Engineering new bone growth

20 August 2014

Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has found a new way to promote more controlled and faster bone growth, which could be a significant development for people with bone injuries. The current treatment, which involves transplanting bone, is often painful and can fail to produce enough bone.

The scientists developed a tissue that is then applied to the injury site and behaves and looks just like the original tissue, while also promoting rapid bone growth.

Two factors, which are important for bone growth, were used in the development, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2).  When a wound is suffered, the body will release PDGF and this triggers the appearance of other factors such as BMP-2, which create a suitable environment to encourage bone regeneration.

Using these growth factors to repair bone injuries has often failed as they were unable to deliver them effectively and in a controlled way. 

To crack this problem, the MIT team created a very thin, porous scaffold sheet coated with layers of PDGF and BMP, which recreated the body's natural ability to produce one then the other.

Posted by Philip Briggs​


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