Carbon Nanotubes Help Fix Bones

Mar 14, 2008
Carbon Nanotubes Help Fix Bones
Field-emission scanning electron microscopy image of tissue sections obtained four weeks after CNTs were implanted into tibial defects in mice. CNTs (arrow) were integrated directly into the new bone and adhered closely to the bone matrix with no intervening space. Credit: Small, 2008

Healing a broken bone is a lengthy and awkward process. The current, most effective way to repair bone tissue is to ensure correct positioning of the bone during healing, usually by use of a plaster cast or splint. With the average time to repair bone fractures being around six weeks this is a slow process and one that can often be uncomfortable for the patient.

That could now change thanks to a new discovery by a team in Japan, who found that carbon nanotubes (CNTs), one-atom-thick layers of carbon rolled into hollow cylinders, could help speed up the process.

The researchers found that placing CNTs in contact with damaged bones in mice helps to regenerate bone tissue and reduce inflammation during healing. Measurements made during the formation of new bone material revealed that the CNTs become integrated into the bone matrix itself, acting as a starting point for new bone tissue to begin to grow.

"Bone healing occurs earlier because CNTs act as a scaffold for bone regeneration," said Professor Naoto Saito of the Applied Physical Therapy Department at Shinshu University in Japan. "We believe that this will be the same for any of the bones in the body."

When the CNTs were used in conjunction with a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), commonly used to facilitate bone regrowth, the production of new bone material was accelerated.

This study reveals a previously unknown property of carbon nanotubes and may facilitate the development of new scaffold materials for medical applications. Using CNTs in conjunction with conventional healing methods such as the plaster cast and BMPs could promote quicker bone repair and fracture healing. "We aim to study the safety of CNTs in vivo to determine how useful they will be in bone-healing treatments," said Saito.

The excellent biocompatibility demonstrated by the CNTs means they could also be used in biomaterials such as plates and screws used to repair damaged bone tissue, and in implants.

Citation: Small, 2008, 4, 240; doi 10.1002/smll.200700670

Source: Wiley, by Sophie Ladden

Explore further: Physicists create new nanoparticle for cancer therapy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Physicists create new nanoparticle for cancer therapy

9 hours ago

A University of Texas at Arlington physicist working to create a luminescent nanoparticle to use in security-related radiation detection may have instead happened upon an advance in photodynamic cancer therapy.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RFS
not rated yet Mar 15, 2008
hi
this is Aref Sobh Khizy
i have a guestion
how i can find a video file for this tex?
im intresting about the nanobiotechnology(NBTC)
and im researching about.
tank you

More news stories

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.