Soon, a bone ailment will not require a series of complex surgical procedures where bone from another body part is harvested.
After a six-year ongoing study, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IITB) has developed a synthetic bone implant that can regenerate cells in the affected area to form new bone, which heals faster.
Combining disciplines of material science and biology, trials using the graft have been conducted on rabbits.
Four-week trials on the animals showed that while the control group showed an improvement in performance in four weeks, the treatment group showed improvement in two weeks for the same level of performance.
The team will now conduct 120-day animal trials; ethical clearance for which is expected to come through within a month.
Following this, the process to conduct human trials will start. The team has applied for a patent.
Though applicable to all bones, their work has special focus on the jaw, skull, hands and legs.
"In case of a facial fracture or oral cancer where the tumour has been removed, we harvest the bone from the rib, hip joint or leg bone or source tissues from the bone bank. But, it causes a lot of trauma for the patient with chances of disease transmission," said Dr Vivek Soni, maxillofacial surgeon and dean of Dr DY Patil Dental College.
"So, this synthetic graft with such a worldwide application will be very welcome."