An Israeli company, CoreBone has come up with a major breakthrough in bone replacement, used for grafts and implants.
“Bone grafts ideally should have four features,” CoreBone CEO Ohad Schwartz explained to ISRAEL21c. “They must be bioactive, not just a passive scaffold, in order to attract new bone cells; they must be strong enough to support the site, especially for implants; they must allow for being replaced as new bone grows; and they must be porous to enable vascularity,” meaning that blood vessels can grow through them naturally and produce growth of bone from the inside out.
“If you have all those features, you have a very good bone graft,” Schwartz continued. “We have all of those.”
Corebone has patented a new source for bone replacements using a material that has all these qualities - their own farm-grown coral.
The company grows its corals from selected species using patented technology to provide bioactivity and eliminate biological contamination. Different species are used for different applications. The corals are bred in a farm in the Arava desert near the Dead Sea, so they aren’t susceptible to marine pollution, contamination and or endangerment from human or marine activity. They also grow 10 times faster than in nature. They also avoid some of the difficulties with some organic grafts from animals or humans, the risk of rejection and transmission of disease.
Synthetic, man-made materials used in grafts don't have these problems but are much weaker than natural bone. The global markets for orthopedic and dental bone-graft substitutes are expected to reach $3.4 billion and $1 billion respectively in 2017.
“Our product offers the best of both worlds, and therefore it is an optimal solution,” Schwartz explained, adding that a European study found CoreBone to be four times stronger than human bone. Studies have demonstrated that CoreBone’s material has a higher rate of bio-integration and connectivity with the host bone than leading products in the market.
One of the most common dental procedures today is socket preservation after tooth extraction, accounting for 20 million cases in the U.S. alone.
“If you don’t fill the cavity you will have major loss of bone,” Schwartz said. “The usual practice is to fill it with different bone graft granules. We found that one of the corals we grow has the exact shape and dimensions of tooth roots. So we’re using the natural design of the coral to find a solution for a major indication.”
The EU has already approved the new coral for use in for dental and orthopedic procedures. Applications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are expected by mid-2017. And the cost is expected to be lower than bovine-based grafts now selling for about $100 per cubic centimeter in the United States
“We can offer a very competitive price because nature does the work for us,” Schwartz said.
Who else but those clever Israelis would think to set up a coral farm in the middle of the desert!
(hat tip, TheTower and Israel 21c)