In a groundbreaking surgery that only took four hours, Cameron Clokie, used a new procedure to coax the bone of a patient’s jaw to grow like it would in a baby. A patient named Peter Russel regrew a bone along his lower jaw to replace the one that he’d lost to a benign tumour.
Russel left hospital after two weeks with only a faint scar. The sensory nerve cut to remove his tumour also lead to numbness on his chin and lip.
Bloomberg revealed that Cameron Clokie is the first surgeon to encourage adult stem cells to grow into bones using protein. Clokie, who heads oral and Maxillilofacial surgery at University of Toronto, uses the technique to reconstruct the jaw by encouraging bones to grow as they would in new borns.
The patient then grows a bone that is identical to the one that they lost. So far, eight patients in Canada have undergone the procedure which is relatively new in reconstructive surgery.
The alternative to the procedure
Patients, who are not eligible for Clokie’s technique, have to undergo traditional surgery. An example is 20 year old Janine McFarlane who underwent an operation also to replace jaw tissue. Her treatment involved replacing the lost tissue with a bone removed from her shin.
McFarlane underwent a 19 hour surgery and recovered after two months. She also had a follow-up surgery to reconstruct her mandible so that dentists could give her artificial teeth.
What it all means
Cameron Clokie will ultimately help a lot of patients with the procedure. He intends to continue developing more BMP, the protein used to coax bone growth.
Currently, the BMP is derived from limb bones of cadavers which produce only a small amount of the protein. Clokie plans to produce more BMP by putting the gene in goat embryos so that it can be produced in large scale as milk.
About Cameron Clokie
Dr. Clokie has practiced and taught dentistry for several years. He has a Doctor of Dental Surgery and PhD in bone regenerations, from McGill University. He also worked as a Professor at the University of Toronto. He has conducted several studies and written many papers on regenerative surgery.