A new material developed by the University of Nottingham and RegenTec, a university spinoff, is designed to be injected into damaged bone, which then hardens into a strong scaffold as a medium for new bone tissue to grow over. The developers of the device just won one of the Medical Futures Innovation Awards for 2008.
From RegenTec technology page:
RegenTec’s patented injectable polymer scaffolds are also designed to deliver cells, adhesion peptides and growth factors directly to the tissue repair site if required. The scaffolds can be either injected or moulded and solidify within minutes of delivery, creating a space-filling material with an architecture and environment suitable for efficient tissue repair. This injectable macroporous 3D scaffold represents a novel approach to in situ tissue repair and includes the following advantages:
An open pore structure which aids cell attachment, migration, and tissue development Scaffold solidification occurs at body temperature, is non-toxic, and can be used to encapsulate and deliver cells at the site of injection Growth factors can be incorporated into the system for controlled release A system readily adaptable for its end application (e.g. porosity, architecture, protein encapsulation, material composites)
When a tissue develops or repairs itself a “regenerative niche” is formed comprising cells, 3D template, extracellular matrix and growth factors. RegenTec’s scaffold technology is able to combine the all these key components into one environment which is optimal for tissue repair. In simple applications the cells, extracellular matrix and growth factors are provided by the patient’s own tissue neighbouring the repair site. In such applications, RegenTec’s scaffolds provide the 3D template within which the body’s own response can be orchestrated. In more challenging applications, stem cells, matrix and/or growth factors must be provided within the 3D template. The versatility of RegenTec’s scaffolds ensures compatibility with these requirements.