60-year-old Peter Russel lost seven centimeters of bone in his lower right jaw to a tumor that began in 2003. His disfigurement, though, has proven to be temporary, thanks to a new bone-growth treatment developed by Cameron Clokie at the University of Toronto. He discovered a protein can cause adult stem cells to grow new bone tissue. The result was Mr. Russel’s jaw growing again as it did when he was a newborn.
Mr. Russel is one of eight patients in Canada who have undergone this revolutionary new treatment. “This is pretty much back to the embryonic state of bone generation,” Dr. Clokie explained. It allows patients to regrow bones that are identical to the ones that were lost by tricking the bones into believing they are growing for the first time.
The procedures were done at Toronto General Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital and represented a major step towards the medical dream of growing back damaged or lost tissue. Such procedures are much less invasive and painful than current techniques such as removing bone or skin tissues from one place on a patient’s body and grafting it onto another. Such procedures can involve operations over twelve hours long and require weeks of recovery in hospital. The procedure Mr. Russel underwent took four hours, and he spent only two days in the hospital afterwards.
Dr. Clokie specializes in oral and maxillofacial surgery, but he is also a scientist and entrepreneur. He is CEO of Induce Biologics Inc., a company founded to deliver regenerative solutions for the reconstruction of musculoskeletal injuries. He has spent thirty years both as an academic and in clinical practice.
He has published numerous papers, nationally and internationally, about bone reconstruction and tissue regenerative medicine. He holds twenty-five patents in the US, some of which are related to healing bone injuries, and has successfully developed alliances with businesses to bring his knowledge to commercial ventures.