Researchers at the University of Iowa have created a bio patch containing DNA that delivers bone-producing instructions to cells.
The bio patch contains a collagen platform embedded with the particles needed for bone regeneration. In tests, the patch regrew bones to cover skull wounds in lab animals and also stimulated growth in human bone marrow cells.
“We delivered the DNA to the cells, so that the cells produce the protein and that’s how the protein is generated to enhance bone regeneration,” explained co-author Aliasger Salem, professor of pharmacy at the university.
What makes this research unique is that previous attempts had researchers administering proteins from the outside to stimulate this growth, while this new technique can produce bones without any outside assistance. The new method provides sustained long-term administering of the required proteins directly to the cells.
The technique has potential use in dentistry where it could be used to regrow bones in gums to help provide support to dental implants.
Satheesh Elangovan, assistant professor of dentistry, said the bio patch will be beneficial to patients who don't have enough bone to support a dental implant as well as help grow bones for those born with birth defects.
“We can make a scaffold in the actual shape and size of the defect site, and you’d get complete regeneration to match the shape of what should have been there,” Elangovan said.
Elangovan and Salem next hope to create a bio platform to new blood vessel growth which is needed for sustained bone regeneration.