Silk Screws Offer Biodegradable Bone Repair

bones1On March 4, 2014, researchers Samuel Kaplan of Harvard and David Lin of Tufts University published the successful results of their experiments using silk screws in place of traditional metal screws for bone repair in rat femurs. The silk screws were developed by taking the cocoons of silk worms, dissolving them in alcohol, then pouring the solution into a screw-shaped mold. When placed into the body, the silk screws solved many of the issues that traditional screws have caused: they are strong enough that a surgeon would not have to drill a hole in the bone, the screws biodegrade over time, allowing for the bone to regain strength, they are not visible on x-rays which allow surgeons to see improvement in the bone without any impediments, and recipients of these screws would be able to easily cross through metal detectors.

Kaplan and Lin believe that the silk screws may one day be used to deliver medicine to fight infection and promote bone growth. Human trials will begin soon, in particular for facial reconstruction surgeries.

(Source: Geekosystem)

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