Unfortunately, these procedures do not always have the desired effect. Now Prof. Dr. Matthias Epple and his research team at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) have developed a nanoparticle paste which can be injected into the defect and results in improved healing.
The trick: the researchers have combined synthetic calcium phosphate with DNA.
Now a professor for inorganic chemistry, Matthias Epple was attracted to the interface between biology and medical science. “We have been investigating the impact of mineral tissue such as teeth, bone and sea shells for many years and are now using the knowledge we have gained to produce new biomaterials.” To achieve this he has collaborated closely with medical scientists and his current project – carried out with three of his doctoral students – was no exception.
"The repair of bone defects presents a real challenge for surgeons,” he relates. “When possible they collect the patient’s own bone from various locations, such as the iliac crest, and implant it where needed to fill defects.” The researcher explained that since there is only a limited amount of surplus bone material in the body, synthetic materials are now being used. “Calcium phosphate is a natural choice here since it is an inorganic mineral found in bones in the form of nanocrystals. It is a material familiar to the body, which makes it a suitable carrier.” He added that the calcium and phosphate ions lead to improved new bone formation.
However, the use of synthetic materials creates a host of new problems: the bones heal more slowly, the risk of infection is greater and the mechanical stability is not ideal. Epple’s team has now created a bone repair paste by coating synthetic nanocrystals of calcium phosphate with nucleic acids – in other words, with DNA. The professor explains what happens when this paste is injected into a bone defect: “The nanoparticles are taken up by cells. The calcium phosphate dissolves and the DNA that is released stimulates the formation of two proteins important for healing: BMP-7, which stimulates bone formation, and VEGF-A, which is responsible for the creation of new blood vessels. As a result, the new bone is supplied with valuable nutrients.”
The UDE researchers expect that the paste will have a long-lasting effect since the nanoparticles are released successively and thus continuously stimulate the surrounding cells. They have demonstrated that the paste works in three different cell types. Further tests now have to be conducted. Epple and his co-researchers hope that “our development will be used several years from now in the field of traumatology and in the treatment of osteoporosis.”
The results of this research were recently published in the international journal RSC Advances:
For additional information, contact:
Prof. Dr. Matthias Epple, Tel. +49 (0) 201 183 2413, email@example.com
Responsible for Press Release: Ulrike Bohnsack, Tel. +49 (0) 203 379 2429
Translation: Shawn Christoph
More articles from Life Sciences:
Study details genes that control whether tumors adapt or die when faced with p53 activating drugs
23.05.2013 | University of Colorado Denver
Scientists announce Top 10 New Species
23.05.2013 | Arizona State University
New indicator molecules visualise the activation of auto-aggressive T cells in the body as never before
Biological processes are generally based on events at the molecular and cellular level. To understand what happens in the course of infections, diseases or normal bodily functions, scientists would need to examine individual cells and their activity directly in the tissue.
The development of new microscopes and fluorescent dyes in ...
A fried breakfast food popular in Spain provided the inspiration for the development of doughnut-shaped droplets that may provide scientists with a new approach for studying fundamental issues in physics, mathematics and materials.
The doughnut-shaped droplets, a shape known as toroidal, are formed from two dissimilar liquids using a simple rotating stage and an injection needle. About a millimeter in overall size, the droplets are produced individually, their shapes maintained by a surrounding springy material made of polymers.
Droplets in this toroidal shape made ...
Frauhofer FEP will present a novel roll-to-roll manufacturing process for high-barriers and functional films for flexible displays at the SID DisplayWeek 2013 in Vancouver – the International showcase for the Display Industry.
Displays that are flexible and paper thin at the same time?! What might still seem like science fiction will be a major topic at the SID Display Week 2013 that currently takes place in Vancouver in Canada.
High manufacturing cost and a short lifetime are still a major obstacle on ...
University of Würzburg physicists have succeeded in creating a new type of laser.
Its operation principle is completely different from conventional devices, which opens up the possibility of a significantly reduced energy input requirement. The researchers report their work in the current issue of Nature.
It also emits light the waves of which are in phase with one another: the polariton laser, developed ...
Innsbruck physicists led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller experimentally gained a deep insight into the nature of quantum mechanical phase transitions.
They are the first scientists that simulated the competition between two rival dynamical processes at a novel type of transition between two quantum mechanical orders. They have published the results of their work in the journal Nature Physics.
“When water boils, its molecules are released as vapor. We call this ...
23.05.2013 | Physics and Astronomy
23.05.2013 | Health and Medicine
23.05.2013 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
17.05.2013 | Event News
15.05.2013 | Event News
08.05.2013 | Event News