Building better artificial bones with fish scales


Photo by Ralph Keatings

The human bone is an amazing and complex tissue, able to regenerate and repair itself.

Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology are creating what may be the next generation foundation material for bone regeneration therapy using fish scales.  The new material show improvements over other artificial bone technologies:

Better: The researchers discovered fish scales have a similar structure to the thickest layer of the human cornea. Instead of fabricating complicated designs out of synthetic ceramics and alloys, the natural matrix of fish scales may offer a better alternative without the design challenges.

Stronger: Fish scales can be packed with high density, creating for a much stronger artificial bone.

Faster: Artificial bone is replaced by human bone tissue over time.  The collagen found in fish scales have been clinically proven to convert to human bone twice as fast as pig collagen derived from pig skin.  Faster conversion = faster recovery.

+Safer: When researchers work with pig collagen to develop artificial bones, there is a risk of viral transmission.  Allografts (bone tissue from cadaveric donors) may also transmit diseases, such as HIV (four documented cases). Fish scales do not pose these risk.

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[via DigInfo.TV]

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