Published: 12 Dec 2014 | Last Updated: 12 Dec 2014 10:53:52

Congratulations to Dr Chantal Chenu who has been awarded a grant to study "Can we improve fracture healing in the elderly by stimulating skeletal perfusion".

Dr Chenu explains what the study will involve: "Osteoporotic fractures represent one of the most common causes of mortality and morbidity in older patients affecting approximately 200 million people all over the world and 3 million in the UK. With ageing and in osteoporotic patients, fractures take longer to heal and thus the return to normal function will be delayed, with increased cost of care.

The aim of our study is to test whether increasing blood flow with the use of low-cost vasodilators during fracture repair helps to accelerate the slow bone healing process in elderly and osteoporotic patients by increasing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the fracture callus.

Our objectives are 1) to examine the effects of vasodilators on blood flow in the fracture callus at different times after fracture; 2) to assess the long-term effects of vasodilators on fracture repair in aged and osteoporotic bone using old rats and a rat model of osteoporosis; 3) to determine the cellular and molecular changes that take place in the fracture callus when blood flow is increased. Should our study show that vasodilators are accelerating the bone ability to repair, these results have the potential to lead to a new therapeutic option for the impaired vascularisation in osteoporotic bone.  

We will employ recently developed quantitative imaging laser Doppler flowmetry to measure blood flow in the fracture callus which will be correlated to bone structural and mineral changes determined by micro-CT."  

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