SIXTEEN YEARS AGO, Henry Mankin, MD, removed the entire distal segment of the femur from a woman who had a giant cell tumor and replaced it with a section of cadaveric bone. Today, Mankin says, the patient has a functioning leg and is still doing well.
Major resection bone allografting, which can involve replacing all or part of a joint and suturing the tendons and ligaments together, is one example of a medical development that is increasing the need for human tissue and fostering progress in tissue-banking technology.
Mankin, a professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, Boston, says allografting of skeletal parts has had a long, but "slightly tarnished," history—stretching back almost 100 years. Ending years of frustrating failure was the discovery, in the 1950s, that freezing the bone prior to transplantation reduced the immune reaction presumably responsible for the large number of failures. Bone allografting in general