Human bones grown in the laboratory with shells of ground eggs

A group of researchers has discovered that eggshells can help grow and repair human bones. The discovery, carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, could be of great help for those patients who have suffered bone damage caused by illness or accidents.

The process, led by Professor Gulden Camci-Unal, sees the first phase of grinding eggshells. The resulting mass is then combined with a hydrogel mixture. This compound then serves to form a miniature frame on which bone growth can be triggered in the laboratory. These artificially created bones can then be used for bone grafts. To grow bones in the laboratory with this system, researchers use bone cells taken from the patient’s body and cultured in an incubator.

According to the researchers, the main quality of eggshells lies in the fact that their particles, which are mostly made of calcium carbonate, favor the growth and hardening of bone cells taken from the patient, something that in itself accelerates healing as well as the growth of the bone in the laboratory. Furthermore, the fact that the basic cells are taken from the patient’s body minimizes the risks of possible rejection of the immune system.

The same system, the researchers assure, could then be used to make teeth, tendons and cartilage grow also in the laboratory. Researchers, who have already filed a patent, predict that this system may prove to be very important, as Camci-Unal points out, according to which, among other things, eggshell particles could also be used as a vehicle to supply drugs or other substances such as proteins and peptides in the human body.