London: You read it right. A fragile 'ceramic' material can now work as a bone substitute.
A team of researchers at National Polytechnic Institute (NPI) in France, have found that Hydroxylapatite - medullar component of the bone - when obtained synthetically and 'giving' it some characteristics, could be used as a bone substitute.
“Hydroxylapatite, when obtained synthetically, conserves its properties and could work as a bone substitute because, according to our studies, it doesn't cause toxicity in the human body,” said Lucia Téllez Jurado from the laboratory of heavy materials of metallurgic engineer at Superior School of Chemical Engineering and Extractive Industries (ESIQUE).
Hydroxylapatite is a widely studied material, employed as a biomaterial and can be obtained from animal skeletons or synthetically. Another of its applications is as a filter for heavy metals.
The researchers found that Hydroxylapatite obtained synthetically is a fragile 'ceramic' so it would be necessary to add other substances giving them mechanical resistance.
They are now looking for a material with optimal properties that could be applied on a large bone like femur or fingers.
“We are interested in obtaining a material that complies with mechanical characteristics so it can be implanted or used as a substitute for a broken bone when no other option is available,” said Jurado.
"We are going to test several materials, checking their mechanical compositions so it has the required characteristics and works in humans. If someone has a fracture, the technology must be applied without causing further damage,” Jurado added.