Founded by Dr. Nina Tandon and Dr. Sarindr Bhumiratana, EpiBone is developing the technology to engineer human bones in a lab, specially designed for the patient in need. Bone cells would be created using adult stem cells drawn from the patient's fat tissue and shaped into bones. The bone tissue would carry the patient's own DNA, protecting it from the usually helpful immune system. Modern bone tissue grafts require bone tissue to be surgically removed from a different place in the body. "In practice, it's actually quite brutal," says Dr. Tandon.
The international research team at EpiBone is currently performing their bone tissue research on pigs (apparently we're a lot like them), but it is a significant step forward in giving humans the spare parts they so desperately need. Fans of the Harry Potter book series will recall the moment poor Harry had to have his bones regrown using a bottle of "Skele-Gro." EpiBone's new bone tissue research brings us a step closer to something truly magical.