A clay-enhanced hydrogel promotes bone healing and reduces side effects by encouraging the migration of naturally occurring stem cells.
While previous attempts with hydrogel and stem cells have resulted in some adverse side effects, the new hydrogel from the team at UCLA reduces those risks and increases the gel’s effectiveness. The gel has been enhanced with the addition of clay, which is both readily available and biocompatible, as well as boasting a layered surface with a negative charge. When the positively charged hydrogel was inserted into the layers of clay, the resulting material featured a structure that was much more porous than previous examples, encouraging stem cell migration and growth.
The team believes the therapeutic gel could have particular application in helping to heal bone defects and improve bone graft materials.