Dipyridamole Coated 3D Printed Implants Grow Bone
Patients who are missing some bone due to injury or disease have a number of options for treatment. One is a bone graft to replace their missing bone. Another is an autograft, which is using material that comes from the patient’s own body to form a replacement. And the third is an allograft, which is making use of material that comes from a donor.
Researchers at New York University are working on another option—3D printed ceramic implants that will dissolve slowly within the body while at the same time stimulating bone to grow in their place. 3D printing allows scientists to create implants that precisely fit the defects with which they are faced. The implant may also be coated with chemicals that will promote bone growth.
According to the NYU researchers, their ceramic 3D-printed implants closely resemble the shape and composition of real bone. The raw material is beta tricalcium phosphate—a well-known and common bone grafting material which can safely resorb over time. But, and here’s the key difference, the implant is coated with dipyridamole, a blood thinning agent that stimulates bone growth and attracts bone cells to the implant.
“Dipyridamole has proven to be key to the implant’s success,” said study co-investigator Bruce N. Cronstein, M.D., the Dr. Paul R. Esserman Professor of Medicine at NYU School of Medicine, who also serves as the director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and chief of the Division of Translational Medicine at NYU Langone Health.
Cronstein perfected the drug’s use during device testing. “And because the implant is gradually resorbed, the drug is released a little at a time and locally into the bone, not into the whole body, thereby minimizing risks of abnormal bone growth, bleeding, or other side effects.”
The research is published in a paper entitled “Form and Functional Repair of Long Bone Using 3D Printed Bioactive Scaffolds,” in the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. According to the researchers, the animals on whom they tested the 3D bone were able to absorb the implants into their natural bone, healing defects.
“Our three-dimensional scaffold represents the best implant in development because of its ability to regenerate real bone,” said study senior investigator and biomedical engineer Paulo G. Coelho, D.D.S., Ph.D., the Dr. Leonard I. Linkow Professor at NYU Dentistry and a professor of plastic surgery at NYU School of Medicine. “Our latest study results move us closer to clinical trials and potential bone implants for children living with skull deformations since birth, as well as for veterans seeking to repair damaged limbs.”