Researchers have developed a novel method of inducing stem cell differentiation towards an osteoblast bone cell lineage. Inducing a bone graft to effectively immobilize a joint through bone formation requires that the graft engage in osteoinduction in order to create mature bone cells. This has typically been accomplished through the use of bone growth factors present in bone morphogenic proteins, demineralized bone matrix, and autograft and allograft bone. The present technology utilizes a newly-developed material that provides a better, cheaper, and more cost-effective alternative to these traditional techniques. Better bone grafting materials could significantly affect the cost and effectiveness of a wide range of common procedures.
Each year in the United States, approximately 300,000 patients suffer nonunions resulting from incomplete healing after fractures. The total cost, including surgery, doctor visits, quality of life and missed work, amounts to between $7 billion and $17 billion according to Medscape. Bone grafts are the current gold standard for treating nonunions, but problems such as donor scarcity, supply limitation, donor site morbidity, pathogen transfer, and immunte-mediated rejection limits its application for bone defects. A major challenge facing this field is the development of a bone graft substitute which is capable of promoting differentiation of endogenous stem cells down the osteoblastic lineage.
POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATION(S):
- Spinal Fusion
- Persistent Nonunions
- Osteogenesis (Bone Healing)