Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Bone Scaffold -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Bone Scaffold

TRANSCRIPT

Comments

Bone is the second most transplanted tissue in the world, second only to blood. While our bones
have the ability to heal a simple fracture, large areas of damage require replacement material to
heal. But donor bone, or bone taken from elsewhere in the patient's body, have drawbacks. Dr
Maryanne Demasi meets a team of bio-engineers at the University of Sydney that has been working on
the "holy grail" for orthopaedic replacements - synthetic bone scaffold.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

Did you know that the second most commonly transplanted tissue after blood is bone?

Dr Julian Yu

Bone transplants, or bone grafting is an important and common procedure that we, we use to assist
with bone healing.

Assoc Prof Hala Zreiqat

Lots of people have problems with their bones, and that could be due to disease, injury as it would
occur from an accident, or bone defects we are born with.

NARRATION

Minor damage to bone like a fracture will usually heal on its own. But a large defect needs a bit
of help.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

So Julian, this looks like a pretty big break in this bone here?

Dr Julian Yu

Yeah, it is. This is an example of a, quite a nasty tibial fracture. You can see it's in a few
pieces, and that there is a lot of gaps in between the bones. This is the type of fracture that
would benefit from bone grafting.

NARRATION

Substitute bone can be taken from another part of the patient's own body, or transplanted from a
donor.

Dr Julian Yu

There are risks associated with transplantation, such as immune reactions. And although very, very
small, there is a risk of disease transmission with, with donor bone.

NARRATION

Another option is artificial bone. But replicating the properties of living bone tissue is very
tricky.

Assoc Prof Hala Zreiqat

Bone structure is quite porous, so we're trying to develop a material that has the same structure
as in your hip and spine. That is very porous, like spongy material. But at the same time, we need
to create material that is mechanically strong, that can withstand loads and pressures.

NARRATION

Hala's team has developed a material that acts as a structure for new living bone cells to grow
through.

Assoc Prof Hala Zreiqat

We just take calcium silicate, we incorporate the trace elements that we know are important in bone
formation. We mix it together in a slurry, we then cut a template from a foam. We cut it to the
shape and the size that the patients require, we dip that piece of foam in that slurry, then we
fire it up at twelve-hundred degrees in a furnace, so that we melt away that polymer. What we are
left with is the actual structure of the material that we want to implant in the body.

NARRATION

The result is an artificial bone scaffold that encourages natural bone to re-grow.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

Not only have they made it porous and strong, they can mould it into any shape you need.

NARRATION

This new material has already been used in animals, with amazing results.

Assoc Prof Hala Zreiqat

When we compare it with the materials we've developed, we have seen very nice bone formation and
healing of the two sides of the defects, which is remarkable.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

That's incredible. How long did it take for that bone to heal over?

Assoc Prof Hala Zreiqat

It started at four weeks, much better at eight weeks, and this is at three months.

Dr Julian Yu

So the new data's very encouraging. It shows more bone healing evident on the x-rays than, than
other types of synthetic bone grafts that we've used in the past.

NARRATION

It's hoped that within two years, this new material will revolutionise the way we repair broken
bones.