UGM students create bone filler from animals

Alfin Lanagusti and Pradnya Paramitha Dewandani are with bone filler material. (photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Yogyakarta – Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) Yogyakarta students have succeeded in turning the bones of goats into artificial material (for bone grafts) that can be used to repair human broken bones. Bone graft is commonly required in surgery to fill broken bones. 

“Up to this day, bone grafting material is being still imported, which means it is relatively expensive. So we did the research to develop usable bone graft material domestically,” explained the leader of the goat bone graft team, Valentino Alberto Muktiwibowo in a press conference on Thursday (10/10/2019) held at the Integrated Research Lab of the UGM Faculty of Dentistry. 

Valentino mentioned the steep need for bone material in Indonesia, not simply for patients of broken bones but also for dental damage. 

“There are 24 million cases of broken bones in Indonesia every year, not to mention dental damage and malignancy which can be as high as 70 percent,” he pointed out. 

There are only a few research tissue banks in the country to deal with such demand: only three are operating, in Jakarta, Batam, and Padang. 

A team with fellow students Alfin Lanagusti and Pradnya Paramitha Dewandani conducted research into bone grafts under the guidance of Dr. drg. Archadian Nuryanti, M. Kes., in a “Student Creativity Program”. The project recently earned a gold medal during National Student Scientific Week (PIMNAS) 2019. 

Valentino explained they had chosen the goat bone material in part because of its availability: millions of Indonesians keep goats. The micro structures of the animal’s bone is also similar to that of human beings. Calcium in the goat bone is processed to form a complex with phosphor in the form of apatite, a material up to 60-70 percent of which is easily to absorbed by the body. Thus goat bone becomes a candidate for the natural resource of hydroxyapatite – cheap and easily found. 

The bone graft, called Conchaplast, is manufactured from three main materials: goat bone, bamboo salt and cow blood. It has been tested in vivo. The material is implanted into the bones of Cavia cobaya mice, with significant changes in the amount of bone tissue formation in lab animals. 

“The addition of this bone graft material showed a significantly increased amount of osteoblast cells and collagen, as marked by ALP (alkaline phosphatase) and minimal immune rejection, looking at the number of eosinophils and IgE levels,” Alfin added. 

This type of research can help a patient who needs synthetic bone grafts for teeth or bones, while going forward, further testing is still needed. The utilization of waste bones from goats is further expected to resolve environmental problems. “The goat bone can be a cheap alternative for bone grafts, utilizing abundant potential of goat bones in Indonesia,” he concluded. (*/est)