JUL 09, 2019 2:46 PM PDT

Are Eggshells the Future of Bone Repair?

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

A team of researchers from the University of Massachusetts Lowell has developed a technique to enhance the growth of new bones using eggshells. In a statement to UMass Lowell reporters, lead researcher and Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering Gulden Camci-Unal stated that “This is the first study that uses eggshell particles in a hydrogel matrix for bone repair…We are very excited about our results, and we anticipate a lot of useful applications of our invention.” She is hopeful that this technique could repair bone injuries due to aging, accidents, diseases such as cancer, or military combat. She also stated that this process might also be used to grow cartilage, teeth, and tendons.

The teams’ research showed that eggshell particles—which are made primarily of calcium carbonate—can increase bone cells’ ability to grow and harden, potentially resulting in faster healing. To prepare the reinforced material for bone grafts, powdered eggshell particles are inserted into a gelatin-based hydrogel mixture, which forms a three-dimensional frame on which the bone cells can grow. Bone cells from the patient are introduced into the substance and cultivated in an incubator. Using bone cells from the patient reduces the possibility of the immune system rejecting the new bone material. 

In addition to providing a novel and potentially more successful technique for bone grafting and repair, this procedure is also sustainable and reduces worldwide eggshell waste. Camci-Unal told UMass Lowell reporters that, “Global waste of discarded eggshells typically amounts to millions of tons annually from household and commercial cooking. By repurposing eggshells, we can directly benefit the economy and the environment while providing a sustainable solution to unmet clinical needs.”

Camci-Unal is hopeful that this technique will be useful in a variety of biomedical applications. As she told UMass Lowell reporters, “Our eggshell particle-reinforced scaffolds can potentially be used in dental implants, as well as reconstructive surgeries of the skull, jaw, and face.” Beyond tissue regeneration, she believes that “eggshell particles can also be used as a possible vehicle for delivering small molecules such as growth factors, proteins, peptides, genes, and therapeutic drugs.”

The results of the research team’s findings were published in Biomaterials Science and will also be featured on the cover of the print edition of the publication this month.

Sources: UML, UML, Royal Society of Chemistry
 

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
You May Also Like
MAR 17, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
A Critical Step in the Development of Brain Disease is ID'ed
MAR 17, 2021
A Critical Step in the Development of Brain Disease is ID'ed
Some brain diseases including mad cow disease and the human version Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Kuru, and fatal fam ...
MAR 31, 2021
Microbiology
Deep-Sea Microbes Are 'Invisible' to the Human Immune System
MAR 31, 2021
Deep-Sea Microbes Are 'Invisible' to the Human Immune System
Scientists took an exploratory journey to a place in the central Pacific Ocean in Kirbati called the Phoenix Islands Pro ...
APR 01, 2021
Health & Medicine
60 Percent of Texans Using Cannabis Prefer it Over Conventional Drugs
APR 01, 2021
60 Percent of Texans Using Cannabis Prefer it Over Conventional Drugs
A new survey out of Texas has revealed that 61 percent of people in the state who identify as medicinal cannabis users h ...
APR 03, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Find Strange Green Rock on Mars
APR 03, 2021
Scientists Find Strange Green Rock on Mars
NASA's Perseverance rover has found a strange, green rock on the surface of Mars that is having its science team' ...
APR 05, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Can Smoking Cannabis Cause Lung Cancer?
APR 05, 2021
Can Smoking Cannabis Cause Lung Cancer?
So far, there is no firm consensus on whether smoking cannabis can cause lung cancer. As cannabis smoke contains many si ...
APR 14, 2021
Cardiology
Activity At Work Doesn't Benefit Like Leisure Time Exercise
APR 14, 2021
Activity At Work Doesn't Benefit Like Leisure Time Exercise
A new study that examined the habits and health conditions of thousands of people has suggested that exercise that's don ...
Loading Comments...