More than half of all new cases of osteosarcoma in the United States occur in children and adolescents and they account for 2% of all childhood cancers. Surgical resection of osteosarcoma can be highly effective in improving the odds of complete cure, but conventional bone grafting suffers from unstable graft fixation, safety risks associated with high-dose adjuvant bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) therapeutics and slow graft resorption/inadequate osteointegration. Pediatric cancer patients are particularly impacted by these limitations due to their active lifestyles, growing skeletons susceptible to structural perturbations and vulnerability to high-dose osteogenic therapeutics including risks for cancer recurrence.
We have developed a class of 3-D printed biodegradable shape memory synthetic bone grafts that are capable of smart self-fixation within skeletal defects under physiological conditions and can template robust bone formation with or without an extremely low dose of BMP therapeutics.
This study tests the efficacy of this biomaterial platform in guiding effective regenerative reconstruction of weight-bearing long bone and mandibular defects using clinically relevant rodent skeletal defect models. Successful outcome of this study will translate into safer and far more effective skeletal/craniomaxillofacial reconstruction for pediatric cancer patients suffering from osteosarcoma, spinal cord cancer, oral cancer or cancer metathesis to the skeleton.