`Sponge' mends broken 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 underway.
But repeated problems include getting the new genes incorporated into the host's DNA, and 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 Replica Back to the Future Hoverboard released
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 4 A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Costa Concordia: Shipment of Mob drugs was hidden aboard cruise liner when it hit rocks off Italian coast, investigators say
Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Germanwings crash: 'Andreas Lubitz planned to marry pregnant girlfriend', claims German report
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...
£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior FF&E Project Co-ordinator is re...
£10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A delightful, 11 year old boy who lives in t...
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Furniture Installer /...