Science 2 min read

New Bandage Traps Biochemical to Heal Broken Bones

Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

University researchers developed a bandage that could help heal broken bones by trapping adenosine, an injury-healing biochemical produced by the body.

Scientists at Duke University have developed a new bandage that traps a biochemical to heal broken bones.

Broken bones or fractures are one of the most common orthopedic problems. According to reports, nearly 6.8 million people in the U.S. seek medical attention for fractures every year.

When a bone breaks, the body sends the biochemical, adenosine to the injury site to boost healing. Unfortunately, the body also quickly metabolizes this biochemical in the healing site, hence, ceasing the healing boost.

So, a team of scientists at Duke University, led by Prof. Shyni Varghese, decided to develop a method of trapping adenosine at the injury site. That way, it could heal the broken bone over a more extended period.

Varghese and his team created a prototype bandage that health professionals can apply surgically to a broken bone.

Trapping Adenosine to Heal Broken Bones

The new bandage incorporates boronate molecules. At the injury site, the boronate molecules bond with their adenosine counterpart. Then, the bond eventually weakens to produce adenosine.

Along with bone healing, low levels of adenosine perform various functions in the body.

Varghese noted:

“To avoid unwanted side effects, we had to find a way to keep the adenosine localized to the damaged tissue and at appropriate levels.”

In a lab test, the researchers treated broken bones in mice with the three types of bandages.

These include bandages that were designed to trap adenosine and those that already contained the biochemical. The third bandages neither contained nor could trap adenosine.

After three weeks, all the mice showed signs of healing. However, the mice that were treated with adenosine showed better bone formation. They also had a higher bone volume and better vascularization.

The medical application is obvious. For example, osteoporosis patients whose bodies don’t produce adenosine in response to a broken bone could use the primed bandage.

The researchers are currently looking to increase the bandage’s ability to retain adenosine. They also want to investigate the potential side effects of the biochemical further.

The bandages could be engineered to capture and hold on to adenosine more efficiently,” says Varghese. “And of course, we also have to find out whether these results hold in humans or could cause any side effects.

Read More: Tissue-Replicating Material Created to Study Bone Diseases

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Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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