Friday, 8 February 2013

New implant for bone regeneration

A collaborative research team from the Edinburgh University and the Southampton University just released a new study where they describe the creation of a new degradable rigid implant that can be inserted into broken bones. The material promotes new bone growth by allowing skeletal stem cells from the bone marrow to flow through it. Obviously, the study has implications in the field of bone regeneration and could help patients presenting with severe bone fractures.

The scaffold has a honeycomb-like structure and is consisted by three different types of plastic. The implant is the result of seven years of thorough experimentation, during which the researchers tested hundreds of different plastic combinations. After a lot of trial and error they finally managed to come up with the perfect combination, a light, robust material that can act as a support for skeletal stem cells, promoting new bone growth. As mentioned before, the material is biodegradable and is slowly replaced by new bone tissue in the passing of time.

Arm with a compound fracture

Richard Oreffo, one of the senior authors, said that the newly developed material supports human bone stem cell growth and can be a viable option for treating fractures and bone loss resulting from either trauma or disease. For now, the implant has only been successfully tested in an animal mode, however the scientists plan to try it on humans very soon.

Mark Bradley, one of the study's chief authors, said:

"We are confident that this material could soon be helping to improve the quality of life for patients with severe bone injuries, and will help maintain the health of an ageing population."

Update
Just three days later, a research team from the same university published a similar study, again on the field of  bone regeneration. You can read it here.

Reference
Ferdous Khan, James O. Smith, Janos M. Kanczler, Rahul. S. Tare, Richard O.C. Oreffo, Mark Bradley. Discovery and Evaluation of a Functional Ternary Polymer Blend for Bone Repair: Translation from a Microarray to a Clinical Model. Advanced Functional Materials, 2013; DOI:10.1002/adfm.201202710

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