Dubrowsky Laboratory Update: Project 3

The Dubrowsky Regenerative Medicine Laboratory Update: Upcoming projects as of June 2021

In conjunction with Aston University there are three PhD projects currently appointed to use the laboratory.

Project 3: The use of biologically active bioglass in the management of osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that produces immature bone. It is the most common type of cancer that arises in bones, and it is usually found at the end of long bones, often around the knee.

Curative procedures for primary bone cancer such as osteosarcoma leave a bony defect which needs to be filled with a something. This could be an endoprosthesis, an allograft (piece of donor bone) or the patient’s own sterilised bone from another part of the body to allow continued limb function. This is known as a curative resection.

If there is a requirement for bone ingrowth on to whichever technique is employed, then it is beneficial to have a scaffold to help with that. It is also known that whilst curative resections are attempted, there can be a tiny remnant of tumour left behind which is why all patients undergo a course of radiotherapy following surgery.

Bone ingrowth refers to the creation of new bone within the implant, which improves the implant’s integration into joining bones. Bioactive glass (bioglass) has been used as a scaffold for bone ingrowth for a number of years and there are commercial products available using this technology.

What is different here, is the surface coating. Professor Martin has developed a Gallium coating to the bioglass. Gallium has a locally active tumour cytotoxic effect (cancer cell death) which is thought to give extra local tumour control at the site of resection.

This project will support the development of the Gallium bioglass from the engineering laboratory, to look to establish proof of concept of the technology. In time this could lead to the development of a new therapy that could be used to improve cure rates and survival for this group of patients.

The laboratory is to be used for the in-vitro testing of the Gallium bioglass with osteosarcoma cells, gathered from consenting patients, through the ethics of the Research Tissue Bank.

This project is being funded by:

  1. Aston University.

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