New Technology May Heal Bones in Minutes
The worst part of breaking a bone (besides the pain) is the healing process. Wearing an uncomfortable cast can be irritating and aggravating, making it harder to move around for months at a time. Well, that process may soon change. A company has developed a product called “Injectable Bone” that may repair the broken bone in minutes.
The U.K. company, called RegenTec, has created a white powder that is designed to be injected into a person in order to speed up the healing process of broken bones.
“You won't be able to just walk out of a hospital with a broken leg,” said Robin Quirk, a professor at the University of Nottingham and co-developer of the technology. “What we are trying to do in the short term is have something that fills the void left by a break that acts like normal spongy bone and encourages natural regeneration.”
Injectable Bone is a mix of ceramic and polylactic acid. On the outside, it looks like white powder. When injected into the body with a needle, the higher temperature inside causes the two components to mix together to form a hard, spongy mass similar to bones in the body.
While there are already other products similar to Injectable Bone, those products experience some problems in that they harden into a solid mass or raise body temperature enough to damage other tissue in the immediate area.
Researchers state that Injectable Bone could actually promote bone growth by adding different mixtures in with the powder. “We can actually control the rate of degradation to tailor it to the individual's healing,” said Quirk.
While Injectable Bone isn’t meant to permanently replace bone, it does work to give the body time to repair itself. The creators of the product say that it could also possible be used to replace metal pins currently used in surgery.
RegenTec hopes to have Injectable Bone available within 18 months, but is currently waiting for FDA approval.