With some help from the Department of Defense, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are fast-tracking development of something called “bone cement.” And by “help,” I mean $12 million in additional funding. According to Wired, Dr. B.J. Costello, the lead researcher, expects to have the technology in clinical human trials in the next 12 months to 2 years:
Costello, whose program involves the creation of an injectable compound designed to repair cranio facial bone damage or spur normal bone growth, expects to start trials on 20 patients, most of them veterans, within a year. If those trials go well, they’ll expand to test more people or explore using the cement for different, more serious procedures.
“Right now, we’re looking at mild to moderate injuries,” he said. “But eventually this could treat long bone injuries, or have civilian applications.”
And those applications would be widespread. The bone cement could replace metal plates, repair bone damage from car accidents or assaults, and even regrow entire portions of a human skull.