Research led by students at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University is presenting a new approach to tackling sarcoma, an incurable bone disease that impacts children and teens. Research results in a study published in the journal Biomaterials Science and Technology.
Sarcoma is an autoimmune disease that results in abnormal blood energy production and inability to bone marrow function. Defects in the body’s lymphatic system result in an immune system attack, contributing to abnormally low blood counts that result in a progressive decline in bone density due to bone break down.
While researchers have been targeting enzymes that break down proteins, they have not addressed one of the biggest unknowns when it comes to sarcoma healing and repair, said Kristin Levanois, assistant professor in the MCG Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the study’s senior author.
As bone cells divide, they can become four times more heavy, pushing against against the walls of the femur, a large collar between the femur bone and the thigh. As bone cells become heavy, they can no longer dial down the mechanical force generated in the femur bone to dial down the stress on the skin.
The challenge with our approach is: to break through this cycle of bone breaking down and repair, to use a nanosheath material with a surface area less than 1 / 2 inch, is so non-intuitive that I don’t even think anyone has ever attempted to do it before,”
Kristin Levanois, assistant professor in the MCG Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.
Levanois and first author Madison Hudson, a McAllister assistant professor in the MCG Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, worked with four UA Coombes postdoctoral scholars to produce and incorporate a new solution that incorporated an adhesive polymer called polyurethane.
The team inserted the product into a tunnel built for drug delivery and implanted it into the cartilage of test rats for 24 weeks. The rodents suffered fewer bone-related side effects than past methods including topical injections and intramuscular injections.