A group of researchers has developed a bio patch that can regenerate missing or damaged bones. The discovery is promising as it may be used in improving dental implants and facial birth defects.

Aliasger Salem, a professor of the College of Pharmacy, University of Iowa, and his colleagues tested the bio patch in live rats. These bio patches are packed with nano-sized DNA that could help accelerate bone regeneration as directly targets the cells. Their tests on these live rats that have skull wounds were successful as it is able to fully cover the wounds. They also tried it on a human bone in a test tube to see how the bone marrow will react with the bio patch.

The researchers used a DNA component called "platelet-derived growth factor subunit B" (PDGF-B). This protein has an essential role in the regulation of embryonic development, cell growth, cell migration, survival and chemotaxis. One if its primary functions is to heal wounds.

This new discovery is said to be better than other earlier innovations as those focus on healing from the outside while the bio patch is directly healing the cells from inside. It is also a cheaper alternative than the existing products as it needs to be done only once while the others need repeated treatments for the bones to fully recover.

"If you deliver just the protein, you have keep delivering it with continuous injections to maintain the dose. With our method, you get local, sustained expression over a prolonged period of time without having to give continued doses of protein," Salem told the Medical News Daily.

The bio patch is made from collagen and synthetic nano-sized plasmids which are both packed with the healing DNA. When tested on live rats, they found that they are able to grow 44 times more bone in just four weeks which is 14 times faster than natural healing process.

The study was published in the scientific journal Biomaterials.