(July 16, 2013) -- Researchers at The University of Texas at San Antonio and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) jointly announce they are investing $200,000 in new research aimed at developing a synthetic drug-loaded scaffold to use in bone grafting procedures.
More than three million musculoskeletal procedures are currently performed in the United States each year to repair bone tissue damage from trauma, congenital deformities, bone diseases and the removal of cancerous lesions.
The UTSA-SwRI bone graft substitute would be an improvement on the industry's gold standard, autologous grafting. Autologous grafting, the process of transferring bone grafts from one part of the body to another, is generally successful in particular types of bone grafting. However, challenges arise due to tissue scarcity and surgical complications. Additionally, autologous grafts are not effective in treating large bone defects.
UTSA and SwRI researchers Anson Ong, the USAA Foundation Distinguished Professor in Biomedical Engineering, and Jian Ling, staff engineer at SwRI, will use collagen and hydroxyapatite to create their synthetic scaffold. Natural bone is, in large part, made up of collagen, hydroxyapatite and water.
Their proposed scaffold would have a rigid structural framework with complementary elastic properties, making it an ideal bone substitute to endure the body's tough physiological demands. Additionally, the synthetic bone substitute would be scalable. Clinicians would be able to trim it into any shape to fit large bone defects.
Ong and Ling's unique scaffold also would include drug-microparticles. Those microparticles would release active growth factors in a controlled manner over time, causing stem cells to become bone cells to which the implanted scaffold would fuse.
If successful, the new product would tap the unmet needs of an annual $2.5 billion bone graft market.
Ling has more than 19 years of experience in biomedical research, including the development of collagen- hydroxyapatite composite scaffolds. Ong is an established expert in the field of bone-biomaterial tissue interfaces.
The Connect Program, an annual UTSA-SwRI joint funding initiative, was established in 2010 to stimulate inter-organizations research between UTSA scholars and SwRI investigators in fields such as advanced materials, chemistry and chemical engineering, energy, the environment, security and manufacturing.
During the forums, the UTSA community will have the opportunity to hear each finalist give an overview of their qualifications, their interest in the position and their vision, followed by a question and answer session with the audience.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
All UTSA faculty, staff and students are invited to attend open forums featuring finalist candidates for the dean of the UTSA College of Sciences.
Various Locations, Main Campus
Co-sponsored by UTSA, the regional conference provides a venue to bring together scholars in the fields of archaeology, ethnography, art history and the general public to share information on research focused on the cultures of the Mesoamerican region. The conference is free and open to the public.
San Antonio Museum of Art, 200 W. Jones Ave., San Antonio
The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy invites everyone to its monthly lecture and stargazing event (weather permitting).
Flawn Sciences Building (FLN 2.02.02) and Curtis Vaughn Jr. Observatory, FLN 4th floor, Main Campus
Future Roadrunners experience life and opportunities at UTSA during this one day Fall Open House.
Various locations, Main Campus
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures will welcome historian Gregory Peek of Penn State University and a panel of music scene personalities to recount the Alamo City’s place in the heavy metal landscape.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
UTSA is an early voting site for the statewide General Election.
H-E-B Student Union Bexar Room (HSU 1.102), Main Campus
The UTSA Office of the President and the UTSA College of Public Policy present a discussion on San Antonio’s charter amendments. Event will be livestreamed to UTSA Main Campus, Travis Room – HSU 2.202
Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus
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