Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University, US and Mahidol University, Thailand have developed a patent-pending, 3D technology. It produces tiny bio-bricks whose structures are inspired by LEGO, the famous bricks that kids use to play with. But how can they help in repairing bone fractures and body structures?
Crux of the Matter
Small Bricks, Big Usage?
Each 3D brick is 1.5 mm3. When put together, these hollow blocks can be filled with small amounts of gel which helps in tissue regeneration in the human body.
They are inspired by Lego blocks and can be stacked together to repair broken bones and soft tissues. Tissues are made of a group of cells, which can renew and grow more quickly with these blocks, than current standard methods.
What Tests Resulted In These Findings?
Lab tests were performed on rats with bone fractures, and it was found that the 3D blocks placed near repaired rat bones led to about three times more blood vessel growth than conventional material. Thus, the right type of cells were stimulated to grow in the right place, at the right time.
So How Are The Lego Structures Formed?
Each regenerative 3D structure is made of 4 layers of 4 bricks by 4 bricks. This can be assembled to fit into almost any space using a scaffolding, which are materials that have been engineered to cause desirable cellular interactions for tissue growth in our body.
As per one of the team scientists, Luiz Bertassoni, this scaffolding is easy to use without the need for specialized equipment. This is because it can be stacked together and placed in more than 29,000 different configurations to match the complexity and size of any medical situation.
What Is Bio-scaffolding ?
Bio-scaffolding is the utilisation of biocompatible and re-absorbable materials that can be broken down and absorbed in our body.
It aims to construct a 3D structure that has the ability to be used in implantation of damaged body tissues, in order to promote their regeneration and help in subsequent injury recovery.
What Potential Do They Hold?
The team believes that this technology has the potential to heal bones that need to be cut for cancer treatment and for spinal fusion procedures.
Moreover it can build weakened jawbones before a dental implant too. Infact with significant efforts put in further research, it can also be used in organ transplantation.
- Wilhelm Röntgen was a German mechanical engineer and physicist, who produced and detected electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range known as X-rays or Röntgen rays. This achievement earned him the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.
- A malunion is when a fractured bone doesn’t heal properly. Some ways that it shows is by having the bone being twisted, shorter, or bent. Malunions can occur by having the bones improperly aligned when immobilized, having the cast taken off too early, or never seeking medical treatment after the break.
- Ole Kirk Christiansen was a Danish carpenter. In 1932, Christiansen founded the Danish construction toy company The Lego Group.