Orthopedic scaffolds made from electrospun nanofibers help bones heal

Researchers from the University of Helsinki have developed a technique to make orthopedic scaffolds using nanofibers and thin-film biomaterials to help bones regrow and implants settle into the body.

The team of chemists used electrospun hydoxyapatite to make the nanofibers. Hydroxyapatite is a naturally occurring mineral form of calcium apatite, found in bones and teeth.

The biodegradable materials would eventually exit the body, eliminating the need for a separate procedure to explant the scaffold.

Electrospun nanofibers made of hydroxyapatite are interesting materials for bone scaffolds, the team argued, because of the high surface area and structural similarity to the fibrous nanostructure found in bone. The authors point out that conventional electrospinning as a manufacturing technique is limited by its modest production rate.

In an effort to consider alternative preparation techniques, the chemists also studied solution blow spinning and electroblowing of the hydroxyapatite to create the biocompatible scaffolds.

“Promising results were obtained in cell culture studies with the different materials,” the team wrote. “The electrospun materials could find use in fibrous bone scaffolds. The HA fibers were found out to be very interesting from a biological standpoint, but the fragility of the fibers limits their usability as such and therefore methods to incorporate bioceramic fibers into more rigid support structures should be developed.”


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