Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Type Of Glass Can Dissolve And Release Calcium Into The Body

Date:
June 12, 2008
Source:
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Summary:
British scientists are developing a new type of glass that can dissolve and release calcium into the body. This will enable patients to regrow bones and could signal a move away from bone transplants.

Bone cells grown on bioactive glass
Credit: Imperial College

British scientists are developing a new type of glass that can dissolve and release calcium into the body. This will enable patients to regrow bones and could signal a move away from bone transplants.

The porous glass, originally developed at Imperial College is capable of acting as an active template for new bone growth, dissolving in the body without leaving any trace of itself or any toxic chemicals. As it dissolves it releases calcium and other elements such as silicon into the adjacent body fluids, stimulating bone growth.

The glass activates genes present in human bone cells which encode proteins controlling the bone cell cycle and the differentiation of the cell to form bone matrix and rapid mineralisation of bone nodules. It is the release of soluble silica and calcium ions in specific concentrations that activate the genes. Gene activation occurs only when the timing sequence of the cell cycle is matched by that of the glass surface reactions and controlled release of the ions.

Partners at the Universities of Kent and Warwick have been carrying out experiments at the Science and Technology Facilities Council's world leading ISIS neutron source. Research at ISIS is showing exactly how the calcium is held in the glass and thereby precisely how it is released into the body. Professor Bob Newport at the University of Kent explains that it was when the material was studied at ISIS that the process became clear.

"Although variants of these bioactive materials are already in clinical use, and the role of calcium in these materials was already understood as being critical in terms of both the stability of the glass and its bioactivity, no direct and quantitative study of the calcium atoms within the glass network had been undertaken. Using ISIS to study the relationship between these atoms and the host silicate glass via techniques unique to neutron diffraction has enabled us to move forward with the programme. The key outcome of our experiments has been a full understanding, at the level of atomic arrangements, of why it is that calcium is able so easily to leave the glass at the rate required to generate the desired response."

By comparing samples made with natural calcium and with a calcium isotope it was possible for the first time to isolate the complex and subtle contribution of the calcium from that of all the other atoms present. Dr Andrew Taylor, Director of the ISIS neutron source commented, "To allow people to remain active, and to contribute to society for longer, the need for new materials to replace and repair worn out and damaged tissues becomes ever more important. We're pleased that at ISIS we can continue to contribute to cutting edge research that affects all our lives."

Further research is planned at the ISIS Second Target Station when it opens later this year. This will investigate glass/polymer hybrids and could be instrumental in developing mechanically stronger versions of the glass that would be load bearing and available for medical use in the context of joint replacement. If the extensive research goes as expected, clinical trials could be in place in the next five years.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Science and Technology Facilities Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Science and Technology Facilities Council. "New Type Of Glass Can Dissolve And Release Calcium Into The Body." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605095623.htm>.
Science and Technology Facilities Council. (2008, June 12). New Type Of Glass Can Dissolve And Release Calcium Into The Body. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605095623.htm
Science and Technology Facilities Council. "New Type Of Glass Can Dissolve And Release Calcium Into The Body." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605095623.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
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