Reportedly, last year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the central research and development agency for the US department of defense, accepted proposals to create and develop ‘fracture putty’. Its a new material that is likely to enhance the healing of soldiers who suffer traumatic wounds in the field of battle.

In particular, injuries sustained from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are difficult to treat due to the usually significant loss of bone and soft tissue. The fracture putty system is intended to provide substantial support to the injured limb early in the body’s natural healing process, so that the soldier can more quickly participate in physical therapy and thus reduce the risk of further complications.

The putty will then dissolve over time, leaving natural healthy bone in its place. Current standard treatment methods include permanent metal support devices such as plates, rods and bone screws, said the company.

Mitchell Zakin, program manager of DARPA, said: “Fracture putty represents the ultimate convergence of orthopaedic material science and mechanics, and has the potential to revolutionize the way patients are treated. If all technical challenges are met, we believe this innovative technology will provide superior clinical outcomes for patients.”

David Brumfield, vice president of product development at Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics’ Trauma franchise, said: “This announcement represents the spirit of innovation that drives Smith & Nephew scientists and engineers. We will use the full extent of our expertise, ground-breaking material technology and quality manufacturing to create the best possible treatment for those who have been injured while serving our country.”