New biomaterial regrows blood vessels and bone, RCSI researc
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Scientists have developed a new biomaterial that regrows blood vessels and bone, potentially providing a single-stage approach when repairing large bone defects. The study is published in the Journal of Controlled Release.

Previous RCSI-led research had found that activating a mechanosensitive gene, called placental growth factor (PGF), at different doses promoted bone regeneration and grew new blood vessels. Using this knowledge, the researchers developed a biomaterial that delivers PGF at different concentrations.

Inspired by the natural way in which bone defects regenerate, the biomaterial first releases a high dose of PGF, promoting blood vessel growth, and follows it with a more sustained lower dose, which promotes bone regeneration. When tested in a pre-clinical model, the biomaterial successfully repaired large bone defects while also regrowing blood vessels.

Current biomaterials that promote both blood vessel and bone growth typically require using more than one therapeutic drug, which means designing a more complex system that faces more challenges. Furthermore, drugs that have been approved for use in the clinic have been controversially associated with dangerous side effects, highlighting the need for new strategies.

"More testing is needed before we can begin clinical trials, but if proven successful, this biomaterial could benefit patients when repairing bone defects by providing an alternative to current systems," said the study's principal investigator.