Researchers at Washington State University discover that natural remedies combined with biomedical devices prompt bone health and growth. In this case, 3D printed ceramic bone scaffolds were coated with curcumin, a compound of the spice turmeric.
A research team at Washington State University is bringing together natural remedies with modern biomedical devices to help people with bone diseases like osteoporosis.
In a unique discovery, the team were able to improve bone-growth on 3D printed ceramic bone scaffolds by as much as 45 percent when coated with curcumin, a compound found in the spice turmeric. They work has been published in the journal Materials Today Chemistry.
As people age, the human bone cell cycling process becomes less efficient. Bones become weaker and more likely to fracture. Many of the medicines used for osteoporosis work by slowing down or stopping the destruction of old bone or by forming new bone. But while they may increase bone density, they also create an imbalance in the natural bone remodeling cycle. This leads to the creation of poorer quality bone.
Turmeric has been used as medicine for centuries in Asian countries, and curcumin has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and bone-building capabilities. But when taken orally as medicine, the compound can’t be absorbed well in the body. It is metabolized and eliminated too quickly.
Led by Susmita Bose, Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, the researchers encased the curcumin within a “water-loving polymer” so that it could be gradually released from their ceramic scaffolds.
The curcumin increased the viability and proliferation of new bone cells and blood vessels in surrounding tissue. It also accelerated the healing process.
Bose hopes that the work will lead to medicines that naturally create healthier bone without affecting the bone remodeling cycle.
“In the end, it’s the bone quality that matters,” she said.
The researchers are continuing their studies, looking at the protein and cellular level to gain better understanding of exactly how the natural compound works. They are also working to improve the process’ efficiency and control. The challenge with the natural compounds, said Bose, is that they are often large organic molecules.
“You have to use the right vehicle for delivery,” she said. “We need to load and get it released in a controlled and sustained way. The chemistry of vehicle delivery is very important.”
In addition to curcumin, the researchers are studying other natural remedies. They’re investigating compounds from aloe vera, saffron, Vitamin D, garlic, oregano and ginger.
The focus is on compounds that might help with bone disorders, including those that encourage bone growth or that have anti-inflammatory, infection control, or anti-cancer properties.
Source: WSU Insider
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