Research ArticleBIOMATERIALS

Hyperelastic “bone”: A highly versatile, growth factor–free, osteoregenerative, scalable, and surgically friendly biomaterial

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Science Translational Medicine  28 Sep 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 358, pp. 358ra127
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf7704

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Building better bones

What if we could create custom bone implants that would trigger their own replacement with real bone? Jakus and colleagues have done just this with a promising biomaterial that can be 3D-printed into many shapes and easily deployed in the operating room. Made mainly of hydroxyapatite and either polycaprolactone or poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid), this “hyperelastic bone” can be 3D-printed at up to 275 cm3/hour, the authors report. It also promoted bone growth in vitro, in mice and rats, and in a case study of skull repair in a rhesus macaque. Its effectiveness, fast, easy synthesis, and ease of use in surgery set it apart from many of the materials now available for bone repair.