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Synthetic molecules mimic bone growth

With an eye toward new bone-repair treatments, researchers have designed molecules that assemble into tiny fibers that serve as templates for growing hydroxyapatite, the mineral in bone. What's more, hydroxyapatite crystals align along the synthetic fibers much as they do along collagen fibers in natural bone.

"This [alignment] is one of the fundamental elements of the nanostructure of bone," Samuel I. Stupp said in Boston at a meeting of the Materials Research Society on Nov. 26. Stupp and his coworkers, all at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., also reported their results in the Nov. 23 Science.

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