Scientist Paul Wooley has regrown a section of bone in a mammal's leg, a breakthrough he and collaborators say will revolutionize bone medicine worldwide. It will dramatically improve treatment for wounded soldiers and many of the tens of thousands of people seriously injured in traffic accidents every year, he said; it could make many future amputations unnecessary.
"We've grown bone, and we can prove it," Wooley said on Monday.
The breakthrough will also become the first new invention planned as part of an effort by Wichita scientists to create an industry worth millions, and thousands of research and manufacturing jobs in Wichita and Kansas.
The news comes after a year of operation by the Center of Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopaedic Research, or CIBOR. Wooley, the center's chief scientist, and other scientists at CIBOR say the bone growing project is only the first big breakthrough of many. He says they are within weeks of signing a number of important contracts with businesses and with customers.
Among their targets, for the many inventions Wooley plans to make, are certain markets the CIBOR scientists say they have researched: composite medical battlefield stretchers ($1.17 billion annual market); operating tables made from composites ($625 million annual market); surgical instruments made of composites ($1.1 billion); and "fracture fixation devices," which hold broken bones in place ($2.3 billion).
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