Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Innovative concept for knee cartilage treatment

09.10.2013
Researchers have developed a material that can be used for the controlled release of a substance when subjected to cyclic mechanical loading. This work, carried out within the context of the National Research Programme “Smart Materials” (NRP 62), offers a potential treatment method for specific tissues such as knee cartilage.

In order to regenerate, knee cartilage, paradoxically, needs to be placed under mechanical stress, as happens whenever we take a step and our knees take our weight. When stimulated in this way, the cartilage cells develop receptors that are sensitive to the growth factors produced by the organism.

It is also at this very moment that they would be most receptive to medication. Working on this basis, Dominique Pioletti and Harm-Anton Klok from EPF Lausanne have developed a smart material that only releases a substance when the material is mechanically loaded.

Threshold effect
As they describe in a recent publication (*), their material takes the form of a hydrogel matrix, liposome-type nanoparticles and, finally, a payload – in this case a dye. When subjected to cyclic mechanical loading, the hydrogel matrix heats up. Once subjected to heat, the diameter of the liposomes shrinks significantly. This frees up space in the matrix, increasing its permeability and facilitating the release of the dye from the matrix. “One of the main difficulties has been the development of nanoparticles that respond to our specification,” explains Dominique Pioletti. “Basically, for the concept to work, their response to the heating process must have a very clear threshold between the two to three degrees that separate the static and stimulated states.”

The researchers then wanted to verify that it was actually the heating process resulting from the repetition of the mechanical loading that caused the dye to be released. During an initial experiment, the material was subjected to cyclic mechanical loading but the heat produced was evacuated in order to prevent any local temperature increase in the material. “This test enabled us to exclude a sponge-type function, whereby the dye was only being released as a result of the pressure,” explains Dominique Pioletti. During a second experiment, the nanoparticles were removed. The matrix heated up as expected due to the cyclic mechanical loading but none of the dye was released. The researchers concluded that the three elements of the composite material were required for the system as a whole to function as intended.

Long-term prospects
Whilst the researchers have been able to demonstrate the validity of their concept, Dominique Pioletti stresses that a future treatment is still a long way off. “First of all we need to develop a hydrogel and nanoparticles that are safe and biodegradable, before progressing to clinical trials. And, above all, we need to find partners interested in investing in our project.”
National Research Programme “Smart Materials” (NRP 62)
NRP 62 is a cooperation programme between the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Innovation Promotion Agency (CTI). The programme's aim is not only to promote scientific excellence but also to promote the successful industrial exploitation of smart materials and their application. NRP 62 also strives to link up the available skills and resources of various research institutions in Switzerland. The research work provides the technologies required to develop smart materials and the structures needed to integrate these. Having started its second phase at the beginning of 2013, NRP 62 now consists of 14 projects whose funding has been continued thanks to their high potential for practical application. NRP 62 will come to an end in 2015.
(*)Mohamadreza Nassajian Moghadam, Vitaliy Kolesov, Arne Vogel, Harm-Anton Klok and Dominique P. Pioletti (2013). Controlled release from a mechanically-stimulated thermosensitive self-heating composite hydrogel. Biomaterials online: doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.09.065

(available in pdf format from the SNSF to media representatives only: com@snf.ch)

Contact
Prof. Dominique P. Pioletti
Laboratory of Biomechanical Orthopedics
EPFL
CH-1015 Lausanne
Phone: +41 21 693 83 41
E-mail: dominique.pioletti@epfl.ch
http://lbo.epfl.ch

Abteilung Kommunikation | idw
Further information:
http://www.nrp62.ch
http://www.snf.ch/F/medias/communiques

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump
14.11.2018 | Rice University

nachricht Automated adhesive film placement and stringer integration for aircraft manufacture
15.11.2018 | Fraunhofer IFAM

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>