`Magic sponge' can mend bones
Tuesday 29 June 1999
The "sponge" is made from cow collagen, the same material as ligaments, and impregnated with genes that promote bone growth. It can be implanted into the fracture to encourage recovery. Tests on dogs have been encouraging, say scientists at the biotechnology company Selective Genetics in San Diego, California.
If the technique can be extended to humans it would have an immediate application in the elderly, where hip fractures often leave otherwise healthy people immobile.
The American tests, reported today in the journal Nature Medicine, involved a "gene activated matrix" (GAM) containing mobile loops of DNA called plasmids. These contained a gene that leads to the promotion of bone growth.
The team inserted the gene-carrying sponge into the broken bones of three dogs and measured the bone density by X-ray. Fractures usually take six weeks to heal. In the experiments, by two to six weeks after implantation there was an increase in new bone formation at the fracture site compared to fractures without the GAM.
The technique overcomes many of the stumbling blocks associated with gene therapy. In theory, adding extra genes could compensate for flaws in an individual's DNA or - as in this case - provide a boost for processes already under way. But repeated problems include getting them to work only where and when needed.
The plasmid method shows promise because the additional genes are restricted to the site where they are needed.
- 1 Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 2 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Alex Salmond: 'The rocks would melt with the sun before I'd ever set foot in the House of Lords'
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Ice Bucket Challenge: US firefighter Tony Grider dies after participating in charity craze near power lines
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...