Two CSU professors develop the future in bone implants

A new bone coating developed by two CSU professors will provide a future for cancer and trauma patients.

Matt Kipper, an assistant professor in chemical and biological engineering at CSU, received a three-year $300,000 grant from the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation in January for his work on the project.

A dead piece of bone using adult stem cells derived from bone marrow, nanostructured material helps to grow healthy cells in place of the dead ones on existing bone implants.

“My role is to help. I do hands-on work by coating the bone and different materials and then observe the new growth of cells,” said Rai Romaro, a graduate research assistant. “This process is structured to grow new cells onto the bone.”

Dr. Nicole Ehrhart, a researcher in the Animal Cancer Center and surgical oncologist, began work with Dr.Kipper over a year ago. Working together, Kipper and Ehrhart test the coating  process on small animals using bone allografts for limb preservation.

Donated through tissue bands and used to replace large segments of missing bone, allografts are bones following a massive limb trauma or tumor surgery.

“We are studying how nanostructured surface coating that we have developed in my lab can influence the behavior of certain types of cells for healing in skeletal and will translate these tissues to bones,” Kipper said.

“These types of implants have a high incidence of failure, related to healing where that implant was put in. Sometimes failures occur years after the implant procedure, but this new coating will help to reduce the risk of failure,” Kipper said.

Kipper and Ehrhart demonstrate that they can safely stabilize the proteins they want and cause stem cells to grow.

“By coating the bones we will use them in cases of bone transplants and demonstrate that we can improve the outcomes,” Kipper said. “To improve the modes of failure, biological functions on the surface will be tested for long periods of time after coating.”

The future of bone coating will benefit humans and animals at risk for losing a limb from trauma or cancer, according to Kipper.

Collegian Writer Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at news@collegian.com.