Nano engineering researchers from Murdoch University have successfully created a synthetic material that encourages the formation of bone.
The development has positive implications for the future of bone grafts, fracture repair and reconstructive surgery in humans. The investigation into synthetic materials was prompted in part because of the limitations of current options, which include using the patient’s own bone, donated bone or artificial materials for bone grafts.
The team, headed by Dr Eddy Poinern, used a bio ceramic called hydroxyapatite, or ‘HAP’, to form sponge-like pellets, which need to be porous, non toxic, highly durable and replicate the physical, chemical and mechanical properties of natural bone. The durable HAP material forms a kind of scaffold which allows host cells to reform into bone slowly enough to allow for the formation of blood vessels which feed nutrients to the bone. The pellets themselves have the added benefit of being very cost-effective as well.
Theoretically, the material can be moulded into any shape, and possibly even 3D printed one day. Proper funding is needed to continue development on this technology, which is why it is important to support investment in Australian Universities.
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[img source] T Moy (CCA2.0) bit.ly/1rTOu84