Filed in archiveon February 22, 2006
Haven't you ever wondered where all those those pulled teeth from the dentists' go? Well in London, they may end up as rings. Small bone fragments attached to the teeth can be processed in a lab and bioengineered into jewelry.
The science and design collaboration, which aims to make tissue-engineering technology engaging to the public, is financed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the main government agency for sponsoring such research and training. The concept of biojewelry made a splash last month with presentations at the Dana Center, part of the Science Museum in London.
To avoid ethical questions, the procedure is only available to those with documented problems with wisdom teeth. How are these teeth transformed to rings?
Lucy Di Silvio, a senior lecturer in Biomaterials and Biomimetics at King's College London who heads the tissue engineering group, said that after the procedures, the cells isolated and expanded from the jawbone fragments would be seeded on a bioactive scaffold. The scaffold will encourage them to proliferate, differentiate and mineralize. After roughly six weeks, the material will be used to form a bony band.
According to the researchers, growing such synthetic bone segments in the lab may also hold promise in the medicine, particularly for patients losing bone tissue to cancer or injury.
Read the full article from NY Times. For more info on designer rings from bioengineered bone tissue, refer to the Biojewelry website.
[Photo: The porous, bioacive ceramic scaffold on which tissue growth takes place, a model of the ring using a combination of cow marrow-bone and etched silver, and a sample of cow marrow to illustrate the final bone sample. Source: http://www.biojewelry.co.uk/]
Hat Tip to Karen.
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