Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found out that the adult stem cell can be used to improve healing of fractures. Thus the finding may lead to new treatments for the 10 to 20 percent of people whose broken bones fail to mend. The study is going to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, in San Francisco.

Adult stems cells are specialized cells that can regenerate damaged tissue, but many patients lack sufficient numbers of these cells, which means they can’t heal properly, the researchers explained.

The team used adult stem cells to heal fractures of the tibia (the long bone of the leg) in mice. The bone at the fracture site of the mice that received stem cell transplants was three time stronger than healed fractures in untreated mice, the team reported.

Dr. Anna Spagnoli, associate professor of pediatrics and biomedical engineering in the UNC School of Medicine, said, “This finding is critical to patients who lack the proper healing process and to individuals prone to broken bones, such as those with osteoporosis and the rare genetic condition known as brittle bone disease.