What is it about?

This article describes synthetic DNA strands that when combined, form a gel. These DNA gels are purely synthetic, and do not contain any human or animal DNA contamination. We show that when placed inside a skull defect, DNA gels encourage new bone formation and restore lost bone at the same time as the gels are being broken down.

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Why is it important?

The destruction of bone caused by inflammatory diseases and cancer is a very common global health problem, which strongly impacts human health and quality of life, with estimated costs of >US$2.5 Bn in North America alone. Without clinical intervention, large bone defects will not heal. The gold standard treatment is to use grafts (bone from the same patient or other animal source) to encourage bone growth. The ability to use these types of grafts is limited because of the difficulty in graft harvesting, injury inflicted at the donor site, limited availability and disease-causing agents. Therefore, the development of safer and readily available bone regeneration biomaterials is a high priority task for tissue engineers.


Working with a team of highly talented scientists to develop new biomaterials for bone repair and co-author this article has been a great pleasure. I hope that our research will inspire others to investigate the potential of DNA-based materials for bone repair.

Karina Carneiro
University of Toronto

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: DNA hydrogels for bone regeneration, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2220565120.
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