Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Engineers Developing New Cements To Heal Spinal Fractures

Date:
October 30, 2007
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
New research could offer hope for victims of the most devastating spinal injuries - typically those caused in car crashes. Bone cements, similar to those used in joint replacement surgery, are already being used to strengthen damaged vertebrae of patients with diseases such as osteoporosis, in a procedure known as vertebroplasty, but 'burst fractures' to the spine, injuries often sustained in major impact accidents and falls, are much more difficult to treat.

Engineer Dr. Ruth Wilcox, University of Leeds.
Credit: Simon & Simon photography

New research could offer hope for victims of the most devastating spinal injuries - typically those caused in car crashes.

Biological cements to repair 'burst fractures' of the spine are being developed and tested in a major new collaborative project between the University of Leeds and Queen's University Belfast. The team will be working to develop and examine the effects of novel cement materials for the treatment of burst fractures.

Bone cements, similar to those used in joint replacement surgery, are already being used to strengthen damaged vertebrae of patients with diseases such as osteoporosis, in a procedure known as vertebroplasty, but 'burst fractures' to the spine, injuries often sustained in major impact accidents and falls, are much more difficult to treat. They account for over 1,000 emergency NHS admissions each year and often require highly complex, invasive surgery and a long stay in hospital.

"This type of fracture causes the vertebra to burst apart and in severe cases fragments of bone can be pushed into the spinal cord," says Dr Ruth Wilcox of Leeds' Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. "Surgeons may be able to join bone fragments together and stabilize the spine with the use of metal screws and rods, but patients with these injuries are often in a really bad way, so the less invasive the treatment, the better."

The project team at Queen's has expertise in developing and testing synthetic biomaterials for the repair of bone defects. "These materials can be delivered to the fracture site by injection and mimic the chemical composition of bone itself," says Dr Fraser Buchanan, from the University's School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

At Leeds the team has expertise in computational modelling of the spine and will be able to provide Queen's with data to assist in the development of novel biomaterials and to simulate how they will perform in patients.

Statistically, burst fractures are seen more in younger people, and not enough is currently known about the long term consequences of using existing cements for the treatment of this type of injury. There is evidence to show that some patients with osteoporosis, who tend to be older, can develop fractures in the vertebrae adjacent to those treated with vertebroplasty.

"We think this may be because current cements are stiffer than the bone itself causing an imbalance in the way the spine bears weight. This may increase loading on the neighbouring vertebrae, which can lead to further damage" says Dr Wilcox.

"Clearly we need to develop biomaterials that more closely match the properties of real bone. This project offers the perfect opportunity to use the range of complimentary skills of this grouping to predict the effects of newly developed cements and even incorporate biological agents to assist the body's own healing process," added Dr Buchanan.

To be able to use bone cements for burst fractures would be a major leap forward. It would be simpler, quicker and much less invasive for the patient, reducing both recovery times and NHS costs.

Funding is being provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leeds. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "Engineers Developing New Cements To Heal Spinal Fractures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071029081517.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2007, October 30). Engineers Developing New Cements To Heal Spinal Fractures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071029081517.htm
University of Leeds. "Engineers Developing New Cements To Heal Spinal Fractures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071029081517.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins