All-American Bone Repair
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"Over 0.5 million patients suffer delayed or non-union bone fractures every year, which do not heal naturally. These fractures are caused by developmental deformities such as cleft palate, tumor resections such as for oral cancer, and traumatic injuries. The current standard treatment is the autograft, where bone is harvested from a different site in the patient’s body, usually in the hip, and shaped by the surgeon to fill the defect. Complications with this method have prompted investigations into the use of synthetic implantable scaffolds, in order to enhance the body’s natural response to injury. This medium-magnification light microscope image is from a histology slide of bone (stained red) interfacing with an experimental synthetic implant made of hydroxyapatite (white with bone (red) inside its pores), which is a mineral component mimicking natural bone. These implanted scaffolds were inserted into the jawbone of a pig for 48 weeks. Several signs of normal bone physiology are present, including osteons (darker red circles) and resorption cavities (filled with blue cells). These red, white, and blue colors indicate excellent integration of implant with surrounding bone, implying candidacy for future clinical trials using this implantable scaffold for bone repair."