Biloine W. Young • Thu, December 11th, 2014
From a publication called The Engineer comes the suggestion that remotely controlled magnetic nanoparticles could be the key to spurring the healing of damaged bone. This could be especially useful in dealing with fractures that do not heal, damage caused by osteoporosis and bone diseases.
Researchers led by James Henstock, Ph.D. of Keele University’s Research Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine, United Kingdom, used chicken fetal femurs and tissue-engineered collagen hydrogels to model injured bone. “We coated magnetic nanoparticles with specific targeting proteins, then controlled them remotely with an external magnetic field to simulate exercise.” As he explained, once in place, “The nanoparticles released a protein growth stimulant in several stages resulting in an increase in bone formation and density without causing mechanical stress to either the forming bone or to the surrounding tissues.”
Henstock believes that “ injectable therapies for regenerative medicine show great potential as a minimally invasive route for introducing therapeutic stem cells, drug delivery vehicles and biomaterials efficiently to wound sites. This work demonstrates that providing the appropriate mechanical cues in conjunction with controlled release of growth factors to these injectable cell therapies can have a significant impact on improving bone growth.” The work suggests that magnetic control could be a key to developing stem cell fracture treatment.