In World First, Israeli Biotech Firm Successfully Transplants Lab-Grown Bone

“All my bones shall say: ‘Hashem, who is like unto Thee, who deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?’” Psalms 35:10 (The Israel Bible™)

An Israeli start-up biotech company announced Monday that it has successfully used lab-grown bone tissue to repair bone loss, in the world’s first procedure of its kind.

The start-up, Bonus BioGroup, said it injected the semi-liquid bone graft, which was harvested from patients’ own fat cells, into the jaws of 11 patients. The substance successfully hardened and merged with existing bone to repair damage during the early stage of clinical trials.

“For the first time worldwide, reconstruction of deficient or damaged bone tissue is achievable by growing viable human bone graft in a laboratory, and transplanting it back to the patient in a minimally invasive surgery via injection,” Bonus Biogroup CEO Shai Meretzki said in a statement.

Meretzki told Israel’s i24news that traditional methods of repairing bone damage involve obtaining bone samples from the pelvic crest—an invasive, painful, and expensive procedure. Other methods include using synthetic substances or obtaining cells from bone banks, taking the risk that the patient’s body will reject the transplant.

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“I was looking for a way to do it cheaper and easier for the patient and the medical system,” Meretzki said. “We are growing bone through small samples of fat tissue and isolating the different kinds of cells that we need to create the bone.”

The Israeli biotech start-up has raised about $14 million to date. The company, which is listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, plans to join the American stock exchange NASDAQ in the coming months.

Ora Burger, the company’s vice president of regulation affairs, told Reuters that the transplant “was 100 percent successful in all 11 patients” and that the company plans to conduct further clinical trials.

“Now we are going to conduct a clinical study in the extremities, long bones,” she added.