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Plant Cellulose May Soon Be Used To Create Bone Implants

Scientists have used plant cellulose to develop a strong, lightweight sponge that could be used as bone implants of the future.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia and McMaster University in Canada have developed an airy, foam-like substance that can be injected into the body and provide scaffolding for the growth of new bone.

It is made by treating nanocrystals derived from plant cellulose so that they link up and form an aerogel that can compress or expand to completely fill out a bone cavity.

“Most bone implants are made of hard, brittle ceramic that doesn’t always conform to the shape of the hole,” said Daniel Osorio, a Ph.D. student at McMaster.

Researchers worked with two groups of rats, with the first group receiving the aerogel implants and the second group receiving none. Results showed the group with implants saw 33% more bone growth at the three-week mark and 50%more bone growth at the 12-week mark, compared to the controls.
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