- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 5, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Scientists at a Wisconsin university have created a mineral coating that mimics bone and keeps protein-based drugs more stable.

The Wisconsin State Journal (https://bit.ly/2tpbf9J ) reports protein-based drugs are used to treat bone disorders, kidney disease, wounds, arthritis and cancer but frequently degrade, which limits their therapeutic potential.

“What’s needed is a delivery system that remains localized, releases the protein over an extended time frame and keeps the protein active,” said William Murphy, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of biomedical engineering.

University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists were inspired by a 2010 report about DNA extracted from a 19,000-year-old emu shell to use growth factors to improve proteins used in medical applications.

A mineral coating is constructed at the miniature level of biology known as the nanoscale.

The coating releases a protein, called basic fibroblast growth factor, which remained active for more than a month in a lab dish.

When the protein is released through a commonly used polymer system, it stayed active for less than a week.

Improved stability of proteins in drug delivery means patients who normally need injections every day or week might only need injections once every month or two, Murphy said.

The scientists have used the mineral coating on sutures used to repair torn tendons in rabbits, which Murphy said healed the injury better than regular sutures, and are now using the mineral coating to study protein therapies for rheumatoid arthritis in rodents.

Other applications include knee and hip implants and drugs for cancer, wounds and bone disorders.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, https://www.madison.com/wsj

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