A glimpse into the future of fracture repair – an injectable biologic putty
The researchers, led by doctors Mauro Ferrari and Ennio Tasciotti, with the Methodist Hospital Research Institute, Houston, Texas, came up with an idea that could change orthopaedic surgery. Using a chemical called polypropylene fumarate they created a putty that, when applied to a broken bone, solidifies and works like a glue to bring the two parts of the fracture together. The substance not only fixes a fractured bone quickly, it also promotes its regeneration.
The material relies on small spheres of porous silicon to create the material’s unique properties. As the spheres dissolve in the patient’s body, they release mesenchymal stem cells, proteins and drugs which help the body create new bone tissue. The spheres also contain a cocktail of growth factor molecules and cytokines that recruit the patient’s own stem cells and get them to develop new bone tissue. Antibiotics and pain-suppressing drugs complete the package. The compound is in the form of a paste that can be injected with a syringe.