A brand new process that could revolutionise the reliability and durability of surgical implants, such as hip and knee replacements, has today , 2 December 08, received recognition for its medical and commercial potential by achieving one of the world’s most sought after accolades.
A team of researchers, led by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), has received a Medical Futures Innovation Award for its high technology process designed to coat surgical implants with fibres that, for the first time, will encourage the implant to ‘bond’ with living bone and to last the lifetime of the patient.
This unique surface engineering process is being developed at the Micro-Nano Technology Centre (MNTC) at STFC. In collaboration with the Electrospinning Company Ltd (TECL) and Anglia Ruskin University, the concept will be taken forward under the guidance of a Medical Futures team, and eventually exclusively licensed to TECL, a spin out company of STFC.
This advanced nanotechnology technique builds on an existing technique known as electrospinning, and will utilise a vastly superior electrospinning source to create bespoke fibrous materials. Electrospinning is a process that uses an electrical charge to turn polymers into extremely thin fibres that are ‘spun’ to form a mat of fine fibres. It is seen as a platform technology for the medical sector with a wide range of applications including tissue regeneration and drug delivery. The MNTC has developed systems to increase the production rate of nanofibres which has been previously prevented this technology from being adopted by industry.
In this case, nanosized hair- like structures, a thousand times thinner than the width of a human hair, are electrospun at MNTC and added to the surface of an orthopaedic implant to create a ‘living interface’ between the artificial implants and living bone. Not only does this improve the performance of the implants it also significantly increases their durability to last the lifetime of the patient. Any stress on the implant is relieved, making it more reliable and durable. Additionally, it is also possible to add a unique biological coating that can facilitate growth and improve the bonding of healthy tissue to the implant, primarily benefitting patients with osteoarthritis in the aging population and sports injuries in the younger population.
This process will be transferred to UK industry and TECL will provide access to state-of-the-art electrospinning systems. TECL has spun out from STFC to provide open access to electrospinning equipments and expertise to organisations that would like to explore the technique’s potential. The main benefit is that this can be done without commercial companies committing to capital investment or developing in-house expertise until the potential value of electrospinning to the organisation is fully understood. TECL is based both at the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus in Cheshire and at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, and was founded by CLIK, the wholly-owned technology exploitation company of STFC. TECL’s specialised facilities are designed to extend current electrospinning capabilities so that nanofibres can be reproduced in volume.
Dr Robert Stevens, Head of the MNTC at STFC said: “This award provides a major step forward for the future of patients requiring surgical implants and I am thrilled that this concept was selected as an award winner over several hundred entries. Our award is given for translational research innovation to meet the current and future orthopaedic needs of patients.”
Mansel Williams, Chief Executive of The Electrospinning Company said: “Ten percent of patients receiving surgical implants go on to develop infection and loosening of their implants, costing the UK at least £14 million every year, £224 million globally. We want to eliminate this by creating the ideal implant surface matched to the individual patient, benefitting both the patient and the economy. This award will now allow us to scale up the testing and commercialisation of these implants”
The Medical Futures Innovation Awards, which were announced at the Medical Futures Innovators Gallery in London, are one of the UK’s most highly coveted medical awards, rewarding ground-breaking innovation from front line clinicians and scientists with ideas that have the potential to transform peoples' lives and demonstrate the UK's position as a world beater.
Wendy Taylor MCIPR | alfa
XXL computed tomography: a new dimension in X-ray analysis
17.05.2018 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Why we need erasable MRI scans
26.04.2018 | California Institute of Technology
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering