Jimmy Callens ‘14, Staff Writer
For anyone who has had bone issues, help is on the way! Those who don’t have enough bone to support dental implants, who are missing bone due to a birth defect, or who have suffered bone-damaging injuries, the bio-patch could be the solution. Scientists at the University of Iowa made the bio-patch. It is an implantable collagen patch seeded with particles of synthetic DNA. The DNA instructs the patient’s own cells to produce the appropriate proteins necessary for bone growth. The patch takes on a scaffolding-like structure and is shaped to the size needed for repair. The activating protein is PDGF-B, which enhances bone regeneration.
The patches were tested on the skulls of animals in a period of about 4 weeks. The patch-animal results were then compared to that of the control group (those without the patch). The researchers found that the plasmid-seeded bio-patch grew 44 times more bone and soft tissue in the affected area. That is 14 fold higher than the affected area with no manipulation. The patch is said to be unlikely to cause an immune response, and should be relatively easy to produce in large amounts.