When a person breaks a bone, stem cells rush to the area to help strengthen and fuse the bone back together. But thousands of people don't have enough stem cells and their bones don't heal properly, leading to much longer and much more painful recovery times.
A new study using mice at the University of North Carolina has found that re-engineering those stem cells to boost their ability to regenerate bone might help.
Bones in treated mice were about three times stronger than untreated mice. If further studies show the procedure is safe and effective in humans, researchers say this could help not only people who can't heal themselves properly, but could also help those prone to broken bones, such as osteoporosis patients.