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Bone breakthrough

08 Dec 1997

A new material could help bone fractures to heal faster.

One of the holy grails of medicine is the production of a compound that help speeds up the regeneration of bone. Toshiyuki Ohnishi and Nobuhiro Moriyama, have patented a material they claim can do so.

The bone inducing material comprising a piezoelectric porous membrane. It has been known for sometime that bone has piezoelectric properties, and various experimental and clinical attempts to increase bone production by electrically stimulating the bone have been published.

Dentists have developed a technique called guided tissue regeneration (GTR) as a means of artificially regenerating bone destroyed by disease. A semi-permeable membrane is used to promote the activation of cells, and to help new bone form on the existing bone tissue. However, in certain situations the bone takes a number of months to heal.

Patent 5684061 describes the results of intensive studies by the two researchers. They found, to their surprise, that when a porous piezoelectric membrane with pores of a certain size is used, bone can be rapidly regenerated. Indeed, the technique can even lead to increased production of bone beyond the area that was damaged in the first place.


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