Scientists in France have developed an incredible new invention, a self-setting foam that can repair bone defects and assist growth. This astounding breakthrough could lead to us being able to regenerate bone growth and treat degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis.
The foam is an injectable calcium phosphate cement (CPC’s). Currently CPC’s are used as a bone substitute during surgery. They make effective biomaterials which allow surgeons to fix and harden defective bones ‘in situ’ with relative ease. Even better they’re biocompatible, self-setting, and non-toxic.
However, despite the tech having been around for years now, scientists have struggled to make them porous enough to be effectively used in the treatment of bone degeneration, until now. James Urquhart, from Chemistry World, reports that scientists at University of Nantes have made a huge breakthrough in creating porous bone cement by introducing a hydrogen as a foaming agent to create air bubbles in the mixture.
He writes that previously scientists hadn’t been able to introduce macroporosity into these materials, which meant that CPC’s didn’t have pores, or cavities, larger than 50 nanometers. This made it difficult to treat bone degeneration, or to strengthen cancellous bone (A porous, flexible and spongy tissue that gets progressively weaker once osteoporosis sets in).
Pierre Weiss and his team are behind the breakthrough and have reportedly created an effective macroporous, self-setting CPC. The key to the breakthrough was in applying a ‘silanized hydrogel’ as a foaming agent.
The researchers believe the foam could be used to treat certain bone defects and diseases, and their next step will be to determine the proof of concept in animal models.
This is an astounding breakthrough that could potentially benefit millions of people, good work science!