When you were a kid, have you eversigned up for a classmate if he broke his arm or leg? Carrying a briefcase? Broken bones for a child are very bad: a few disastrous seconds, followed by months of boring rest and recovery. But children may have a different story in the future, as new technologies will allow us to reconsider how we repair broken bones.
Carbon nanomaterials may possessthe ability to heal bones faster than Harry Potter with the bone bone spell. Researchers from the team of Carnegie Mellon’s Stephanie Sidlik tested a new composition of graphene, which is biodegradable, mimics bone, attracts stem cells, and ultimately improves the recovery of skeletons in animals.
As reported in PNAS, this phosphate grapheneserves as a framework that allows the body's own cells to quickly reform the missing or damaged bone. The method has already shown success in mice. As this technology develops, it can become an important part of orthopedic medicine, which will help us recover faster thanks to stronger and healthier bones.
Cornerstone of traditional orthopedicMedicine has always been to immobilize fractured bones and allow the body to recover. Fortunately, our bodies do an excellent job with repairing bones; with the right fit and enough time, the bones can heal even very serious damage; they will be almost as good as new ones.
Modern methods of physical therapy and methodsRestoration improved this “lock and forget” approach by adding activity, diet and rest to it, in order to get the best results after the fusion of broken bones. Particularly traumatic cases may require surgical operations - the installation of pins, plates and other structures, which will require a longer recovery time, more physical therapy, and the pain will, frankly, be more. Opportunities for improving procedures are available in general, but only in the most extreme cases.
Sidlik research in the field of graphene skeletonspresent a modern approach to orthopedics: penetration inside the body for maximum recovery from the inside. When graphene is placed on damaged bone tissue, around it, it serves as a structure for the binding and growth of bone cells. Imagine it as a wooden lattice set up in the garden so that the vine climbs and grows along it. In contrast to the garden lattice, the graphene skeleton is destroyed as the bones grow, disappearing after healing of the fracture site. The perfect patch that does its job and leaves nothing behind.
The framework approach is not new at all, butThis study shows improvements in the design, composition and production of phosphate graphene. An improved nanotechnology methodology may not be very interesting, but it is of great importance if your ultimate goal is a practical health product that should be easy to make and use.
The frame is also perfectly customizable - heattracts regular calcium ions, has a certain tensile strength, and other necessary physical properties can be “programmed” in the material as it is produced, so that it resembles real bone as close as possible.
More importantly, this study found thatGraphene "forests" can work with or without stem cells (in this case, the stromal cells of the bone marrow). Most other forms of regenerative forests relied on these stem cells to accelerate healing.
Phosphate graphene, however, provides the structurefor the growth of normal bone cells and stimulates them to do so. Being able to work without stem cells means that the technology will require less complex treatment plans when used in the real world.
The faster the better
There are other technologies that allowit is better to cure broken bones than woods - printed cells, nanites, cybernetics. But all these technologies are much further from the general public. Phosphate-graphene scaffolds are also well integrated into existing medical procedures and assistance programs.
As soon as graphene frameworks become availablepart of medicine, their real potential will be revealed. Graphene is just carbon atoms, arranged in a peculiar way, but the potential for changing its molecular composition is almost endless. Over time, forests will appear that attract more stem cells, produce stronger bones or prevent fractures.
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