Scientists Design Molecules That Mimic Nanostructure of Bone

November 26, 2001 | Source: Northwestern University

Self-assembling molecules developed by scientists at Northwestern University mimic key features of bone at the nanoscale level.Scientists at Northwestern University have become the first to design molecules that could lead to a breakthrough in bone repair. The designer molecules hold promise for the development of a bonelike material to be used for bone fractures or in the treatment of bone cancer patients and have implications for the regeneration of other tissues and organs.

“Recreating natural bone structure at the nanoscale level — the first level of bone structural hierarchy — is what we set out to do with our experiments, and we succeeded,” said Northwestern postdoctoral fellow Jeffrey D. Hartgerink, the lead author of a paper reporting these results, which will be published in the Nov. 23 issue of the journal Science.

The molecules self-assemble into a three-dimensional structure that resemble the key features of human bone, including the collagen nanofibers that promote mineralization and the mineral nanocrystals.