US scientists’ adenosine-harvesting bandage offers healing “boost” to broken bones

December 17, 2019

In a typical bone fracture or break, the body produces adenosine to provide internal healing, but the substance is metabolised by the body just as quickly. As such, scientists at North Carolina’s Duke University (Duke) designed a prototype bandage to absorb and retain adenosine at the injury site, to prolong its healing duty.

Duke’s Professor Shyni Varghese said that adenosine has many important functions in the body unrelated to bone healing, so the scientists had to “keep the adenosine localised to the damaged tissue and at appropriate levels.”

The scientists thus devised a new bandage with boronate molecules that would form bonds with adenosine molecules present at the injury site; the adenosine could be slowly released in-situ as the bonds gradually weaken. Lab tests in mice showed that broken bones treated with bandages already “primed” with adenosine had better bone formation, higher bone volume and better vascularisation.

The primed bandages could therefore be particularly useful for osteoporosis patients and the elderly, whose bodies don’t adequately produce adenosine in response to frequent bone injuries. The scientists hope to use this idea to create an easy-to-use, biodegradable product.


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