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Russian scientists use biodegradable polymer and stem cells to heal lab rat’s skull

March 10, 2017, 14:55 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The technology used by the researchers is not unique, but the created polymer is superior to any analogous biopolymer materials

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© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

MOSCOW, March 10. /TASS/ Biotech gurus from the Siberian Federal University (SFU) have constructed and studied biological systems from the biodegradable polymers in conjunction with stem cells. The implant from polymer and cells has been successfully applied for healing a hole in the skull of a lab rat, the SFU’s press office reported. The article with the study’s results was published recently in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part A.

"Combined with osteoblast cells, the implants which we developed ensured the complete closure of the skull’s defect in 120 days," Anna Shumilova, PhD biologist and one of the study’s coauthors said.

According to the scientists, the problem of restoring skull bones after accidents is especially critical. Due to its peculiarities of development and structure, the flat bones of the skull regenerate very ineffectively with the whole procedure taking months and even years. Additionally, the bone tissue on the damaged spot can sometimes not build up at all and be replaced by conjunctive tissues which can refill the defect quite fast. However, the conjunctive tissue is less stable than bone and this poses risks of new traumas.

To cure the lab rat with a hole in his skull, an implant made from biodegradable polymer and stem cells acting as an erecting scaffolding was used. The implant closed the gap while the stem cells formed new bone tissue cells. The defect was completely closed with the new bone tissues after 120 days followed by full degradation of the biodegradable polymer after 20 months. Only newly constructed bone tissue remained on the surgically-operated spot.

The technology used by SFU researchers is not unique but the created polymer is superior to the analogous biopolymer materials. The researchers said that in other studies, the task of full recovery in flat bone defects has not been accomplished.

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