SCAFFOLDS made out of a combination of various polymers can regenerate an artificial bone within 12 weeks after the operation, a UST researcher found.

Hidenori Tomimatsu, a researcher at the UST Research Center for Natural and Applied Sciences (RCNAS), studied the regenerative properties of polymers to propose a cheaper and safer alternative for present bone repair methods.

“What I aim to do is to use a tissue-engineering process to be able to have cost-effective and fast alternatives… to the very few existing standards for bone regeneration,” he told the Varsitarian.

In his research poster, Tomimatsu claimed that “existing bone repair gold standards pose fatal post-operation risks.”

Tomimatsu used polypyrrole (conducting polymers), polycaprolactone (synthetic polymers), and chitosan (biopolymers) for his study to test its effectiveness in regenerating artificial bones. He performed trials on mice’s femoral (thigh) bones.

His research found that the polymer materials were suitable for implants since their thermograms showed that it degrades at 290 degrees to 500 degrees Celsius or above the normal body temperature.

The study also found that polymers can absorb water, have high swelling characteristics, and increase weight, which indicates a porous structure or proliferation of cells and nutrients.

Although cost analysis was not done in the study, Tomimatsu said these polymers would cost less since they only used “very small amounts to create the scaffolds.”

“This is directed to the consumers, or to the customers, or to anyone who is undergoing bone treatments. Sadly, this takes time to process or to become a product. Siguro 20 to 50 years from now,” said Tomimatsu.

Tomimatsu said completing the study was difficult because of the lack of proper materials in the Philippines.

“Honestly, mahirap mag-undertake ng ganitong kind of study here in the Philippines due to lack of materials needed and medyo mahal siya. It is quite difficult [for] all those who want to try bone regeneration or similar studies, but it is very promising, and it is very fulfilling from start to finish,” he said. 

Tomimatsu won the third prize for his research poster in the Rapid Fire Poster Session during the 42nd Annual Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering Meeting and Symposium (APAMS) hosted by UST from Oct. 11 to 14.

APAMS is an annual multidisciplinary conference for the research endeavors of Filipino and Filipino-American scientists and engineers. N.G. de Leon


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