Natural treatment for bone diseases?

The world of pharmaceuticals is about to be revolutionized because of a dedicated team from WSU. A research team from the aforementioned school has entwined natural medical treatment with contemporary biomedical devices with hopes of bringing about better healthcare for people with bone diseases.

The team improved bone-growing capacity on 3D-printed, ceramic bone scaffolds by 30-45 percent when coated with curcumin, a compound found in turmeric. Their study has been published in the journal, Materials Today Chemistry.

The work could be important for the millions of Americans who suffer from injuries or bone diseases like osteoporosis.

Human bone includes bone forming and resorbing cells that constantly remodel throughout our lives. As we age, the bone cell cycling process doesn’t work as well.  Our bones become weaker and hence, likelier to fracture. Several of the medications used for osteoporosis work by inhibiting or prohibiting the destruction of old bone. Alternatively, they form new bone. While increasing bone density, they also create an imbalance in the natural bone remodeling cycle and may create poorer quality bone.

Turmeric has been used as medicine for centuries in Asian countries. Moreover, curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and bone-building properties. It also prevents various forms of cancer. However, when taken orally as medicine, the compound is unable to be absorbed well in the body. Consequently, it is metabolized and eliminated too quickly.

The project is led by Susmita Bose, Herman and Brita Lindholm Endowed Chair Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. The researchers encased the curcumin with a water-loving polymer; a large molecule. As a result, it could be gradually released from their ceramic scaffolds. The curcumin increased the viability and proliferation of new bone cells and blood vessels in surrounding tissue as well as accelerated the healing process.

The scope of said research remains to be seen. However, we are hopeful that this is the beginning of great things to come.


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