New Medical Gel Helps Regrow Bones

New Medical Gel Helps Regrow Bones

Medi-gel is now an actual thing that exists.

Scientists over at the Rice University in Texas have managed to create the closest thing to medi-gel we'll probably see in real life. The new medical gel kickstarts bone regeneration using a patient's stem cells, but it also dictates where that growth occurs by forming a scaffold that degrades only when tissue takes its place.

As anyone who has ever worn a cast will tell you, setting bones to make sure they grow properly has historically been an arduous and delicate process. With the new gel, doctors effectively just have to fill an area with the gel and wait for nature to do the rest. It should make the process a whole lot easier - so don't be surprised if you find traditional plaster casts going the way of the dinosaur in the near future.

The technique should initially be useful for repairing skull damage, but it's likely to be handy for both less vital operations and cosmetic surgery, for example, plastic surgeons would be able to use the gel to reshape a patient's cheekbones.

Certainly some pretty crazy stuff that is quickly bridging that gap between science-fiction and reality.

Source: Engadget

Permalink

Woah, that's a biggie...the future begins here!

Well, technically it always has, but shut up!

Let's see what the 21st century has so far...
Drones delivering pizza, jetpacks, 3D printing, powerful computers that fit in your pocket and allow you to communicate with anyone on the planet that has a similar device, possibly hexagon pattern solar panel roads and now gel that can regrow bones. (Also, wasn't there some other article about something medigel like thing some time ago?)

All we need now is some way to travel through the universe with ease and we might as well drop the science from science fiction and just call it fiction.

Not long now until gray goo...

This kind of things exists pretty much since... 1889 (give or take a few years) when senn reported the use of demineralized bone. Powder, paste or gel. So yea. Nice one?

I wonder how this is applied. Injected? They just say in a 'minimally invasive fashion' but that can mean a number of things. I think they say injection but I wonder how you inject a gel like that properly. Then again, I'm not much at home in the field of medicine. And how much would it speed up recovery time?

It's a very curious development in any case, but I have a hunch that it isn't the stuff we might think it is. From what I get it's basically a temporary placeholder between broken bones over which regular bone can grow, replacing the gel. I don't see that replacing casts, but maybe making it less painful and delicate. Injecting it into the bone defect doesn't sound pleasant though.

iseko:
This kind of things exists pretty much since... 1889 (give or take a few years) when senn reported the use of demineralized bone. Powder, paste or gel. So yea. Nice one?

Except that this uses stem cells, not exactly a thing used in the late 19th century.

Cowabungaa:
I wonder how this is applied. Injected? They just say in a 'minimally invasive fashion' but that can mean a number of things. I think they say injection but I wonder how you inject a gel like that properly. Then again, I'm not much at home in the field of medicine. And how much would it speed up recovery time?

It's a very curious development in any case, but I have a hunch that it isn't the stuff we might think it is. From what I get it's basically a temporary placeholder between broken bones over which regular bone can grow, replacing the gel. I don't see that replacing casts, but maybe making it less painful and delicate. Injecting it into the bone defect doesn't sound pleasant though.

iseko:
This kind of things exists pretty much since... 1889 (give or take a few years) when senn reported the use of demineralized bone. Powder, paste or gel. So yea. Nice one?

Except that this uses stem cells, not exactly a thing used in the late 19th century.

Fair enough. But either you lure mesenchymal stem cells (MSC's) to the target area with growth factors (aka bmp's). Which is pretty much what senn did . or you harvest msc's from a patient. Then implant them in the gel and add growth factors. You then implement that gel in the patient. Which is pretty much what they did. With the gel having the downside of being a gelatin matrix and not collagen. Ps: adding recombinant growth factors is going to give cancer so you need real human growth factors. And you need to make the gel on a need to use basis. DBM matrix you can just put on a shelf. So I don't see much improvement except maybe for very old people. But certainly not for everyone below 65ish.

Originality:
Not long now until gray goo...

This is nothing like grey goo though. You might as well say that when they figured out that rigid expanding foam or whatever.

Rex Dark:
Let's see what the 21st century has so far...
Drones delivering pizza, jetpacks, 3D printing, powerful computers that fit in your pocket and allow you to communicate with anyone on the planet that has a similar device, possibly hexagon pattern solar panel roads and now gel that can regrow bones. (Also, wasn't there some other article about something medigel like thing some time ago?)

This and other websites always have had lots of articles like this, ones that claim some medicine or technology is "just on the horizon!" and will "make _____ go the way of the dinosaur!" very soon. Then a few years later it turns out that either it isn't going to work the way they claimed it would and/or that there has been little to no progress made at all, and that's if it's lucky and actually is heard of again.

Quickly! Spooge into the wound!

It helps the bones grow.

(Im sure someone will do this.....if not allready)

So Mass Effect was right! Go Medi-gel!

I'm pretty sure this is the second time this site has run a "medi-gel is now real" article.

I mean, they were both legit (the last one was for cuts, this one is for bones), but I find that really funny.

The future is gonna be awesome!
We've got Tricorders, Soylent food replacement, Speed healing, Halo style medi-foam! Things that seemed like sci-fi two decades ago, like tablets, the internet, 3D graphics that are approaching the uncanny valley, computers beating humans at Go, Chess, etc. are all things we take for granted now! I can't wait to see what things are like in 10 years!

They have to contact Bioware and get permission to call it Medi-Gel. They absolutely must.

Now we just need someone to make a handheld device that uses sonic waves to perform a variety of tasks, get working on warp based means of transport, and figure out a way to create a laser that only extends so far and can be held in the hand and we'll be set.

iseko:

Fair enough. But either you lure mesenchymal stem cells (MSC's) to the target area with growth factors (aka bmp's). Which is pretty much what senn did . or you harvest msc's from a patient. Then implant them in the gel and add growth factors. You then implement that gel in the patient. Which is pretty much what they did. With the gel having the downside of being a gelatin matrix and not collagen. Ps: adding recombinant growth factors is going to give cancer so you need real human growth factors. And you need to make the gel on a need to use basis. DBM matrix you can just put on a shelf. So I don't see much improvement except maybe for very old people. But certainly not for everyone below 65ish.

Well from what I got from the original article as well the gel also connects broken bones with a semi-flexible scaffold which I would think, as a layman, means that there's greater stability and would allow for, say, lighter casts (perhaps, for instance, this new 3D printed design) and thus an easier, more comfortable healing process. I definitely wouldn't say no to that, even if I'm below 65.

Cowabungaa:
Well from what I got from the original article as well the gel also connects broken bones with a semi-flexible scaffold which I would think, as a layman, means that there's greater stability and would allow for, say, lighter casts (perhaps, for instance, this new 3D printed design) and thus an easier, more comfortable healing process. I definitely wouldn't say no to that, even if I'm below 65.

Ok so I've found the original paper of this study. All they did was make a biodegradable hydrogel that doesn't contract and expel fluid. While this is a nice thing (really nice in fact) they are kind of exaggerating things. I wish I could link the article but you need special credentials to access it (like a company or university proxy or something). Or you can cough up 80 bucks... Anyways I'm copying the abstract:

So basically what you have now is something that is osteoconductive (at best). Meaning it is a matrix that can support cells and in which new tissue can grow. It is biodegradable and thusly will be replaced in the future. There is a possibility of encapsulating cells into this gel but then they would just die because a lack of oxygen and nutrients. So that is maybe something to work on in the future. It is not osteoinductive in any way. Meaning it will not attract stem cells or give those stem cells any incentive whatsoever to become osteoblasts (i.e. bone cells). That last part might not be 100% correct. They infuse the gel with osteoinductive medium. Which is kind of odd since they don't test osteodifferentiation. And that process takes about 14-28 days (-ish) and the medium would be depleted after 4 tops. Then again, it might just get the ball rolling. Who knows. So far it hasn't been tested.

Another problem being that bone is supposed to be a supporting organ. Using it for skull injuries sounds about right. But like using it to heal a clean break in your leg? No F'ing way. Not going to work. You need something stronger and you are still going to have to fixate the bones with pins. A cast like you show is more for hairline fractures. You don't need a gel to heal that.

If you just use google scholar and search for "gel scaffold 3D" you are going to find a fuckton of literature on this type of research for all kinds of organs. Same shit everytime: oxygen and nutrient supply is a problem.

This type of therapy might find a very small niche in a very big problem. And it would still need a lot of research. It's a cool thing but don't expect them to fix your bones with gel in the future. I stand by what I said: much better alternatives. Still, I encourage everyone to think about these kind of things. I do it as well about stuff I know fuck all about. And in the case of biology I'm wrong a lot as well so don't take my word for it :). Look it up if you're intrested

So humanity just invented the gel form of skelegrow? That's amazing. Now for the potions that make me magic.

Next step kulto, then Bacta.

How do they harvest the stem cells?

Aren't we on our way to nerve regeneration combine that with regrowing bone and spinal injuries will be greatly treatable. Curable even.

immortalfrieza:

This and other websites always have had lots of articles like this, ones that claim some medicine or technology is "just on the horizon!" and will "make _____ go the way of the dinosaur!" very soon. Then a few years later it turns out that either it isn't going to work the way they claimed it would and/or that there has been little to no progress made at all, and that's if it's lucky and actually is heard of again.

technology progresses slowly. such is the nature of rigid testing before being able to apply to humans. and even 10 years later when you can finally legally apply it to humans it will take you another 15 to make the hospitals start using it regullary. we get reports about something they just discovered/invented, it may turn out usable, it may not, very rarely we get report where these tests have been already done, let alone where public use starts going. There are things that have faster lifecycle, such as computer tech usually gets widely used 1-2 years after its inception, but those are rare cases and most technology actually take decades to reach mainstream use and become "the norm".
"The future is now" is never correct, because the future is always couple decades away.

P.S. remmeber that fussion reactors by 2015 article. im still waiting on a followup.

Strazdas:

immortalfrieza:

This and other websites always have had lots of articles like this, ones that claim some medicine or technology is "just on the horizon!" and will "make _____ go the way of the dinosaur!" very soon. Then a few years later it turns out that either it isn't going to work the way they claimed it would and/or that there has been little to no progress made at all, and that's if it's lucky and actually is heard of again.

technology progresses slowly. such is the nature of rigid testing before being able to apply to humans. and even 10 years later when you can finally legally apply it to humans it will take you another 15 to make the hospitals start using it regullary. we get reports about something they just discovered/invented, it may turn out usable, it may not, very rarely we get report where these tests have been already done, let alone where public use starts going. There are things that have faster lifecycle, such as computer tech usually gets widely used 1-2 years after its inception, but those are rare cases and most technology actually take decades to reach mainstream use and become "the norm".
"The future is now" is never correct, because the future is always couple decades away.

P.S. remmeber that fussion reactors by 2015 article. im still waiting on a followup.

True. Personally I think they shouldn't announce stuff like this until they've already gone through the testing process and have been proven viable first.

Next thing you know, scientists have created a med-gel that regrows brain cells within the brain.

I know it sounds impossible, but with the technology that we have now... I wouldn't be to surprised.
Seeing how Mass Effect had somehow predicted this- is beyond me. I mean, even the color/texture/form .. everything about this gel looks exactly like med-gel from the game lol.

immortalfrieza:

True. Personally I think they shouldn't announce stuff like this until they've already gone through the testing process and have been proven viable first.

I would agree, but i think that drumming interest in science form public is important because thats basically the only way to get proper funding now.

Caramel Frappe:
Next thing you know, scientists have created a med-gel that regrows brain cells within the brain.

I know it sounds impossible, but with the technology that we have now... I wouldn't be to surprised.
Seeing how Mass Effect had somehow predicted this- is beyond me. I mean, even the color/texture/form .. everything about this gel looks exactly like med-gel from the game lol.

brain cells themselves - perhaps. the neuron connections - not likely at all. our brain rewrites our neuron connections all the time. in fact each time we remmeber something we delete and rewrite that memory anew. ironically, things we remember about constantly actually get further from reality due to our memory changing all the time thna those we have forgotten and thne suddenly remmeber. the brain is.... very complicated.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here