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Intelligent materials to regenerate bone tissue

More than half a million people in the European Union and a million in the United States suffer from disorders in or serious defects of some part of their bone structure. Operations involving grafts or implants, required to mitigate the damage, depend decisively on the materials used.

The European Nanobiocom project, led by INASMET-Tecnalia with the help of others, is working on the regeneration and repair of bone tissue. Seven other bodies, leaders in innovation within this specialism, are also taking part in the project. The goal is to come up with a substitute for bone tissue that can put the bone right and regenerate in such a way that it carries out similar functions as in its natural state. From Spain the Institute of Biomechanics of Valencia and Progénika Biopharma S.A. are also participating.

In the case of substantial deterioration of the bone, it may be necessary for the implant to provide both functional and physiological properties of the damaged item. Given this hypothesis, the bone implants have to comply with a series of requisites capable of contributing to a reconstruction of the deteriorated bone tissue in the most efficient and least discomfiting manner, without any serious repercussion. Another exigency involves the carrying out of the mechanical functions of the damaged bone while the desired regeneration takes place.

The solutions have to be capable, moreover, of remedying particularly serious damage, such as those due to congenital deficiencies, degenerative illnesses, cancerous disorders and other damage caused by accidents. The implants required for this type of solutions are more complex and sophisticated than the small implants known to date. .

The Nanobiocom project aims at developing a support matrix (scaffold) of a compound material that is ‘intelligent’, proactive, and capable of repairing and regenerating bone tissue. To this end, it has to be bioactive, capable of acting on the tissue-generating system and its corresponding genes, as well as respond appropriately to the physiological and biological changes, both internal and external, of that system.

Also necessary are size and shape characteristics, as well as mechanical functions appropriate to healthy bones.

The specific tasks of the project focus on putting the finishing touches to the intelligent material, based on nanoparticles and of a biodegradable nature. Also to be developed is the cell culture in three dimensions, as well as ensuring the biocompatibility of the material.

Egoitz Etxebeste | basqueresearch
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