A non-union fracture is a term used to describe a type of bone fracture that fails to heal. A delayed union fracture describes a bone fracture that takes longer than expected to heal. It is estimated that in excess of 10% of all fractures become non-union fractures. A non-union fracture will not heal itself and become a permanent and painful clinical situation.
Non-union fractures are currently treated by removal of all calluses and scar tissue to provide viable bone surfaces, treatment of any infection that might be present and immobilization of the fracture using plates, rods, fixators, pins and the application of a bone graft. Treatment times are long and can involve multiple procedures, including taking bone from other sites of the body and transferring this to the fracture area in the hope that it will stimulate new bone growth locally.
Mesentech is developing its technology that can deliver specific bone growth factors to the fracture site and stimulate new bone growth. It is anticipated that this will be administered locally, possibly by integration with an implanted material that will be wrapped around the fracture site. If successful, then not only can it produce more rapid and reliable fracture healing but it can reduce the number and length of surgical procedures.