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 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | 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: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

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...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

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...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

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...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>