When a bone-break occurs, the body floods the injury site with a healing biochemical known as adenosine. Ordinarily, the adenosine gets quickly metabolized by the body, ceasing the healing “boost” that the chemical initially provides.
A new bandage is designed to absorb that substance, keeping it around so it can do more work. The method works by trapping and harboring adenosine at the injury site, allowing it to perform its healing duty over a longer period of time.
The result is a prototype bandage that could be surgically applied directly to broken bones. It incorporates boronate molecules, which form bonds with adenosine molecules that are present at the injury site. As those bonds gradually weaken, the adenosine is slowly released – but only where it’s needed.
The discovery points toward a general method for improving bone repair after the damage that could be applied to medical products such as biodegradable bandages, implant coatings or bone grafts for critical injuries. The primed bandages could prove to be particularly useful for osteoporosis patients, whose bodies don’t produce adenosine in response to broken bones.