Fat cells may help create healthy bone

It was not long ago that 53-year-old Susan Cossabone feared she would never walk again, much less riding her beloved horses at her horse farm in New Jersey.

In January of 2009, she was in a terrible head-on collision. "I thought I would lose the leg,” Cossabone said. “If you could have seen it when they cut off my favorite jeans, you could just see bones sticking and flesh, couldn't see much of a leg."

For a while it did look as though Cossabone's leg would require amputation. But Cossabone finally saw Mercy Medical Center Doctor, Mark Myerson, a world renowned foot and ankle specialist.

"When you have dead bone you have limited blood circulation coming to the bone, limited capacity for healing, limited ability for the body to produce new bone,” Myerson said. “We have to stimulate it."

Enter, Allostem. It’s a product made from stem cells extracted from fat from a cadaver, and those cells are electronically manipulated to develop into bone.

"It's a collagen sponge onto which stem cells have been attached,” Myerson explained. “When you implant that sponge in the body, it will produce bone."

Cossabone is getting her strength back, and while she will also wear a small lift in one shoe, she's back on her feet. Both of them. But her main goal is to eventual be able to ride horses again.

“That would be the perfect end to a very long and tedious, but well-worth-it, time with [Myerson]," she said.

And all from stem cells on a sponge.

"That's amazing. It really is, yes."

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