New generation of synthetic bone graft developed


A new kind of synthetic bone graft has been developed by a team at Queen Mary University, London (QMUL). This bone graft boosts the body’s ability to regenerate bone tissue, and could produce better outcomes for patients, according to a press release.


The new type of graft—Inductigraft—was found able to guide bone tissue regeneration in as little as four weeks by the research published in Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine.


Researchers from QMUL’s School of Engineering and Materials Science (SEMS) manipulated the pore structure of the graft to mimic natural bone tissue.


“Our challenge is to develop a graft that’s as clever as bone. For this synthetic graft, we looked at the mechanics of how bone adapts to its environment and changed both the chemical and physical composition of the graft, specifically how the holes within the structure are placed and interconnected,” says Karin Hing, co-author of the study and Reader in Biomedical Materials at QMUL’s Institute of Bioengineering, part of SEMS.


By eight to twelve weeks its performance alone matched that of the new graft mixed with autograft.


Hing adds, “This new study has real implications for anyone suffering from any sort of skeletal injury, and for surgeons in particular. At the moment the preference is to use the patients’ own tissue to create or enhance bone grafts, however our results show that Inductigraft can be just as effective, with the advantage that patient doesn’t have to undergo additional surgery to harvest the autograft.”


This work builds upon previous research conducted at QMUL, in which the graft chemistry was enhanced by introducing silicate into hydroxyapatite. In previous studies, scientists found the combination of optimised chemistry and pore structure was better at guiding cells to differentiate into cells that produce bone tissue, both in the laboratory and in the body.


Further research examining the mechanism of action by which Inductigraft is able to guide bone formation is currently underway and is funded by EPSRC and ApaTech, a spin-out from QMUL.