants last only 10-20 years. This leads to further surgeries and/or doctors discouraging younger patients from getting replacements and grafts because the risk of several future surgeries seems too great.
But what would happen if you didn’t need to rely on a cadaver or extra surgery on other parts of your body? What if your own stem cells could be used to grow a perfect copy of the bone you need? It seems incredible, but that’s what Brooklyn based company, EpiBone, is attempting. EpiBone uses a combination of a patient’s own stem cells and a 3D printer in a lab to actually grow new bones in under three weeks. The implications of which could revolutionize the health industry.
“Right now we’re focusing on bones above the neck, for cancer, trauma, congenital defects and dental surgery,” 37 year old CEO Nina Tandon told Scientific American. “In this area, about 100,000 procedures are performed every year in the U.S. alone. After blood, bone is the most transplanted tissue.”