(August 3, 2015) -- Say you fall and crack your head open, an ambulance takes you to the hospital and a group of doctors fill that hole in your skull with speaker foam? Well, soon that might be possible.
Teja Guda, an assistant professor of biomechanical engineering, and Joo L. Ong, chair and professor of biomedical engineering at UTSA, have been working on a product called scaffolding, which is meant to replace bone grafts as a treatment for people who have lost bone matter.
“It almost looks like a kitchen sponge,” Guda said. “The scaffold is 85 percent open space. The cells grow into it, and because we give them something solid to grow into, they start to regenerate tissue.”
Chemically, the scaffolding is made of the same ceramics that are found in bones.
“The idea is to mimic nature,” Guda said. “The body is what we want to duplicate, so why not literally duplicate the building blocks?”
The foam is, in fact, the same foam used in soundproofing and speakers, so it’s an actual building material being used to rebuild a part of the human body. It’s glazed in the same way ceramic pottery is glazed, except its ceramic putty has the same chemical makeup of human bones. It’s put into a furnace to harden the material.
“The big problem with glazed pottery is if you drop it, it cracks,” Guda said. “Now, in the fourth generation and thanks to a protein coating, the current generation of scaffolding is very much improved for performance, in that now it can chip but it won’t disintegrate.”
Scaffolding could replace bone grafts as a treatment, which is taking bone either from the patient’s body or from a cadaver. But cadaver bones have the risk of transmitting disease or not being compatible with the patient’s body.
“If the graft is taken from the patient’s body, the pain from that second injury is often more than the original injury,” said Guda. “There’s only so much you can scavenge from across the body. You don’t have a lot of spare bones lying around.”
Animal trials have been successful and the product is now undergoing further development abroad. Guda has also loaded drugs and antibiotics onto the scaffolding material so that doctors can skip that extra step while treating a patient.
Learn more about biomedical engineering at UTSA.
Learn more about the College of Engineering.
The events are a collaborative effort between student organizations, student led-groups, and campus departments.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy invites everyone to its monthly lecture and stargazing event
Flawn Sciences Building (FLN 2.02.02), Main Campus
The UTSA and San Antonio communities are invited to see the Roadrunners in action during this free game that marks the end of the spring workouts season.
Dub Farris Athletic Complex, 8400 North Loop 1604 W), San Antonio
The UTSA Alumni Association and the San Antonio Parks Foundation will co-host the official Fiesta event. The outdoor event is family-friendly, with live music, lawn games, a free mechanical bull ride, photo fun, local food, fresh sips, local art and cowboy merch. Admission is free for those who RSVP online, however there will be a $10 entry charge at the gates on the day of the event, as capacity allows.
UTSA Park West Athletics Complex
UTSA is a designated early voting site for the May 4 Joint, General and Special Election. Any registered Bexar County voter can skip the lines and cast a ballot at UTSA from Monday, April 22 to Tuesday, April 30.
H-E-B Student Union Bexar Room (HSU 1.102), Main Campus
The Campus Master Plan task force and Page consultants will share the initial draft of the master plan.
Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
The Campus Master Plan task force and Page consultants will hold a series of meetings in late April and early May to share the initial draft of the master plan.
Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus
In this UTSA 50th anniversary speaker series, Roger Enriquez, UTSA associate professor of criminal justice, explores how immigration past and present helps us understand its future.
Casa Hernán, 411 Cevallos St., San Antonio
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