Bio Patch Shows Promise for Regenerating, Growing Bone

Bagram HospitalResearchers at the University of Iowa have developed a bio patch that helps to regenerate and grow damaged bone, possibly meaning a new way of treating wounds.

The patch is a collagen “scaffold” seeded with synthetically created plasmids – self-replicating DNA molecules – for producing bone. Researchers reported that the bio patch led to significant bone regeneration and growth in animal lab testing.

Aliasger Salem, a professor of pharmaceutical science and director of the school’s College of Pharmacy, said the technology could be applied to a range of injuries, including arm and leg fractures and craniofacial damage.

With further development, the bio patch could mean improved treatment and healing for severely injured troops and veterans.

University spokesman Richard Lewis said in an announcement that scaffolds with and without the plasmids were inserted over a 5-millimeter by 2-millimeter missing area of skull in test animals and then monitored for four weeks.

The bio patch grew 44-times more bone and soft tissue in the affected area, and was 14-fold higher, than grew using the scaffold alone. And scans revealed that the plasmid-encoded scaffolds had generated enough new bone growth to nearly close the wound area, Lewis said.

The research is being carried out by Salem and Satheesh Elangovan, assistant professor at the university’s College of Dentistry.

“This is still in the very early stages,” Salem said. “We still have substantial work to do to make sure it’s safe, that there are no bad side effects.”

Still, Salem said he can see the potential of the bio patch used even in first-response situations.

“I would argue that anything done in a clinic is better, because it’s a sterile environment, there are doctors to perform it,” Salem told “But if you have an exposed wound and bone fracture, I could imagine this would be a step taken as part of the initial treatment.”

Bone patch

About the Author

Bryant Jordan
Bryant Jordan is an associate editor and White House correspondent for Bryant covers all corners of the military arena, is an expert on "Don't Ask Don't Tell" issues, religious proselytizing and other ongoing military policy issues. He has covered Air Force support missions during the Kosovo War and in 2006 the aero-medical evacuation mission out of Balad Air Base, Iraq.A journalist since 1979, Jordan also covered stories in Lebanon, Gaza and Morocco. During the Vietnam War he was assigned to 15th Admin. Co., 1st Cavalry Division, Bien Hoa Army Base. Before joining Jordan was a staff writer and deputy news editor for Military Timesnewspapers in Springfield, Va.

3 Comments on "Bio Patch Shows Promise for Regenerating, Growing Bone"

  1. How are they harvesting the Adam required to activate the plasmid?

  2. Xavier Capdevila | February 21, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Reply

    Hello, congrats for that health step—forward .
    Regards from Barcelona,
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