BELGIUM - Reconstructing Broken Bones with Fat Cells

A broken bone usually requires a plaster to heal. But sometimes that’s not enough.


So researchers at the Brussels Saint-Luc University Hospital have come up with an innovative kind of regeneration therapy – creating bone from fat.


This is done by taking adipose or fatty stem cells from beneath the patient’s skin, which is a painless procedure. These cells then undergo a transformation process to be turned into bone cells – an easy-to-use 3-dimensional structure which helps reconstruct critical bone defects.


“That’s what makes it so unique: we have managed to mimic Mother Nature. So we’re respecting human physiology,” says Denis Dufrane, researcher at the Saint-Luc University Hospital.


This breatkthrough product, baptised ‘Creost’ by its inventors, is undergoing clinical trials.


“It can be used to reconstruct any kind of bone: the jaw, the femoral head or longer bones. Creost can be used to help reconstruct any kind of bone structure,” says Denis Dufrane.


In Belgium, cell transformation therapy is already used not only to repair bones and cartilage, but also for heart, liver and pancreas regeneration.


“There is no risk of rejection since it comes from the patient himself. The main problem is the cost. But if it proves successful and helps patients heal faster, then there is huge potential. Trauma and cell degeneration in general affect a huge number of patients,” says neurosurgeon Christian Raftopoulos.