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UTSA, SwRI researchers to develop drug-loaded scaffold for bone grafting

bone x-ray

Bone graft

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(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.



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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