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Brookhaven Lab and BioSurface Engineering Technologies, Inc. Develop a Synthetic Peptide That Enhances the Effect of a Bone Growth Factor, BMP-2

UPTON, NY - Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and BioSurface Engineering Technologies, Inc. (BioSET) have developed a synthetic peptide that enhances the effects of a tissue growth factor known as bone morphogenetic protein 2, or BMP-2. BMPs are a family of proteins in the human body responsible for the proliferation, repair, and differentiation of cells in many tissues, including bone.

The researchers designed one portion of the peptide to target the BMP-2 receptor molecules that occur on the surface of bone-forming stem cells and another portion to interact with BioSET's drug-binding agent HepaSil™, a heparin-based product. The peptide, called B2A2, is one of a series of synthetic analogs of naturally occurring growth factors being developed in the Brookhaven/BioSET collaboration.

This research is reported in the November 8th online version of the Journal of Bone & Mineral Research.

Photo of Pena, Lin and Zamora

Click on the image to download a high-resolution version. (From left) BioSET's Paul Zamora and Brookhaven National Laboratory's Xinhua Lin and Louis Peña prepare synthetic peptide B2A2 for use in bone-healing experiments that involve the bone growth factor BMP-2.

"Our study shows that a small amount of the peptide that we developed increases the effectiveness of BMP-2 as much as 40 times," said Brookhaven scientist Louis Peña, senior author of the paper. "This peptide unlocks a synergy with BMP-2. In a cell culture model, we used BMP at doses too low to have any observable effect by itself, and the same was true for the B2A2 peptide. But when the two were added together in the same low doses, the cells were strongly triggered to develop into bone-forming cells.

"First-generation BMP-impregnated medical devices are currently used clinically for spine repair and to accelerate the healing of long bones," Peña continued. "These devices show effectiveness in inducing bone repair, but there is concern over the high levels of the growth factors that are currently required. An agent that decreases the amount of BMP needed or one that can recruit the body's own growth factors to be more effective could have a substantial clinical benefit."

The growth factor analogs developed in the Brookhaven/BioSET collaboration are synthetic peptides that are chemically more stable and easier to produce than natural growth factors or growth factors derived by recombinant protein techniques. BioSET has an exclusive license to develop and market these bioactive analogs.

Thomas Roueché, BioSET's president, said, "We are fortunate to enjoy a fruitful collaboration. This class of peptide and others under development supports the concept of design-targeted synthetic peptides for specific tissue regeneration applications. The Brookhaven/BioSET collaboration continues to yield very promising results aimed at replicating human growth factors, and we look forward to further validating the potential of these peptides to enhance the body's healing capacity, especially when combined with orthopedic implants."

He added, "We believe the future of orthopedics will continue evolving towards combination products, such as devices that have been biologically enhanced. For example, approved growth factor-type combination device products are currently valued at over $1.6 billion. Our ability to bring new bioactive peptides into the mix of new product development positions us at the leading edge of an important evolution in orthopedic medicine."

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and BioSET.

About BioSET

BioSurface Engineering Technologies, Inc., is a private, development stage company dedicated to bringing therapeutic combinations to medical devices to improve performance and patient well being. BioSET's synthetic peptides for tissue regeneration either separately or in combination with the HepaSil™ drug delivery linker technology continue to show promising results in pre-clinical studies for enhancing tissue repair in the fields of vascular, orthopedic and chronic wound diseases. The company is positioned to capitalize on the convergence of drugs/biologics with medical devices as combination products and seeks to offer their novel peptides and methods of delivery to surgical implant industry partners. For more information, visit BioSET's website at:

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