The porous glass, originally developed at Imperial College is capable of acting as an active template for new bone growth, dissolving in the body without leaving any trace of itself or any toxic chemicals. As it dissolves it releases calcium and other elements such as silicon into the adjacent body fluids, stimulating bone growth.
The glass activates genes present in human bone cells which encode proteins controlling the bone cell cycle and the differentiation of the cell to form bone matrix and rapid mineralisation of bone nodules. It is the release of soluble silica and calcium ions in specific concentrations that activate the genes. Gene activation occurs only when the timing sequence of the cell cycle is matched by that of the glass surface reactions and controlled release of the ions.
Partners at the Universities of Kent and Warwick have been carrying out experiments at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s world leading ISIS neutron source. Research at ISIS is showing exactly how the calcium is held in the glass and thereby precisely how it is released into the body. Professor Bob Newport at the University of Kent explains that it was when the material was studied at ISIS that the process became clear.
“Although variants of these bioactive materials are already in clinical use, and the role of calcium in these materials was already understood as being critical in terms of both the stability of the glass and its bioactivity, no direct and quantitative study of the calcium atoms within the glass network had been undertaken. Using ISIS to study the relationship between these atoms and the host silicate glass via techniques unique to neutron diffraction has enabled us to move forward with the programme. The key outcome of our experiments has been a full understanding, at the level of atomic arrangements, of why it is that calcium is able so easily to leave the glass at the rate required to generate the desired response.”
By comparing samples made with natural calcium and with a calcium isotope it was possible for the first time to isolate the complex and subtle contribution of the calcium from that of all the other atoms present.
Dr Andrew Taylor, Director of the ISIS neutron source commented, “To allow people to remain active, and to contribute to society for longer, the need for new materials to replace and repair worn out and damaged tissues becomes ever more important. We’re pleased that at ISIS we can continue to contribute to cutting edge research that affects all our lives.”
Natalie Bealing | alfa
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences