Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School
Associate Bioengineer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Division of Engineering in Medicine
Bone fracture healing is a major challenge for patients with large traumatic bone defects. The United States reports over 2 million fractures per year, which cost more than $17 billion. Despite the natural healing potential of bone, around 10% of all fractures result in failed or impaired healing. The largest group affected by fractures are patients with osteoporosis–a systemic skeletal disorder characterized by low bone mass, micro-architectural deterioration of bone tissue leading to bone fragility, and consequent increase in fracture risk. While the gold standard for the treatment is Bisphosphonates, they do not promote bone anabolism, which is critical for the treatment of fractures. For bone fractures, the current treatment options are limited to cast immobilization and functional braces, and there are no FDA-approved medical therapies to stimulate fracture healing.
There is a clinical need for a therapy that repairs damaged bone tissue in patients with failed bone healing. With Start-Up grant funding from the Stepping Strong Center, Pere Dosta Pons, PhD, is developing a dual therapy hydrogel that will locally deliver nanoparticles capable of selectively delivering RNAi drugs to continuously promote local bone regeneration, while simultaneously delivering immunomodulatory drugs to reduce inflammation and promote bone healing.
Pere Dosta Pons, PhD, is an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and a researcher in the Department of Medicine, Division of Engineering in Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is affiliated with the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. He received his master’s and PhD in bioengineering from the University of Ramon Llull, Spain. His work focuses on designing and engineering materials for biomedical applications to improve the effectiveness and safety of therapies currently used in the clinic.