Bone research that grows on you

Oct 31, 2006

Rapid and guided healing of bones has moved a step closer with research by two biomedical engineering students who have found new ways to deliver bone growth enhancers directly to broken or weakened bones.

Major ongoing research at Queensland University of Technology focuses on biodegradable materials that carry bone growth enhancing substances to encourage bones to heal quickly with much less intervention.

The research is ultimately aimed at repairing fractured bones or replacing bone weakened or lost from osteoporosis, cancer or trauma with minimal intervention and without painful and expensive bone grafts or pins and plates.

Fourth year biomedical engineering student Wayne Shaw has developed tiny biodegradable spheres made from polymers that can be loaded with calcium phosphate compounds – known bone growth facilitators – and placed on bone defects.

"As the microspheres degrade the calcium phosphate compounds are absorbed and encourage the bone to grow quickly into the area and build new bone," Mr Shaw said.

"The microspheres, which are highly porous, range in size from 50 to 500 microns and have calcium phosphate abundantly deposited throughout the pores, can be used in a variety of ways.

"They could be used to fill bone defects or cavities, to coat load bearing implants, and to make scaffolds for the regeneration of bone."

Mr Shaw won joint best exhibit in the National 2006 Engineering and Physical Sciences in Medicine conference at Noosa in September.

Fellow fourth year biomedical engineering student Achi Kushnir has developed a load bearing ceramic material capable of carrying the same bone growth enhancing chemicals and of being absorbed by the body.

Mr Kushnir has integrated a dense ceramic core with a porous ceramic layer that can be used in place of metal implants for some clinical situations because it will attach to and integrate with bone and eventually degrade away in the body.

"The dense core has high compressive strength for load bearing applications such as for the long bones of the legs or arms," Mr Kushnir said.

"The unique core structure of the material will provide the mechanical properties needed for load bearing bones and the outside porous layer will assist with the bone repair."

"Bioactive ceramics are known to be body-friendly but until now they have been limited by lack of mechanical properties including compressive strength for carrying loads."

Source: Queensland University of Technology

Explore further: Scientists discover new clues to how weight loss is regulated

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Christian Bale to play Apple's Steve Jobs

28 minutes ago

Oscar-winner Christian Bale—best known for his star turn as Batman in the blockbuster "Dark Knight" films—will play Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in an upcoming biopic.

Netflix to stream new online TV series, 'Bloodline'

29 minutes ago

Fresh from commercial and critical success with hit shows "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black," Netflix on Thursday announced a new online series, "Bloodline," set for release in March.

YEATS protein potential therapeutic target for cancer

29 minutes ago

Federal Express and UPS are no match for the human body when it comes to distribution. There exists in cancer biology an impressive packaging and delivery system that influences whether your body will develop cancer or not.

Recommended for you

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

15 hours ago

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

19 hours ago

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments : 0