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Building better artificial bones with fish scales

By Leonard Ho - Posted Sep 12, 2011 07:00 AM
"We can make him better than he was. Better...stronger...faster." Japanese medical researchers have developed superior artificial bones using fish scales. The new material is more natural, stronger, safer, and aides in faster recovery.
Building better artificial bones with fish scales

Photo by Ralph Keatings

The human bone is an amazing and complex tissue, able to regenerate and repair itself.

Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology are creating what may be the next generation foundation material for bone regeneration therapy using fish scales.  The new material show improvements over other artificial bone technologies:

Better: The researchers discovered fish scales have a similar structure to the thickest layer of the human cornea. Instead of fabricating complicated designs out of synthetic ceramics and alloys, the natural matrix of fish scales may offer a better alternative without the design challenges.

Stronger: Fish scales can be packed with high density, creating for a much stronger artificial bone.

Faster: Artificial bone is replaced by human bone tissue over time.  The collagen found in fish scales have been clinically proven to convert to human bone twice as fast as pig collagen derived from pig skin.  Faster conversion = faster recovery.

+Safer: When researchers work with pig collagen to develop artificial bones, there is a risk of viral transmission.  Allografts (bone tissue from cadaveric donors) may also transmit diseases, such as HIV (four documented cases). Fish scales do not pose these risk.

[via DigInfo.TV]

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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