Evolution of bone transplantation: molecular, cellular and tissue strategies to engineer human bone

Biomaterials. 1996 Jan;17(2):175-85. doi: 10.1016/0142-9612(96)85762-0.


Bone defects occur in a wide variety of clinical situations, and their reconstruction to provide mechanical integrity to the skeleton is a necessary step in the patient's rehabilitation. The current gold standard for bone reconstruction, the autogenous bone graft, works well in many circumstances. However, autograft reconstruction, along with the available alternatives of allogenous bone graft or poly(methylmethacrylate) bone cement, do not solve all instances of bone deficiency. Novel materials, cellular transplantation and bioactive molecule delivery are being explored alone and in various combinations to address the problem of bone deficiency. The goal of these strategies is to exploit the body's natural ability to repair injured bone with new bone tissue, and to then remodel that new bone in response to the local stresses it experiences. In general, the strategies discussed in this paper attempt to provide the reconstructed region with appropriate initial mechanical properties, encourage new bone to form in the region, and then gradually degrade to allow the new bone to remodel and assume the mechanical support function. Several of the concepts presented below are already finding clinical applications in early patient trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials / standards
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Cements / chemistry
  • Bone Regeneration*
  • Bone Transplantation / methods*
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology
  • Bone and Bones / physiology
  • Cell Transplantation
  • Ceramics / chemistry
  • Fracture Healing / physiology
  • Humans
  • Methylmethacrylates / chemistry
  • Polymers / chemistry


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Bone Cements
  • Methylmethacrylates
  • Polymers