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posted: 05/05/2004
by Evelyn Spence

Researchers from the University of Toronto have developed a biodegradable polymer matrix that not only spurs the growth of bone, possibly replacing less-sturdy grafts and metal implants, but also appears to mend fractures faster than those traditional methods. Best of all, the spongelike matrix dissolves once the job is done, leaving nothing but healthy bone in its place.Could it someday help laid-up skiers get back to the slopes sooner? "Absolutely, says researcher Molly Shoichet, a professor at the Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering in Toronto. "It relates to any healing of bone after injury, including traumatic injuries from skiing.Skiers won't have access to the matrix for years—so far only rabbits do—but the technology looks promising. Indeed, the healthy rabbits hop much better.

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