New 'putty' could heal broken bones in days instead of months
Broken bones can take weeks, or months, to heal - and it can be hard to keep up with your everyday routine if you're wearing a bulky cast.
So scientists are very excited about the development of a new 'fracture putty' that can speed up the healing process and could revolutionise treatment.
The Daily Mail reports that scientists from the University of Georgia Regenerative Bioscience Centre used adult stem cells to produce a protein involved in bone healing and generation.
They then incorporated this into a gel and inserted it into fractures in rats. Videos show the animals running around with no evidence of injury just two weeks later, and researchers are now testing the putty on larger animals like pigs and sheep.
Study leader Dr Steve Stice is now hopeful that the discovery could lead to improved treatment in humans, which would be particularly useful to military men and women who are injured in the line of duty.
He says: "Complex fractures are a major cause of amputation of limbs for US military men and women.
"For many young soldiers, their mental health becomes a real issue when they are confined to a bed for three to six months after an injury.
"This discovery may allow them to be up and moving as fast as days afterward."
Dr John Peroni, from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, who is also working on the study, said: "The next step is to show that we can rapidly and consistently heal fractures in a large animal, then covert it to clinical cases in the UGA clinics where clinicians treat animals with complex fractures all the time."