In what is considered a significant development towards rebuilding broken bones,Aussie scientists have developed a synthetic biomaterial which helps the body create a bone on its own.
The biomaterial created by researchers at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Stryker Australia could probe top be an answer to successful bone grafts and treating bone disease.
Dr Cameron Lutton of QUT said that the biomaterial activates the initial stages of bone healing by encouraging the body's natural clotting process, thus promoting bone growth.
"The biomaterial interacts with blood and mimics early bone healing events," ABC Online quoted Lutton as saying.
When a bone is broken, a fast inflammatory response comes into action where blood clots and specialised cells are quickly attracted to the fracture site, encouraging a cascade of proteins, hormones and other cells to create new bone.
However, the natural process fails to occur if the gap is too large, due to a large break or removal of a tumour.
"If the chunk of bone missing is too big it can't heal, this is the circumstance that people need assistance," said Lutton.
Although researchers use bone grafts or synthetic materials to assist in the healing process, but even they have their limitations.
But, the new biomaterial created by QUT researchers scores over all these methods because of its surface structure, which is coated by a special arrangement of polymers that attract the right proteins to the wounded bone, said Dr Ben Goss project researcher.
"There are polymers that attract proteins and those that repel them. By getting the right balance we can attract and repel the right proteins to create bones," said Goss.
In laboratory conditions, the biomaterial induces the proteins and hormones needed for the initial inflammatory response.
"We know that it does the right thing to the blood to begin bone regeneration," said Goss.
Currently animal trials of the biomaterial are undergoing, which if successful, may lead to human trials to treat patients with significant bone defects.