Scientists at the National Research Center “Kurchatov Institute” have created a material capable of stimulating the growth of bone tissue and thereby accelerating the healing of damaged bones. Its basis is a porous sponge made of chitosan, a substance that is obtained from the shells or other organs of crustaceans.
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Scientists added tricalcium phosphate to it. It is the mineral from which bone cells are formed. Also, the composition of the composite included reduced graphene oxide, a compound that conducts electricity well, the use of which allows accelerating osteosynthesis with the help of weak current.
Composite implants are used in regenerative medicine as a cell scaffold for complex bone tissue injuries. The composite, created by scientists at the Kurchatov Institute, is designed to restore the spongy parts of the bone, which are located at its ends.
In the event of an injury, the damaged part is removed and a composite is placed in its place. The application of the material allows the body to continue to function as it did before the injury.
For the composite to be effective, its mechanical properties should be as similar as possible to the original tissue. Experts have achieved this by experimenting with different concentrations of constituent substances.
To obtain the material, chitosan was dissolved in an aqueous solution of acetic acid, and then reduced graphene oxide and tricalcium phosphate were included in it. The resulting substance was frozen and the solvent was removed from it, after which a porous structure was formed. At the same time, the thinnest sheets of graphene oxide were layered on top of each other in such a way as to make it possible to conduct electricity with a small amount of this filler (it is important to minimize its volume so that the resulting material does not lose the desired properties imparted by chitosan).