Indian-origin scientists are designing unique clay scaffolds, which could help regenerate bones for people suffering damage due to injury, disease or age.

Dr. Kalpana Katti, Dr. Dinesh Katti and doctoral student Avinash Ambre from North Dakota State University, Fargo, have come up with a novel method that uses nano-sized clays to make scaffolds to mineralise bone minerals such as hydroxyapatite.

Whether damaged by injury, disease or age, your body can’t create new bone. Researchers are making strides in tissue engineering, designing scaffolds that may lead to ways to regenerate bone.

The research team’s 3-D mesh scaffold is comprised of degradable materials that are compatible to human tissue. Over time, the cells generate bone and the scaffold deteriorates.

The nanoclays enhance the mechanical properties of the scaffold by enabling scaffold to bear load while bone generates, researchers said.

An interesting finding shows that the nanoclays also impart useful biological properties to the scaffold.

“The bio-mineralised nanoclays also impart osteogenic or bone-forming abilities to the scaffold to enable birth of bone,” said Dr. Katti.

“Although it would have been exciting to say that this finding had a ‘Eureka moment,’ this discovery was a methodical exploration of simulations and modelling, indicating that amino acid modified nanoclays are viable new nanomaterials,” said Dr. Katti.

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