Brookhaven Lab and BioSET develop a synthetic peptide that enhances the effect of 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 HepaSilTM, 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.

"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 Pea, 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," Pea 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 clinic

Contact: Diane Greenberg
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

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