Strengthening Bone with Silica Nanoparticles
Tiny particles of silicon dioxide -- essentially, extremely fine sand -- can strengthen bones when introduced into animals, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have discovered.
The particles stimulate the generation of bone-forming cells and inhibit other cells that break down bone. The findings could someday form the basis for an alternative treatment for osteoporosis. The results were published recently in the journal Nanomedicine.
The paper represents a collaboration between the laboratories of George Beck and Neale Weitzmann, both in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipids. The project started when Jin-Kyu Lee, now at Seoul National University, came to Beck's lab with silica nanoparticles he had developed that contained fluorescent dyes. This allowed researchers to track the particles within the body and within cells.