Narrator: This is Science Today. The most common therapy for problem fractures is a bone graft. Theodore Miclau, a professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of California, San Francisco says in this procedure, bone is usually grafted from the patient's pelvis and then transplanted to the fractured area that's failing to heal.
Miclau: And that's called autogenous bone grafting. The problem with autogenous bone grafting is, it hurts and it has a minor and major complication rate of somewhere around twenty-five percent. So that's about one and four people who have some sort of problem with this type of procedure.
Narrator: There's prospect for a new procedure since Miclau found genes present during fetal bone development are also important for bone repair.
Miclau: What we would like to come out of this research many years down the road, since this is just a first step, is that we would be able to more reliably treat these injuries and get patients back to their normal work.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.