Narrator: This is Science Today. Although the exact mechanisms of how bones heal are not quite clear, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have an idea bones heal very much the same way they form during fetal development. Jill Helms, an orthopedic surgeon at the university, says the crucial factor is blood vessel growth.
Helms: Bone is one of the most vascular tissues in the body and so it makes sense that its formation is intimately dependent on a good blood supply and more so than just tissues need blood to grow, but also the types of growth factors that are delivered by the blood supply to the developing bone are important.
Narrator: The researchers have been working successfully in the lab with one growth factor in particular called VEGF to help restore hard-to-heal bone tissue.
Helms: The area that VEGF has probably received the most attention recently is in cardiac repair and so there have been a number of clinical trials that have gone on. I think this is the new, very exciting idea that we might be able to use it in bone repair.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.