Breaking bones has usually meant long recovery times and a lot of missed school or work. Until now. A new futuristic bone bandage could mean much shorter recovery times and better outcomes for even serious breaks.
Technology has already improved the healing of broken bones by using polymer implants or scaffolding materials surgically implanted to prompt the body’s bone cells to grow into them and heal the bone according to New Atlas.
Now a team of researchers from the Habib lab at the Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London have developed a bone bandage which is coated in a protein that naturally prompts repairs to bones when stuck directly to the broken bone. This innovative study was recently published in the journal Nature Materials.
This breakthrough, according to a news release from King’s could lead to fewer complications, infections, and poor outcomes from serious injuries like breaks from falls for elderly patients with underlying health conditions.
Besides the protein coating that promotes healing, the scientists accelerated the process by growing stem cells that generate bone cells in the gel on the bandage. This works more effectively than the scaffolding method and are targeted just for the fracture.
“Our technology is the first to engineer a bone-like tissue from human bone stem cells in the lab within one week, and successfully transplant it in the bone defect to initiate and accelerate bone repair. The concept of the 3D-engineered tissue and the bandage has the potential to be developed to different injured tissues and organs,” said Dr. Shukry from the Habib lab at the Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine and the lead author of the study
The bandage is biodegradable and will be absorbed safely by the body after the healing process is complete. This means it will be able to be used in hospital settings.
The technology has been successfully tested on mice and human trials will begin soon. The researchers plan to continue to develop the bandages so that they can be used to improve healing in organs and tissue.
The idea of using bandages to heal tissue has also been researched by the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT). The scientists at MIT came up with an adhesive tape or bandage that can be used internally to replace sutures on organs and to attach implantable medical devices.
Both of these new bandage applications are not ready to be used on people yet because they are in the testing stages but these new futuristic medical aides could help people heal much faster from broken bones and surgeries. These methods are not as fast as the medical tricorders on Star Trek but science is coming up with new innovative solutions every day.