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Senior Health Week: Arthritis
Health News You Can Use •

Arthritis News:

Crushed Glass and Radioactive Glass Spheres Seen as Future Arthritis Therapies

Crushed glass and radioactive glass spheres be used to help mend the bones and joints of arthritis patients in the not too distant future, according to researchers in Missouri.

"Imagine using a caulking gun to repair the cracks in your bathroom. Now think of injecting a non-harmful but similar substance into a crushed vertebrae to fill in the space and cracks," said Dr. Delbert Day, Curators' Professor emeritus of ceramic engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla.

That substance is a mixture of crushed glass and polymer, which would be injected into the area of a crushed vertebrae or other damaged bone. It fills the cracks and glues the pieces back together. Once dry, it turns into a bone-like substance, bonding to the original bone, he said.

Another process currently being developed involves radioactive glass spheres. The spheres, about one-fifth to one-tenth the diameter of a human hair, would be injected into the arthritic joint.

Once the radiation is delivered, the spheres react with body fluids, eventually disappearing from the body.

"The glass beads confine all of the radioactivity to the diseased joint," Day said, adding that the procedure is a safe method of exposing patients to radiation.

The co-inventor of the FDA-approved TheraShpere -- a radioactive glass microsphere used to treat liver cancer patients -- says development of the glass beads is moving quickly.

"What we investigate and see in the laboratory, compared to what has been seen in experiments on animals, is encouraging," Day said.

Source: Arthritis Week of June 30, 2002



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