I’m happy to read that an experimental treatment for victims of landmine blasts, that was still under development, has produced its first ‘save’.
Vets and scientists successfully repaired the leg of a two-year-old Munsterlander named Eva who suffered a serious leg fracture of her right foreleg after being hit by a car last year.
Despite efforts of specialists the difficult 0.7 inch (2cm) wide break would not heal and Eva was left facing the prospect of life on three legs.
But fortunately for Eva she had been taken to the University of Glasgow’s Small Animal Hospital where vet William Marshal heard by chance about an experimental new treatment that colleagues were working on to help landmine or bomb victims.
A special putty made of bone flakes and a bone-growth protein was packed into the wound and within just seven weeks the fracture had completely healed.
“We are absolutely thrilled with Eva’s recovery,” said owner Fiona Kirkland, of Lenzie, near Glasgow.
“When we heard about an experimental treatment that might help her, we had no idea it was connected to such an important project.
“It is amazing to think that the treatment used to heal Eva’s leg will help researchers one day repair the bones of landmine blast survivors. I’m very grateful to everyone at the University of Glasgow.”
. . .
Trials on patients were not expected to start for a few more years, but Eva’s situation was desperate. If the new bone-growth treatment was not tried, the only other option was to amputate.
As a last resort before amputation, Mr Marshall took a mixture of bone chips and coated them with PEA and BMP-2 before placing the mixture in the 2cm gap in Eva’s front leg, the first time the mixture has ever been used in a treatment.
Although initially designed to help treat blast survivors, the technology has the potential to be used for anyone who needs new bone tissue.
There’s more at the link.
Having seen at first hand, and rather too often for comfort, the effects of landmines on people who stumble across them, I really hope that this success spurs further – and faster – research to perfect the treatment. It may alleviate the suffering of literally thousands of people every year, not just landmine victims, but anyone with similar bone injuries.
BMP products are pretty amazing. When everything else is in place, using them orally can also make a difference in osteoporosis.
This sounds very similar to what they used to put my leg back together.
After a bike wreck in 2008, I had about a 1.5" gap between the bone ends of my right femur (the rest had gone through the flesh & been either broken off on impact with the truck or ground off when I hit the pavement–either way, it was gone). My surgeon, Dr. Marc Tressler (PBUH), used a mesh to hold a similar paste/putty. It worked OK, but didn't grow very quickly, and he went back in & added some marrow from my hip. It worked well, and the leg works still! Unsurprisingly, in X-rays it looks like my femur is stuck through a tennis ball. It has to be stronger there, I figure.
I'm curious as to how it might work on older breaks. The specific example that sprang to mind when reading the article was the LAPD officer who took an AP round to the femur during the 1997 Hollywood Bank Heist. Given how bad the bone damage was I'm pretty sure he walks with a cane to this day.
Other examples are people who have pins due to older injuries of various kinds.