Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New natural plastic extends life of bone implant

31.10.2007
Stainless steel will be replaced by fiber composites. This is the future for bone implants, according to a team of EU researchers who will be meeting at a conference hosted by the University College of Borås, Sweden, on November 5-6.

They are collaborating on research into the technological properties of composites that have a better capacity to adapt to the skeleton, thereby hopefully eliminating risky re-operations.

These scientists are part of a major EU-funded project that goes by the name of NEWBONE. The whole team comprises researchers from nine countries. Osteoporosis is a common and costly disease for society today. Skeletal cancer and serious bone fractures also require expensive treatment. Normally worn parts are replaced with bone implants of metal, but one problem is that the implants need to be replaced after a time. The aim of NEWBONE is to find replacement materials that allow the bone's tissue to be recreated.

"We want to increase the compatibility of the new material with the human skeleton and reduce the number of risky re-operations," explains Mikael Skrifvars, professor of polymer technology at the University College of Borås, and one of the researchers in the project.

"We're working with a variant of fiber composites (that is, reinforced plastics) that have properties that are compatible with the bones of the skeleton. This means that the mechanical properties of the implant will be the same as those of the bone and that the implant will function well together with the skeleton," continues Karri Airola, a researcher at the University College of Borås.

Cost-effective
"The new bone implant would offer several advantages compared with metal implants. With metal implants, there is sometimes a risk that the patient will have to undergo another operation, to replace the implant. For implants made of fiber composite, this risk is smaller, since the properties of the fiber composite more closely mimic those of the bone."

"The new implant materials represent a new technology that needs to be developed. The combination of polymers and fiberglass provides very strong materials, and when their surface has been treated with bioactive glass, these implants can grow together with bone tissue. On top of this, new production methods will need to be introduced."

A knee or hip implant is estimated to cost roughly SEK 90,000 (USD 14,000). Together with the cost of rehabilitation, this amounts to an annual cost of about EUR 80 million for just over one million inhabitants. It is therefore necessary to develop new materials that last longer and do not need to be replaced after a while.

Growing problem
According to information from NEWBONE research groups, the global implant market has an annual turnover of USD 1,000 million, a figure that is increasing by 20 percent each year.
"People who suffer sports injuries, have been involved in a traffic accident, or have developed bone cancer and the like all need implants, and they represent potential customers on the implant market," says Karri Airola, who maintains that this research is receiving high priority, which explains the large EU investment in the field.

The final research results are expected to be presented in 2011, with possible production of the new materials starting after that.

FACTS
NEWBONE
An EU project involving 16 organizations from nine EU countries (Finland, France, Belgium, the U.K., Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and Sweden). The total budget for the project is about EUR 6.5 million, and the funding comes from the EU Sixth Framework Program. The project targets small to medium-size companies, and more than half of the participants are companies. The University College of Borås is the only participant from Sweden.
Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease that involves the partial loss of calcium and strength in the skeleton. Astronauts are usually diagnosed with osteoporosis when they return to earth. The weightlessness of space entails that they do not exercise their skeleton and the bone cells lose the ability to regenerate. Osteoporosis can also arise when a person has received an implant. For example, in a hip transplant, the implanted hip-joint prosthesis carries part of the weight of the body, so the bone cells have a lighter load, which means that they do not regenerate to the same degree.

In the hip joint, the joint socket of the pelvis is the cavity that surrounds the joint head of the thighbone. The joint head is held in place by the joint socket. The play between the joint socket and the joint head is what allows the leg to move. This play that was previously achieved in a natural manner can be recreated after a fracture with the help of a bone implant.

Annie Andréasson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.hb.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator
23.02.2018 | University of Turku

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>