Bone defects cause functional deficits as well as disfigurement that can severely harm the patients'physical and psychological health. Unlike bone fractures that are usually treated immediately after injury, most cranial-facial bone defects are treated after the initial pathological condition or traumatic injury has been resolved. Thus, methods to heal these defects must promote bone formation at a quiescent site while prohibiting growth of soft tissues into the defect site that stop bone formation. One difficult aspect of bone tissue engineering in the craniofacial and dental areas is complications from soft tissue ingrowth into the active site of new bone formation. Soft tissue ingrowth into a device essentially halts further bone formation. This host response creates a challenge for tissue engineering in that any solution must limit soft tissue interference without impairing bone formation or inducing so much new bone formation that the desired functional or aesthetic morphology of the new bone is not achieved. Our goal is to engineer a device that balances rapid bone formation with limited soft tissue interference that can augment or heal cranial-facial bone defects. Having shown that arachidonic acid metabolism can modulate inflammation related to bone formation, we propose to develop a device that separates cyclooxygenase inhibition (limits soft tissue growth) from 5-lipoxygenase inhibition (promotes osteoblast activity and bone formation). We will use a poly (anhydride-ester) of salicylic acid (PolyAspirin) to inhibit cyclooxygenase and a 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor within a calcium sulfate carrier and calcium phosphate scaffold to promote osteogenesis. The use of small molecule inhibitors as the active ingredients of this device will allow production of low-cost, long shelf-life devices for treating cranial-facial bone defects.
Bony defects of the skull and other cranial-facial bones are common traumatic and pathological injuries. Current methods to treat cranial-facial bone defects are associated with second-site morbidity from autograft harvest, use of potentially infectious allograft bone, poor long-term efficacy, technically challenging procedures, and high costs. Our goal is to develop a low-cost, easy to use and store, tissue engineering device to treat cranial-facial bone defects that accelerates healing by modulating the host inflammatory response.
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