A group of researchers from Washington State University (WSU) has combined natural medical cures with modern biomedical devices develop a treatment for bone injuries and diseases like osteoporosis.
Researchers found that coating 3D-printed, ceramic bone scaffolds with curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, improved bone-growing capabilities by 30%-40.
Curcumin has been used as a medicine in some countries in Asia for centuries. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and bone-building capabilities and cancer prevention elements.
During the study, curcumin was encased within a water-loving polymer so that it could be gradually released from their ceramic scaffolds.
It was found that the curcumin increased the viability and proliferation of new bone cells and blood vessels in surrounding tissue and sped up the healing process.
Most medicines currently used to treat osteoporosis slow down or stop the destruction of old bone or allow the formation of new bone. Although medicines may increase bone density, they can create an imbalance in the natural bone remodelling cycle that may lead to poorer quality bone.
Researchers believe that this new method could bring about the development of medicines that naturally create healthier bone without affecting the bone remodelling cycle.
WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering Herman and Brita Lindholm Endowed Chair professor Susmita Bose led the research.
Bose said: “In the end, it’s the bone quality that matters.You have to use the right vehicle for delivery. We need to load and get it released in a controlled and sustained way. The chemistry of vehicle delivery is very important.”
Researchers are also studying other natural remedies, including compounds from aloe vera, saffron, Vitamin D, garlic, oregano and ginger.