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Scientists at Northwestern University have created molecules that self-assemble into a three-dimensional structure that mimics the key features of human bone at the nanoscale level. Their work appears in the November 23 issue of Science.
The molecules also mimic collagen nanofibers, which promote mineralization. When the synthetic nanofibers form, they make a gel that could be used as a gluelike substance in bone fractures or in creating a scaffold for other tissues to regenerate. Because of its chemical structure, the nanofiber gel would encourage attachment of natural bone cells, helping to patch fractures. The gel could also be used to improve implants or joint replacements.
Mitka M. Bone Repair Breakthrough?. JAMA. 2002;287(4):443. doi:10.1001/jama.287.4.443-JQU10013-3-1