Now, researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center have, for the first time, successfully identified a population of stem cells capable of inducing the repair of bones in the skull and face.
The researchers, led by Professor of Biomedical Genetics Wei Hsu, began their work with the goal of gaining a better understanding of a condition called craniosynostosis. A skull deformity in infants, the condition can slow development in affected children and can even be life-threatening, causing increased pressure on the brain.
Bones in the head develop differently to those in the rest of the body, with an entirely different set of stem cells responsible for the growth. Up until now, we've not been able to isolate the cell population responsible for instigating bone growth and repair in the skull and facial bones, making it difficult to treat conditions such as craniosynostosis.