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Porous Implant Shows Promise

February 21, 2008

For decades, scientists have steadfastly designed synthetic materials to implant into damaged tissues and organs in hopes of restoring their natural function.  This work has led to now common healthcare concepts such as dental implants, cardiac stents, and artificial hips.  With this success have come concerns about inherent design flaws in these inert materials that limit their longevity.  For example, all implants endure the mechanical wear and tear of everyday life.  But, as man-made materials, none can fully integrate with surrounding tissue as part of body’s natural regeneration process.  However, new, biologically “smarter” synthetic materials are under development that may solve many of today’s design problems.  A promising example was published online on January 15 in the FASEB Journal.  A team of NIDCR grantees and colleagues report on early work in animals with a porous implant that releases microencapsulated Tissue Growth Factor (TGF)-β1 into bone.  As the microparticles degraded, the encapsulated growth factors were released and recruited bone-forming mesenchymal stem cells to the implant to encourage the natural ingrowth of new mineralized bone.  The result:  The released growth factors improved biointegration of the material.  The authors concluded, “Taken together, the present findings provide the proof of concept for testing the potential augmentation of bone ingrowth in porous implants by controlled release of bioactive cues in large animal models and potentially patients.”

 


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This page last updated: February 26, 2014