Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Bioinspiration to mend broken bones

In an ageing global population, regenerative medicine is rising to the challenge of treatment for bone loss and fracture in patients with osteoporosis. New EU research is focusing on stimulating the body’s own repair system to treat these bone defects.
Bioinspiration to mend broken bones
The bone, particularly the large bones, cannot heal by itself when defects reach a critical size. Therapies to date include bone grafts or substitutes. More recently, tissue engineering using scaffolds seeded with growing cells for tissue formation has shown great potential.

For bone regeneration, scaffolds mimic the natural extracellular matrix (ECM) and play an important role in guiding cell adhesion and proliferation. The STUFFOR project has developed new multifunctional 3D acellular scaffolds for bone regeneration and vascularisation. Enabling bone tissue regeneration, the team studied their progress in a rabbit model with bone defects.

Preparation of the multifaceted scaffolds involved use of electrospun nanofibres for a large surface area to volume ratio, high porosity and mechanical properties similar to the ECM of natural tissues. Active chemicals were incorporated and the whole structure supplied the biological, physical and mechanical requirements for animal experiments on bone regeneration.

Using optimised equipment and the novel inversed opal technique, the scientists produced controllable-sized gelatin microspheres as the porogens, the structures used to make the pores in the scaffold. Nanofibrous scaffolds with the appropriate diameter were successfully fabricated using electrospinning.

The newly constructed 3D hybrid scaffolds were then modified for in vivo tests. Transplanted into the model rabbit at sites of defect, the tailored scaffolds were monitored for changes in the bone.

Dissemination included presentation of the work at the conference of the 10th World Biomaterials Congress at Montreal and an annual meeting of Emergency Medicine. Future cooperation between Keele University and Xuzhou Medical University is imminent due to academic visits.

All STUFFOR scaffolds can be made off-shelf and scalable for commercialisation. Project research results have generated a knowledge base for continuing research on how to mend fractured bones with huge socio-economic benefits for our ageing populations.

Related information

Subjects

Life Sciences

Keywords

Bones, ageing, bone defect, scaffold, STUFFOR
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