Forgot your password?

Back to login

Moldable scaffold for bone
April 23, 2017, 1:36 pm
A team including researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York is developing a new material that can be used to replace skull bone lost to injury, surgery, or birth defect. The bioactive foam is malleable when exposed to warm saline, allowing surgeons to easily shape it to fit irregular defects in the skull, where it hardens in place. Once implanted in the skull, specially coated pores within the foam attract bone cells, naturally regenerating bone to replace the foam, which dissolves over time.
The foam is intended as an alternative to materials currently used to treat gaps in the skull. Most commonly, such gaps are filled with a bone graft surgically harvested from the patient, such as from the hip. Such rigid bone grafts are often difficult to harvest, and cannot be readily manipulated to fit within irregularly shaped bone defects, compromising healing.
Experts in bone tissue engineering will now test various formulations of the foam in vitro and then recommend the most successful formulations for further pre-clinical testing, and provide insight on why some foams are more or less successful in promoting bone growth.
The project began about five years ago, and has already shown good biocompatibility in preliminary tests in small animal models. Many more years of refinement and testing are required before a product reaches surgeons as a treatment option. The researchers say that a moldable bone-promoting scaffold could have broad use if it is successful. "It takes advantages of the body's own healing ability, and it's a low-cost, 'off the shelf' solution that would not need to be pre-tailored to the individual defect."
Share your views

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."

"Envy comes from wanting something that isn't yours. But grief comes from losing something you've already had."

Photo Gallery