Navigation Links
In the lab, engineer's novel liquid provides a solid fix for broken bones
Date:12/7/2010

Here's the vision: an elderly woman comes into the emergency room after a fall. She has broken her hip. The orthopaedic surgeon doesn't come with metal plates or screws or shiny titanium ball joints. Instead, she pulls out a syringe filled with a new kind of liquid that will solidify in seconds and injects into the break. Over time, new bone tissue will take its place, encouraged by natural growth factors embedded in the synthetic molecules of the material.

Although still early in its development, the liquid is real. In the Brown engineering lab of professor Thomas Webster it's called TBL, for the novel DNA-like "twin-base linker" molecules that give it seemingly ideal properties. The biotech company Audax Medical Inc., based in Littleton, Mass., announced on Dec. 7 an exclusive license of the technology from Brown. It brands the technology as Arxis and sees similar potential for repairing broken vertebrae.

"The reason we're excited about this material is because it gets us away from metals," Webster said. "Metals are not in us naturally and they can have a lot of problems with surrounding tissues."

In some of his work, Webster employs nanotechnology to try to bridge metals to bone better than traditional bone cement. But TBL is an entirely new material, co-developed with longtime colleague and chemist Hicham Fenniri at the University of Alberta. Fenniri synthesized the molecules, while Webster's research has focused on ensuring that TBL becomes viable material for medical use.

The molecules are artificial, but made from elements that are no strangers to the body: carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. At room temperature their aggregate form is a liquid, but the material they form solidifies at body temperature. The molecules look like nanoscale tubes (billionths of a meter wide), and when they come together, it is in a spiraling ladder-shaped arrangement reminiscent of DNA or collagen. That natural structure makes it easy to integrate with bone tissue.

In the space within the nanotubes, the team, which includes graduate student Linlin Sun, has managed to stuff in various drugs including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents, and bone growth factors, which the tubes release over the course of months. Even better, different recipes of TBL, or Arxis, can be chemically tuned to become as hard as bone or as soft as cartilage, and can solidify in seconds or minutes, as needed. Once it is injected, nothing else is needed.

"We really like the fact that it doesn't need anything other than temperature to solidify," Webster said. Other compounds that people have developed require exposure to ultraviolet light and cannot therefore be injected through a tiny syringe hole. They require larger openings to be created.

For all of TBL's apparent benefits, they have only been demonstrated in cow bone fragments in incubators on the lab bench top, Webster said. TBL still needs to be proven in vivo and, ultimately, in human trials. Part of the agreement with Audax will include support to continue the material's clinical development. Audax research and development director Whitney Sharp, a Brown alumna (Sc.B., 2008; Sc.M., 2009), is now working with Webster's group.

"They see the future where hopefully we will get to the point where we won't be implanting these huge pieces of metal into people," Webster said. "Instead we'll be implanting things through a needle that could be used to heal a hip that's more natural."


'/>"/>

Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UC San Diego bioengineers fill holes in science of cellular self-organization
2. Caltech engineers build firast-ever multi-input plug-and-play synthetic RNA device
3. Biomedical engineers detective work reveals antibiotic mechanism
4. Engineers create intelligent molecules that seek-and-destroy diseased cells
5. Iowa student engineers develop hand-held water sanitizer for a thirsty world
6. Ben-Gurion University engineers develop technique to help combat nuclear proliferation
7. LabRoots Launches Social Networking Site for Scientists & Engineers
8. Engineers develop method to disperse chemically modified graphene in organic solvents
9. Case Western Reserve University engineers hit pay dirt with clay mixture
10. New method developed by UC San Diego bioengineers gives regenerative medicine a boost
11. Vanderbilt engineers play key role in new DOE energy frontier research center
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/30/2016)... and WARSAW, Poland , Nov. 30, 2016 ... is one of the most crucial aspects of recovery so we need to do ... serious health risks, including heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer. ... friends sleep and find a Christmas present that could help them to manage their ... ...
(Date:11/29/2016)... 2016 Nearly one billion matches per second with ... ... DERMALOG is Germany's largest ... Identity Management. (PRNewsFoto/DERMALOG Identification Systems) ... DERMALOG is Germany's largest Multi-Biometric supplier: The company's Fingerprint Identification System ...
(Date:11/22/2016)... Minn. , Nov. 22, 2016   MedNet ... supports the entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased ... Medical LiveWire Healthcare and Life Sciences Awards ... award caps off an unprecedented year of recognition and ... trials for over 15 years. iMedNet ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)... - SQI Diagnostics Inc. ("SQI" or the "Company") (TSX-V: SQD; OTCQX: SQIDF), today ... fiscal year ended September 30, 2016. ... , , SQI ... company that develops and commercializes proprietary technologies and products for advanced ... revenues of $1.4 million more than tripling prior years revenue. ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... Superior Controls, ... solutions, today announced the company has successfully completed its 50th consecutive audit. ... control systems integration services to leading companies in life sciences, food and beverage, ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... DIEGO , Dec. 6, 2016  Creative Medical ... Kesari , MD, PhD, FANA, FAAN to the Company,s ... neurology and clinical trials to assist the Company,s clinical ... stroke. The AmnioStem product is a universal donor stem cell ... activity in animal models of stroke 1 .  ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... development of precision treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced the validated monoclonal ... the direct neurotoxic effect of prion-like forms of Amyloid beta (Aß) in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: