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A pioneering stem cell treatment could avoid thousands of hip replacements – by helping patients ‘regrow’ damaged bone.

Five NHS hospitals will trial the jabs, which doctors claim can regenerate damaged tissue after just one injection.  A leading specialist says it has the potential to be ‘life-changing’ for those with bone disease avascular necrosis (AVN). Patients often face years of pain before being considered for a hip replacement.

The new trial will compare the effectiveness of the osteoblastic (bone-forming) product Preob to other treatments, and the trusts taking part – Cambridge University Hospitals, King’s College Hospital London, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals, University Hospital Southampton and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital Birmingham – are among 37 centres across Europe involved. The trial will run until late 2017.

The procedure involves taking bone marrow from the patient and harvesting their stem cells, which have the unique ability to change into different cell types. The cells are processed in a laboratory to turn them into bone-forming cells, and then injected through the skin into the faulty hip bone tissue to ‘regrow’ it.

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