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EU-millions to bone building-project

Professor Kamal Mustafa at Deparment of Clinical Dentistry leads the first clinical trials on stem cell bone building. The project can lead to new and faster treatment.

Kamal Mustafa
CLINICAL TRIALS: Kamal Mustafa will lead the clinical trials in the Maxibone-project.
Photo:
Kim E. Andreassen

In the EU-funded project MAXIBONE, Professor Kamal Mustafa and his research group at the Department of Clinical Dentistry, University of Bergen (UiB), is going to grow new jawbone for tooth implants, based on stem cell technology.

“In the Maxibone project we will compare the stem cell treatment from 100 patients with 50 patients who get traditional bone transplant. We need clinical proof to see if stem cell treatment can be routine treatment at hospitals, and that it is better than today´s standard treatment,” Mustafa explains.

The project is based on the previous EU-project Rebone-project. In this pre-clinical project, the Tissue Engineering group, with UiB-researcher Cecilie Gjerde in front, were able to grow bone in 11 human patients from stem cells taken from their bone marrow.

From transplant to stem cells

If a patient needs a tooth implant, but has a defected or missing jawbone, one has to make a new bone. The reason for this is that the new teeth must be screwed into something solid. Today the standard treatment is to do bone transplant, which means to take bone from different parts of the patient’s body and move it to somewhere else. This operation takes a lot of time and pain for the patients.

By taking stem cells from the patient´s own bone marrow and mix it with a bone-like mixture, the researchers are able to grow new bone without any painful bone transplant and save a lot of time for the patients.

From mouth to body

The mouth is the most challenging place in the to grow new bone in the human body, because of little blood supply, daily chewing and thousands of microorganisms. The researchers hope that the success of growing bones in the mouth, will lead to using the same technique for the rest of the body.

If stem cell treatment could be standard procedure for all defect bones in the body, it could save future patients for a lot of pain and time. For instance, a patient with a severely broken tight bone may need many months to heal. A stem cell treatment could shorten this time drastically.

“If we mange to build with this difficult model in both the vertical and the horizontal direction in the mouth, we could apply this model on other kinds of bone defects, and will also treat other patients, that are not part of the Maxibone-project, says Kamal Mustafa.