Quite intriguing news from DesignNews on using “a compound found in turmeric” to improve artificially grown bones:
Nutritionists and health-food proponents have long known about the health benefits of turmeric. Now, scientists are beginning to see how the spice can help improve the bone-growing capabilities of 3D-printed bones.
A team at Washington State University (WSU) has combined aspects of natural medical cures with modern biomedical techniques by pairing curcumin—a compound found in turmeric—with ceramic bone scaffolds. Their aim is to improve the capabilities of artificial bones to grow in a way that can benefit people who suffer from bone injuries or diseases like osteoporosis.
Asian countries have been using turmeric as medicine for centuries. Curcumin has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and bone-building capabilities, as well as success in preventing various forms of cancers. However, the human body doesn’t absorb curcumin well when it’s taken orally, as the compound becomes metabolized and eliminated too quickly.
The WSU team—led by Susmita Bose, chair professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering—found that by coating 3D-printed, ceramic bone scaffolds with curcumin, they could improve their ability to grow bones by 30 to 45 percent. Those bone scaffolds are composed of about 68 percent calcium phosphate.