Soon, glass scaffold that can help heal bone injuries

Washington: Scientists have developed a type of glass implant that could help in regeneration of injured bone.

The study conducted by Missouri University of Science and Technology has found that it could help in repairing the bones in the arms, legs and other areas of the body that are most subject to the stresses of weight.

The researchers reported that the glass implant, in the form of a porous scaffolding, integrates with bone and promotes bone growth.

Lead author Dr. Mohamed N. Rahaman, professor of materials science and engineering said that this combination of strength and bone growth opens new possibilities for bone repair.

Rahaman and his colleagues implanted bioactive glass scaffolds into sections of the calvarial bones (skullcaps) of laboratory rats, then examined how well the glass integrated with the surrounding bone and how quickly new bone grew into the scaffold.

The scaffolds are manufactured in Rahaman`s lab through a process known as robocasting - a computer-controlled technique to manufacture materials from ceramic slurries, layer by layer - to ensure uniform structure for the porous material.

The researchers found that the bioactive glass scaffolds bonded quickly to bone and promoted a significant amount of new bone growth within six weeks.

While the skullcap is not a load-bearing bone, it is primarily a cortical bone.

The purpose of this research was to demonstrate how well this type of glass scaffolding - already shown to be strong - would interact with cortical bone.

The study was published in the journal Acta Biomaterialia.