Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists build a bridge for new bone

17.06.2003


Scanning electron micrograph of a foam structure
(Image: M. Shoichet, IBBME)


Biodegradable scaffold significantly increases the rate of bone healing

University of Toronto scientists have developed a biodegradable scaffold, similar in structure to a dish sponge, that significantly speeds the rate of bone healing.

The material, developed by an interdisciplinary team with expertise in engineering, biology, chemistry and dentistry, provides a building scaffold for bone growth. The scaffold, which eventually dissolves, increases healing rates and offers a potential new treatment for bone loss in cases such as trauma or spinal fusions.



"We have been successful in stimulating cell and tissue growth in the laboratory and animal models and in replacing bone with bone-the underlying principle of bone tissue engineering," says co-investigator Molly Shoichet, a professor of chemical engineering and applied chemistry at the Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME). The study appears in the June 15 issue of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A.

Bone automatically replaces itself, allowing healing of injuries such as fractures. But in some traumatic cases, there is too much damage for the bone to heal on its own. Bone grafting, or moving bone from one body part to another, is a common solution in fields such as orthopedics or dentistry, says IBBME co-investigator Professor John Davies. "The problem is that there’s often not enough of the patient’s bone to move from one site to another, so you’ve got to resort to other means of generating bone," he says.

Davies, Shoichet, Jeff Fialkov, a surgeon at Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, and graduate student Chantal Holy started experimenting in 1995 with polymers and natural bone tissue to find a new method of bone regeneration. They developed a biodegradable scaffold with polymers similar to those found in dissolving sutures and with a structure similar to a large-pored dishwashing sponge. The size of the pores is critical, says Davies. "When you put material like this in the body, the host tissue can grow into these areas very rapidly and very efficiently."

The team then implanted the scaffolds-seeded with bone marrow cells-in the damaged femur bones of rabbits. Within six weeks, the animals could walk on the legs containing the scaffolds. Within eight weeks, the bone marrow cells had developed into bone throughout the entire volume of the scaffold, which gradually dissolved. "Animals with scaffolds healed at a significantly faster rate [than those without the scaffolds]," says Shoichet.


The researchers point out that their technique does not require the use of expensive chemicals called bone growth factors used to stimulate bone growth.

The team now plans to study the scaffolds in larger animals, with the ultimate goal of creating a human treatment that could speed the early healing of bone trauma. "When people are treated in hospitals, they want medicines or therapies that can get them up and going as quickly as possible," says Davies. "It’s not only better for the patient, but it gets the patient out of their bed and out of the hospital soon so there’s less cost to the health care system."

The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, BoneTec Corp. and the Physician’s Services’ Incorporated Foundation.


CONTACT:

Molly Shoichet, IBBME, ph: (416) 978-1460; email: molly@ecf.utoronto.ca

John Davies, IBBME, ph: (416) 978-1471; email: davies@ecf.utoronto.ca

U of T Public Affairs, ph: (416) 978-6974; email: nicolle.wahl@utoronto.ca


Nicolle Wahl | University of Toronto
Further information:
http://www.newsandevents.utoronto.ca/bin2/010912b.asp

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Fighting myocardial infarction with nanoparticle tandems
04.12.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Virtual Reality for Bacteria
01.12.2017 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>