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Implantable bio-patches will grow bones where needed

Scientists from the University of Iowa have created a patch implant containing particles of synthetic DNA. It instructs the patient’s own cells to produce a protein that leads to bone growth. The invention will help people who do not have enough bone to install dental implants, who have congenital bone defects, and who have suffered as a result of various accidents.

The biopatch has a special internal structure containing synthetically created plasmids (DNA molecules) encoded by the PDGF-B growth factor gene. When neighboring cells enter the patch, the process of bone regeneration begins.


“When cells enter the biopatch, they encounter plasmids and receive instructions from them. After that, the cells begin to produce PDGF-B, which enhances bone regeneration.” says Professor Aliasger Salem.

In laboratory tests, biopatches were implanted into a 5 x 2 mm hole in the skull of a test animal. Four weeks later, the result was compared with experiments where patches without plasmids were used, or no action was taken at all: a biopatch with plasmids showed a tenfold more effective level of bone regeneration.

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