Professor Gordon Blunn

Professor Blunn’s paper published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research has been named the best in 2019

  • 06 January 2020
  • 3 min read
The paper, co-authored with colleagues from UCL, Royal Veterinary College and University of Central Florida, explores a new possible treatment for fracture healing.

The National Health Service reports around 10% of fractures fail to heal, and treatment can be difficult requiring repeat surgery with a cost of up to £80,000 per patient. Successful fracture healing is reliant upon the recruitment, migration and homing of stem cells that enable bone formation.  These cells reside in the marrow through an interaction with a chemokine and a membrane bound receptor. The study has shown that a pharmaceutical agent called AMD3100 antagonises the receptor and together with a cytokine called VEGF mobilises stem cells into the bloodstream, which are able to home to the fracture site enhancing healing.  

This pre-clinical study, which was funded by the MRC, demonstrates a beneficial effect of internal MSC mobilisation on fracture healing, which may have potential to prevent or treat clinical fractures at risk of delayed or non-union fractures. Further studies are required to turn this promising procedure into a new treatment. A grant proposal to fund this further work has been submitted which will employ two postdoctoral research fellows; one of these will be based in Portsmouth. Professor Blunn and his colleagues will be presented with the award at the annual meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society in Phoenix, USA .

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