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Glass can repair bone, treat arthritis

The Hindu
Thursday, July 11, 2002

Arthritis sufferers may soon find relief from an unlikely
source: glass. Researchers at the University of Missouri-
Rolla are developing special glasses that could be used
to repair bone and microscopic glass spheres that could
be injected into arthritic joints.

"Imagine using a caulking gun to repair the cracks in
your bathroom. Now think of injecting a non-harmful but
similar substance into crushed vertebrae to fill in the
space and cracks," says Dr. Delbert Day, Curators'
Professor emeritus of ceramic engineering at UMR.

By mixing crushed glass particles with a polymer, Day is
developing a substance that could be used to repair
broken or diseased bone. The mixture would be injected
into the area of a crushed vertebra or other damaged

The mixture then fills the cracks, gluing the broken
pieces back together.

Once this mixture hardens, it turns into a bonelike
substance, bonding itself to the original bone, Day says.

Those who struggle with rheumatoid arthritis might find
inspiration in what glass can do for treating their
ailment. Day and other UMR researchers are perfecting
biodegradable glass spheres that will be used to
irradiate arthritis joints.

Small radioactive glass spheres, about one-fifth to one-
tenth the diameter of a human hair, can be injected into
the diseased joint. Once the radiation is delivered, the
spheres gradually react with the body fluids and
eventually disappear from the body, thus creating a safe
way to expose a patient to radiation.

According to Day, the development of biodegradable glass
beads is advancing rapidly. "What we investigate and see
in the laboratory, compared to what has been seen in
experiments on animals, is encouraging."

Day says similar procedures can be used to treat other
ailments. Instead of using a solid glass sphere, a hollow
sphere or shell filled with a drug and injected into the
body, or spread as a cream onto the skin and gradually
released into the body's system, could be used, Day says.

This type of treatment releases the drug in a more
uniform manner and targets the infection or diseased area
says a news release issued by the University of Missouri-

Read the complete news at:

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Mon, 14 Nov 2005 15:41:27 GMT
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