Poly(alpha-hydroxy acids): carriers for bone morphogenetic proteins.
A broad spectrum of cells and cell products is associated with bone homeostasis and the renewal of bone following injury. The coupled interactions among cells provide the power behind sculpting of bone, sustaining form, and ensuring functionality. Local and systemic regulatory molecules (e.g. growth factors, hormones) direct cellular interactions through autocrine, paracrine, and hormonal pathways. Recently, genes for a class of osteogenic regulatory molecules have been cloned, and gene product expression has enabled investigators to assess safety and efficacy in animal studies. The molecules are known as bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). Therapeutic applications of BMPs depend on a carrier system. A carrier could spatially and temporally localize BMP for regional needs and be custom-tailored for acute craniofacial applications or for recalcitrant extremity non-unions. The poly(alpha-hydroxy acids) (PHAs) may be suitable for these applications. Therefore, the purposes of this paper are (i) to mention, briefly, basic concepts of the bone wound continuum and the possible therapeutic roles of BMPs; (ii) to outline several properties of selected PHAs relevant to bone regeneration dynamics; and (iii) to review selected preclinical studies with PHAs.
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