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UMMS biomedical researchers develop more reliable, less expensive synthetic graft material
Date:10/22/2010

st tissue, however, result in almost 50 percent of these procedures failing. Synthetic substitutes, meanwhile, do not have the necessary bone-like properties to make them an ideal alternative.

David Ayers, MD, the Arthur M. Pappas, MD, Chair in Orthopedics and chair and professor of orthopedics & physical rehabilitation said, "FlexBone has a bone mineral content approaching that of human bone, enabling the elastic FlexBone material to be cut and shaped prior to surgery or intraoperatively and then pressed into a bone gap. When used in conjunction with traditional fixation techniques, the FlexBone material provides ideal scaffolding for new bone growth."

The density of the FlexBone material also allows surgeons to pre-drill channels in it, allowing for bone marrow from adjacent bone to migrate and penetrate. This helps to attract progenitor cells that are critical to new bone formation.

Beyond the benefits of its physical properties, FlexBone has also proved to be an ideal material for speeding recovery. "What makes FlexBone so ideal for healing large bone gaps is that it absorbs and retains the proteins associated with the natural healing process from the surrounding tissue once implanted," said Song. "This helps accelerate healing." Conversely, it can also be loaded with therapeutic agents, such as protein factors and antibiotics that can facilitate faster healing and fight infection through localized and controlled delivery over a sustained period of time.

"Because of this combination of factors, our study shows that FlexBone, combined with a protein growth factor in a dose 100 times less than what currently needed, was able to heal a large, long bone defect that would not heal on its own in a short period of time," said Song. "This material has enormous potential to solve a major problem that orthopedic surgeons face when reconstructing large bone deficits in the skeleton."

"Its ability to deliver growth factors and antibiotics to th
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Contact: Jim Fessenden
james.fessenden@umassmed.edu
508-856-2000
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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