Anyone who has ever broken a bone knows that while receiving the injury itself is quite unpleasant, being laid up for several weeks to even a few months afterwards is also no picnic. Help may be on the way, however. The U.S. Department of Defense is funding a study, to develop fast bone-healing treatments that could be used on soldiers, along with civilians and even animals. Already, scientists have gotten promising results in laboratory tests, using something they call “fracture putty.”
A sea creature called the sandcastle worm could hold the secret to repairing broken bones in humans. The screws and pins favored by many surgeons today have achieved much success over the years, but they are not suitable for repairing all kinds of fractures. For more precise reconstruction of compound fractures and shattered bones, bioengineers have looked beyond metal hardware and have now duplicated a natural glue secreted by the tiny sandcastle worm. The research team hopes it will provide a better solution to fixing small bones broken in battlefield injuries, car crashes and other accidents.