© Satheesh Elangovan
Researchers at the University of Iowa have created a bio patch to regenerate missing or damaged bone. The patch has been shown to nearly fully regrow missing skull, seen in the image above.
University of Iowa researchers have developed a collagen scaffold capable of growing bone from within a living body, which could have massive ramifications for treating musculoskeletal problems.
According to the team's report
in the journal Biomaterials
, their novel collagen structure is seeded with particles containing the genetic instructions necessary for producing bone. In experiments, the gene-team was successfully able to regrow enough bone to cover skull wounds in test animals.
The research team said their method is different from previous efforts because it delivers bone-growing instructions to cells from within the organism. Other attempts had used applications from the outside, which is expensive, intensive, and more difficult to consistently replicate.
"We delivered the DNA to the cells, so that the cells produce the protein and that's how the protein is generated to enhance bone regeneration," said study author Aliasger Salem
, a pharmacy professor at the university. "If you deliver just the protein, you have to keep delivering it with continuous injections to maintain the dose. With our method, you get local, sustained expression over a prolonged period of time without having to give continued doses of protein."
Study author Satheesh Elangovan
, a professor in UI's College of Dentistry, said the new method could be a game-changer for patients who need dental implants, but don't have sufficient bone in the necessary area. The scaffold could also be used to fix birth defects involving missing bone around the head or face.