Protein jab mends broken bones

London: Scientists have found a novel way to significantly speed up the healing of broken bones in mice, a feat which, if replicated in humans, could mean people with fractures would be free of their casts a lot sooner.

Jill Helms, Roel Nusse and team at Stanford University in California drilled small holes into the shin bones of mice, and injected them with Wnt proteins.

These proteins prompt bone stem cells to divide, reports New Scientist.

Three days later, bone growth was three times greater than in mice injected with a placebo, it was observed.

The approach could prove to be better than adding new stem cells, which can divide uncontrollably.

The research has appeared in the journal Science Translational Medicine.