Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Spider Silk Bones

PostedMay 20, 2007

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Randy Atkins:  Spider silk is known for its strong, flexible fibers.   David Kaplan, a Tufts University biomedical engineer, thought it might be useful in bone.

David Kaplan:  You have a very robust, biocompatible material from the silk that can be slowly remodeled in the body.

Randy Atkins:  But it’s not very rigid, so he combined genetic information from spiders and marine creatures that make stiff silica…

David Kaplan:  …that would lock into the surrounding bone and allow anchoring and yet slow integration as well.

Randy Atkins:  The result is the recipe for a new fusion protein that could one day improve bone repair.   With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.