New hope for patients with severe bone loss
An innovative technology developed at Tel Aviv University (TAU), Israel will enable bone regeneration to correct large defects by means of a special hydrogel. Following successful tests in an animal model, the researchers now plan to move forward to clinical trials.
The study was conducted by researchers from TAU’s Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, led by Prof. Lihi Adler-Abramovich and Dr Michal Halperin-Sternfeld in collaboration with other. The paper was published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.
Prof. Adler-Abramovich said: “Small bone defects, such as fractures, heal spontaneously, with the body restoring the lost bone tissue. The problem begins with large bone defects. In many cases, when substantial bone loss results from tumour resection (removal by surgery), physical trauma, tooth extraction, gum disease or inflammation around dental implants, the bone is unable to renew itself. In the current study, we developed a hydrogel that mimics the natural substances in the extracellular matrix of bones, stimulating bone growth and reactivating the immune system to accelerate the healing process”.
The researchers explain that the extracellular matrix is the substance surrounding our cells, providing them with structural support. Every type of tissue in our body has a specific extracellular matrix consisting of suitable substances with the right mechanical properties. The new hydrogel has a fibrillary structure that mimics that of the extracellular matrix of the natural bone. Furthermore, it is rigid, thus enabling the patient’s cells to differentiate into bone-forming cells.