Injectable bone filler could help heal broken bones faster

6 Jul 2015

Broken bones could one day be fixed in a fraction of the amount of time it takes using current methods with the help of a new bio-printed ‘injectable bone filler’ that will fix the bone at a cellular level.

The material developed by the team of researchers is a thick paste, which the team has compared to Play Doh, that is capable of being placed in a specific syringe and then inserted into the area where the patient’s bone has broken.

When inserted into the bone, the paste will expand and fill the cracks, which will then accelerate the regeneration due to the paste containing the necessary cells and proteins to make it heal faster.

What makes the team from the University of Nottingham’s creation unique is that its method of bio-printing the paste is achievable at an ambient temperature, which under the more common high-temperature method would not allow the inclusion of cells in the paste.

Bio-printed material

Bio-printed material. Image via IOP Publishing

The team from the University of Nottingham in the UK has published the findings of its bio-printed material in Biofabrication and, speaking of what they hope the concept will achieve, lead author of the paper Dr Jing Yang sees it being scaled upwards.

“Initially we’re targeting the clinical application of this material as injectable bone defect filler,” he said, “but we’ve postulated that its properties would make it highly suitable for use as a scaffold to reconstruct larger shapes, which could help with more complicated reconstructions — such as nasal reconstruction.”

Broken bone in X-ray image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic