New 'Clay' May Help Grow Bone

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital have introduced a unique, one-of-a-kind model of bone regeneration using clay. Nanoparticles of synthetic silicate, which is also more commonly known as clay, can induce stem cells to become bone cells, without any extra bone-inducing factors.

This research is published online in Advanced Materials, and is all set to pave way for the arrival of easier technologies of bone and organ regeneration.

"With an aging population in the US, injuries and degenerative conditions are subsequently on the rise," said Ali Khademhosseini, PhD, BWH Division of Biomedical Engineering, senior study author. "As a result, there is an increased demand for therapies that can repair damaged tissues. In particular, there is a great need for new materials that can direct stem cell differentiation and facilitate functional tissue formation. Silicate nanoplatelets have the potential to address this need in medicine and biotechnology."

These nanoplatelets have been used widely in industries and other commercial applications such as ceramic glass filters, food additives and anti-caking agents.

"Based on the strong preliminary studies, we believe that these highly bioactive nanoplatelets may be utilized to develop devices such as injectable tissue repair matrixes, bioactive fillers, or therapeutic agents for stimulating specific cellular responses in bone-related tissue engineering," Akhilesh Gaharwar, PhD, BWH Division of Biomedical Engineering, first study author said.

Further studies may also help explore other materials that could be used to improve constructive performances and thereby shorten the patient's recovery time.

This study could be a seed to tree of amazing new discoveries in the near future. Who knows? Maybe one day, you could meet with an accident, lose your leg, and grow it back in a day.

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