Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Strides with Strontium

Antibacterial and bone growth stimulating effects of strontium scaffolds for bone healing

31 May 2021

Strides with Strontium

If you’re lucky, you'll never break a bone. However, for people with osteoporosis, the chances are slimmer and repairing fractures can be more complicated, requiring bone grafts. Scaffolds made of bioactive glass have been used in grafts to improve bone repair. Researchers investigate how to boost this effect by treating the glass scaffolds with metal ions, which change how the scaffolds interact with the body. The team compared untreated scaffolds to scaffolds treated with strontium ions (pictured using scanning electron microscopy) – strontium is currently used to treat osteoporosis. Both scaffolds were powdered and added to dishes where E.coli or Staphylococcus aureus bacteria were grown to test their antibacterial effects. Both prevented E.coli growth but only strontium-treated scaffolds reduced S.aureus growth. Next, scaffolds were inserted into rabbits with bone defects. The strontium-treated scaffolds stimulated more bone growth and consequently hold promise for improving fracture healing in osteoporosis patients.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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