A new “bio patch” may be able to regenerate missing or damaged bone, Medical News Today reported.
Created by researchers from the University of Iowa, the patch was successful in regrowing enough bone to cover wounds in the skulls of live rats.
The patch works by delivering nano-sized particles directly into living bone cells. The particles contain pieces of DNA that are encoded for a platelet-derived growth factor called PDGF-B, which prompts the cells to make proteins that stimulate bone production.
Utilizing this method, the researchers were also able to stimulate the growth of human bone marrow stromal cells in test tubes.
According to Medical News Today, past studies have successfully prompted bone regrowth, but most relied on repeatedly delivering the bone-making protein from outside the body. The patch bypasses this obstacle by delivering a constant flow of PDGF-B to bone cells, which make the protein themselves.
"If you deliver just the protein, you have keep delivering it with continuous injections to maintain the dose,” said study author Aliasger Salem, professor at Iowa’s College of Pharmacy. “With our method, you get local, sustained expression over a prolonged period of time without having to give continued doses of protein."
The patch consists of a collagen scaffold, which is seeded with synthetically made, DNA-carrying particles. In order to prompt bone growth in rats, the patch was placed directly on small holes in their skulls.
The researchers say their patch could be used in dentistry to grow bone in areas of the gums, providing a foundation for dental implants. The patch could also be used to repair birth defects in children who are missing critical areas of bone, such as around their face.
The research was published in the journal Biomaterials.