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E. Understanding Bone Growth and Repair

Narrator: This is Science Today. A drug that stimulates blood vessel growth, or angiogenesis, used in cardiac repair has been found to also help repair bones. Jill Helms, a professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, says that's because bone growth and repair are dependent on good blood supply.

Helms: I'm realizing how similar the process of bone healing is to bone development and why it's so important to study that early process in fetal development. It gives us so many clues as to what's going on in the adult situation and so I think that will be a very fruitful one of research to continue to investigate.

Narrator: Most broken bones do heal completely within weeks, but sometimes there's delay or they don't heal at all.

Helms: Not all delays in bone healing are caused by a defect in angiogenesis, so it's up to us to figure out what subset of those delayed or non-unions are caused by a defect in this pathway.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.