February 21, 2013

Balsam for the Bones

Chemists at the UDE develop a nanopaste for the repair of bone defects

Following accidents or cancer surgery surgeons often have to transplant healthy bone tissue or synthetic material to repair the resulting bone defects. Unfortunately, these procedures do not always have the desired effect. Now Prof. Dr. Matthias Epple and his research team at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) have developed a nanoparticle paste which can be injected into the defect and results in improved healing. The trick: the researchers have combined synthetic calcium phosphate with DNA.

Now a professor for inorganic chemistry, Matthias Epple was attracted to the interface between biology and medical science. “We have been investigating the impact of mineral tissue such as teeth, bone and sea shells for many years and are now using the knowledge we have gained to produce new biomaterials.” To achieve this he has collaborated closely with medical scientists and his current project – carried out with three of his doctoral students – was no exception.