Researchers at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre in India demonstrated that graphene oxide nanoflakes can enhance the properties of artificial composites to provide supportive scaffolds that encourage bone repair.

According to the scientists, a great challenge is to design a biomaterial that should match the properties of native healthy bone, Properties like biocompatibility, chemical composition, porosity, degradation and mechanical stability that are critical in determining the success of the biomaterial. Traditional treatments for bone fractures that fail to heal spontaneously are bone grafts taken from elsewhere in the patient's body, causing pain and potential damage to the harvested site.

The scientists studied the impact of graphene oxide flakes in bone scaffolds to assess how they might enhance nanocomposite bone implants. While pristine graphene tends to agglomerate, graphene oxide has chemical characteristics that can be beneficial to cell health while retaining graphene's mechanical advantages. The team cultured mesenchymal cells, which can differentiate into various types of tissue, and monitored the differentiation of these cells into bone. They found that graphene oxide flakes expedited the multiplication of stem cells and encouraged differentiation into bone tissue cells.

The researchers say that further work is needed to check the toxicity of graphene oxide-enhanced structures. They plan to implant the graphene oxide-enhanced scaffolds in live animals to test the toxicity, as well as the speed and quality of bone regeneration.

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