A Melbourne man is the first person in the world whose own stem cells are being used to try to mend a broken leg.
The cutting-edge stem-cell technology has helped Jamie Stevens, 21, back on his feet.
A motorcycle crash nine months ago left him with a severely broken left thigh bone. Part of the femur stuck through his leg, and other parts of the bone were missing.
The bone failed to heal and Mr Stevens’s leg was held together by a large titanium plate.
Royal Melbourne Hospital orthopedics director Richard de Steiger decided Mr Stevens was the ideal first patient for a revolutionary stem-cell trial at the hospital.
About seven weeks ago, Mr de Steiger harvested bone marrow from Mr Stevens’ pelvis.
The adult stem cells were then separated from the other cells.
A sub-group of stem cells called mesenchymal precursor cells — those that can transform into tissues including bone, cartilage and heart — were isolated and grown.
Last week, about 30 million of these cells were implanted into the 5cm x 3cm hole in Mr Stevens’ thigh bone.
The cells were coated on to pieces of calcium phosphate that act as a scaffold for the cells when they are placed inside the bone.
The cells are expected to regenerate new bone and grow through the calcium phosphate.
Yesterday, just four days after surgery, Mr Stevens went home.