Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New Georgia Tech micro-CT imaging technique to help tissue engineers improve bone regeneration


Technique reveals new method for better bone grafts

Tissue engineers can choose from a wide range of living cells, biomaterials and proteins to repair a bone defect. But finding the optimum combination requires improved methods for tracking the healing process.

New Georgia Tech research points to better ways to heal and regenerate bones using microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) imaging — a process 1 million times more detailed than a traditional CT scan. The new micro-CT scan technique simultaneously looks at both vascularization (the process by which blood vessels invade body tissues during repair) and mineralization (the process by which mineral crystals form to harden regenerating bone) by collecting three-dimensional images in vitro and in vivo.

Georgia Tech researchers used the new technique to help develop bone graft substitutes that combine the availability and structural integrity of bone allografts, or bone grafts taken from a human donor, with the better healing properties of bone autografts, or bone grafts taken from the patient.

Unlike a traditional x-ray that only shows the presence of bone in two dimensions, the new micro-CT technique provides high-resolution 3-D images of vascularization and mineralization during bone repair. This approach allows tissue engineers to optimize the design of implants.

The findings of the project, headed by Dr. Robert Guldberg, a research director at the Georgia Tech/Emory Center for the Engineering of Living Tissues and an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Mechanical Engineering, will be presented Feb. 20 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

"We’re applying 3-D imaging techniques to quantify vascularization and mineralization in order to evaluate which of these tissue engineering approaches is going to be able to best and most quickly restore bone function," Guldberg said. "We’ve always known that vascularization is very important to bone repair, but we’ve never really had a good method to measure the process."

Guldberg’s team has used micro-CT imaging to study fracture healing and repair of large bone defects that can result from the removal of bone tumors or crushing injuries. Large bone defects are typically repaired with allografts because large structural pieces are available from human donors.

But allografts are processed to avoid transmitting any diseases from the donor to the patient, leaving the bone sterile but dead. Allografts therefore lack living cells that could help the implants better integrate with existing bone. Consequently, they don’t heal as well as autografts and can re-break in up to 30 percent of patients within a year. Live autograft bone integrates much better, but large amounts of bone are needed to repair a site. They are often too large to remove elsewhere in the patient’s body and cause substantial additional pain.

Georgia Tech’s micro-CT imaging facility has been used to study tissue engineering approaches to enhance or replace the use of bone grafts clinically. Guldberg and his collaborators at the University of Rochester, for example, have explored various strategies to revitalize dead allograft bone. Wrapping allografts with biomaterials containing living marrow cells or delivering bioactive genes has resulted in significantly accelerated repair and integration of allograft implants.

While a traditional bone scan can give a doctor some idea of a bone’s density, a micro-CT scan that provides high resolution 3-D data on vascularization and mineralization can provide much more detailed information about the bone’s structure and blood flow. Although not yet available clinically, these techniques give researchers an unprecedented depth of data on how a bone implant is integrating into the body.

In addition to studying bone regeneration, the ability to look at detailed 3-D images of vascular networks can shed light on research into vascular injuries, disc degeneration in the back and help detect tumors early by pinpointing areas of increased vascularization (which often indicate tumor growth).

Megan McRainey | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Solid progress in carbon capture

27.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>