Elastic bones

A 3-D printable scaffold for bone repair

A group at Northwestern University has created a "hyperelastic bone" scaffold to address the need for a bone-inducing material that is easily manufactured, low cost and easy to manipulate during surgery. While the short-term goal is to create a matrix that can be used alone, the porous property of the biomaterial could allow the team to incorporate BMP2 or new osteogenic growth factors with better safety profiles.

The scaffold, described in a Science Translational Medicinestudy last month, was developed by Ramille Shah, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the university, whose goal was to find a solution to the manifold problems caused by the products marketed or in development for bone repair.

Shah told BioCentury that while bone defects are often fixed using autografts, in which a surgeon takes bone from one part of the body and shapes it to fit the new location, the procedure is painful and takes a long time, and the bone is difficult to trim.

An alternative is to use bone void fillers or temporary scaffolds, which serve as a platform for stem cells that can synthesize new bone. Most utilize hydroxyapatite or calcium phosphate-based ceramics mixed with elastic polymers, which have components that are similar to bone and are osteogenic. "The hypothesis

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