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Stanford scientists collaborate in development of skeletal repair system

STANFORD -- Four Stanford scientists have been involved in the development of a new skeletal repair system that is based on a mineral paste that is injected through the skin to repair broken wrists, arms, knees and other bones.

The scientists were acting as consultants to Norian Corp. of Cupertino, which developed the new process, described in the March 24 issue of the journal Science.

Chemistry Professor John Ross worked with Norian's chief inventor Brent Constantz and was a co-author on the paper. Assistant Professor Amy Ladd and Associate Professor Stuart Goodman at the School of Medicine's Department of Functional Restoration also were involved in developing and testing the new system, as was Dennis Carter, professor of mechanical engineering.

The key to the system is a mineral paste that hardens in minutes and completely sets up in about 24 hours. Animal research and a limited number of clinical trials in humans have shown that when it is injected into a break it holds the bone ends in proper alignment during healing. The Food and Drug Administration recently has approved large-scale human trials.

According to the Science paper, injecting the paste into the body does not appear to cause problems because it closely resembles natural bone material both chemically and structurally. In fact, the resemblance is so strong that the enzymes that continually remodel bones in high-stress areas cannot tell the difference, and the paste gradually is incorporated into the bone itself.



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