Your chance of breaking a bone in the next year is almost 4%. If you are unlucky enough to need a bone replacement, it will likely be based on a metal piece. Unfortunately, metal parts are sometimes toxic over time and will not help your original bone regeneration. Calcium phosphate ceramics – substitutes for the bone mineral hydroxyapatite – are in principle an ideal alternative to conventional metals because bone can eventually replace ceramic and regrow. However, applications of these ceramics in the medical setting have been limited by insufficient control of the rate of absorption and replacement by bone after implantation.
Now, in a study recently published in Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, TMDU researchers and collaborating partners investigated the effect of the carbon chain length of a phosphate ester ceramic containing calcium ions on the rate of its transformation into hydroxyapatite mediated by alkaline phosphatase. that is in our bones. This work will help move bone regeneration research from laboratories to medical use.
“Medical professionals have long searched for a way to heal bone fractures without using implanted medical devices, but the underlying science that can make this dream a reality is not yet fully worked out,” says the author. Main Taishi Yokoi. “Our careful analysis of the effect of ceramic ester alkyl chain length on hydroxyapatite formation, in simulated body fluid, may aid in the development of a novel bone replacement biomaterial.”
The researchers report two main findings. First, most of the ceramics studied underwent chemical transformations into particulate or fibrous hydroxyapatite within a few days. Second, smaller alkyl groups facilitated faster chemical reactions than larger alkyl groups. Since the rate-limiting step in hydroxyapatite formation is dissolution of the ceramic, the greater solubility imparted by smaller alkyl groups accelerated hydroxyapatite production. Such knowledge makes it possible to adapt the rate of bone regrowth.
“We now have specific chemical knowledge on how to tailor the growth rate of hydroxyapatite from calcium phosphate ceramics,” Yokoi says. “We expect this knowledge to be useful for laboratory researchers and medical practitioners to collaborate more effectively in tailoring bone reformation rates in medically relevant conditions. The results of this study are important for the healing of bone fractures after surgery. By using chemical information to optimize the rate of bone reformation after implantation of calcium phosphate ceramics, patient outcomes will improve and returns to the hospital years later for further repairs will be minimized.