A cheap and easy to make synthetic bone material has been shown to stimulate new bone growth when implanted in the spines of rats and a monkey's skull, researchers said.
Human trials using the biomaterial, called Hyper-Elastic Bone (HB), could begin in the next five years, according to the research team from Northwestern University.
"We knew this material had great mechanical properties and it was very easy and rapid to 3-D print," said study author Adam Jakus, a researcher at Northwestern University, during a conference call with reporters.
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"Its biological effects in the outcomes we observed directly were quite astounding."
The material is "made mostly of a ceramic, which contains mineral found in teeth and bones, and polymer, both of which are used in the clinic," said the study in Science Translational Medicine.
Unlike bone grafts, which are more costly, more brittle and risk being rejected in the patient's body, the biomaterial could be printed into many shapes and cut, folded, and sutured to fit on demand, according to the report.
"When implanted into experimental animals, HB quickly integrated with the surrounding tissue, regenerating bone to promote spinal fusion in rats," said the study.
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