Living Bone Created By University of Toronto Researchers

September 30, 1998

Three-dimensional living bone created by University of Toronto researchers could one day replace conventional bone grafting techniques.

The bone is made by growing human cells throughout a new type of biodegradable polymeric foam invented by biomaterials professor John Davies, chemical engineering professor Molly Shoichet and doctoral student Chantal Holy.

When implanted to fill a gap or fracture, the foam can be seeded with the patient's own bone stem cells to create living tissue.

Bone defects and injuries are currently treated predominantly by grafting bone from another part of the patient's body or by taking bone from cadavers. "Implanting the foams to create new bone eliminates both the secondary injury associated with grafting from the patient's body and the risk of disease transmission from the use of cadavers," says Davies. The team anticipates that the foams will also be suitable for dental applications.
The technology has been transferred to a spin-off company, BoneTec Corporation, which has seed capital from University Medical Discoveries Inc.

Contact: Professor John Davies, Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, (416) 978-1471, e-mail: or Kerry Delaney, U of T public affairs, (416) 978-5948, e-mail:

University of Toronto

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