Researchers in the UK have developed a new class of “injectable bone” materials, which could be used in stem cell delivery.

The materials, developed at the University of Nottingham, can be injected as a low-viscosity fluid. Body heat triggers the materials to change from a fluid to a tough, porous material with mechanical properties that mimic human cancellous bone.

The conversion process is so gentle that the injectable bone can carry living stem cells and temperature-sensitive protein drugs into the body without affecting their viability or functionality.

The new class of materials can be altered to suit the mechanical requirements of different tissues within the body, and can deliver multiple cell types and drug types.

Kevin Shakesheff, head of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham, said that regenerative medicine holds huge promises for patients because it opens opportunities to heal tissues that would never repair spontaneously.

“A powerful concept in regenerative medicine is the use of a porous material that fills the space within the body and promotes blood vessel formation, stem cell engraftment, and ultimately the formation of functional tissue,” he said.

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By GlobalData