Osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle-bone disease, is a genetic bone disorder that stunts growth and causes bones to break easily. Doctors recently found that this disease can be treated by injecting babies in utero with bone-forming mesenchymal stem cells. An international team of researchers has treated two babies this way with some success.
The stem cells were extracted from the livers of donors, and the genetically unmatched transplanted cells were accepted by the recipient as their own. “We believe that the stem cells have helped to relieve the disease since none of the children broke bones for a period following the grafts, and both increased their growth rate,” says study leader Dr. Cecilia Götherström, researcher at Karolinska Institute’s Department of Clinical Sciences, Intervention and Technology. “Today, the children are doing much better than if the transplantations had not been given.”