Among the therapies currently available that utilize tissue regeneration with induced pluripotent stem cells, those involved in regenerating bones and bone marrow are some of the furthest along in the development process as a result of their more simple nature.
In healthcare, bone fractures and breakages resulting from external trauma are relatively common occurrences. But there is often a point in aging at which the risk of bone breakage from everyday stresses increases. This is particularly the case in osteoporosis patients, whose bones fail to adequately rebuild themselves during the body's normal processes of bone breakdown and renewal. The result is that the bones of osteoporosis patients become increasingly porous and weak, increasing the likelihood of breakage or collapse - particularly in bones affecting everyday mobility: the hips, vertebrae, and wrists. Eventually, most if not all osteoporosis patients will suffer from some degree of spinal compression fractures, resulting in a hunched-over profile when upright.
In cases of more severe trauma, bones may be damaged to such a degree that permanent reinforcement materials or joint replacements may be deemed necessary. In these cases, induced pluripotent stem cells cultivated from the patient can be used to grow new bone tissue outside the body, which can be shaped to match the damaged bone and ultimately used to surgically implant and replace it. This approach allows patients to recover more quickly and reclaim a greater degree of mobility - without the need for the immunosuppressive drug therapy ordinarily required with bone grafts or donation, and without the need to use pins, screws, and other supports to continue attempting to repair an already-compromised bone.
Regeneration of patients' bone marrow using induced pluripotent stem cells is likewise becoming increasingly common. In cases of leukemia, where the option to use donated bone marrow to replace patients' own bone marrow is commonly utilized to permit higher doses of chemotherapy in order to more quickly and effectively eliminate cancer cells, the use of donated bone marrow first requires a search for a compatible donor; a transplantation process that is fairly arduous and painful for both donor and recipient; and follow-up treatment not only to manage chemotherapy but also to provide immunosuppressive assistance with the donated marrow.
Bone marrow regeneration from patients' own cells, known as an autologous bone marrow transplant, is often far preferable - eliminating the donor search and extraction processes entirely while eliminating the need for follow-up immunosuppressive therapy, thereby increasing the chance of remission and the potential for a faster recovery.