Doctors grow new jaw in man’s back

CNN.com – Doctors grow new jaw in man’s back

LONDON, England (AP) — A German who had his lower jaw cut out because of cancer has enjoyed his first meal in nine years — a bratwurst sandwich — after surgeons grew a new jaw bone in his back muscle and transplanted it to his mouth in what experts call an “ambitious” experiment.

According to this week’s issue of The Lancet medical journal, the German doctors used a mesh cage, a growth chemical and the patient’s own bone marrow, containing stem cells, to create a new jaw bone that fit exactly into the gap left by the cancer surgery.

Tests have not been done yet to verify whether the bone was created by the blank-slate stem cells and it is too early to tell whether the jaw will function normally in the long term.

But the operation is the first published report of a whole bone being engineered and incubated inside a patient’s body and transplanted.

I wonder if this is going to result in residual heterotopic bone growth in his lat muscle in which this was incubated? I’m sure they’ll be following that.

If it was me, I’d take the chance to be able to chew again.

BTW, the Lancet gives the abstract, but you have to be a paid subscriber to read the article.


Comments

  1. Wow. Now all we have to do is sit back and wait until some idiot with too much time on his hands starts a business where he’ll grow you a new, much bigger penis.

  2. There’s a lively discussion on this (but not so lively as to include penis talk) over at blogborygmi.com . Basically, I don’t think what was done provides any advantage over prosthetics, and incurs additional risks. I used to do tissue engineering research, and saw a lot of headline-grabbing stuff that added very little.

    The same would probably be true for a penis transplant. But I’m no expert on that. At all. Really. That sort of thing is not my bag, baby.