Professor Hyung Joon Cha on Bone Regeneration Enhanced by Use of Mussel Adhesive Proteins
POSTECH Department of Chemical Engineering Professor Hyung Joon Cha and his team’s research on bone graft material binder technology was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry B. Mussels stick to rocks because its protein has strong adhesive properties. This protein has been used as a binder for bodily wounds and surgery. An engineered mussel glue protein, a promising functional binder for the acceleration of bone substitute-assisted bone regeneration, has been developed by the joint research team of POSTECH and Korea University Anam Hospital, which can be used in teeth implants.
The research team consisting of Professor Hyung Joon Cha in the Department of Chemical Engineering at POSTECH, Professor Sang Ho Jun at Anam Hospital, and Bong-Hyuk Choi who is a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Cha’s research group. The team paid attention to the adhesive protein of mussels that maintained its adhesion in water to develop the binder. They identified that the binder not only prevented the heterologous bone graft materials to move from the grafted place, but also substantially helped bone formation.
It was possible to produce adhesive proteins from mussels in small quantities, but Professor Cha’s team has opened the way to the mass production of molecular biotechnology. A dental company that specializes in dental material is studying the team’s findings for commercialization.
The team plans to conduct a follow-up study of utilizing stem cells and growth factors with the adhesive proteins of mussels to restore bones that could treat patients who have facial bone defects.
This research was carried forward by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and supported by the Marine Biotech Supporting Centre under the Korea Institute of Marine Science & Technology Promotion (KIMST).