New bone implant technology using techniques normally used to make catalytic converters

Dec 04, 2008
Monolity. Credit: University of Warwick

A method of producing synthetic bone, using techniques normally used to make catalytic converters for cars, is being developed by researchers at WMG at the University of Warwick.

The team is now working closely with Warwick Ventures, the University's technology transfer office, to find a suitable partner to help commercialise the technology, and will be presenting their work on 9 December at the national university technology showcase event, Bioversity.

WMG's Dr Kajal Mallick is developing the technique along with his postgraduate researcher James Meredith. They strongly believe it could offer substantial clinical benefits to patients undergoing bone implant surgery.

The technique involves state-of-the-art extrusion of the implant material through a mould, to produce a 3-dimensional honeycomb texture, with uniform pores throughout. The material can then be sculpted by the surgeon to precisely match the defect. After implantation bone cells will be transported into the implant and begin to form new bone.

"We worked with a Japanese company which manufactures catalytic converters and used their facility to produce samples which we could then test in the laboratory," explains Dr Mallick.

"We found that we were able to use calcium phosphates – a family of bioceramics that are routinely used in bone implant operations, but by using this technique we were able to improve significantly both the strength and porosity of the implant."

Dr Mallick added: "At the present time, there is no product available in the market place that satisfies both these key properties simultaneously. It is nearly an ideal scaffold structure for efficient blood flow and formation of new bone cells."

The increased strength of the material means it could be used in spinal surgery, or in revision hip and knee operations, where currently non-degradable materials such as titanium or steel may be used. The advantage of increased and interconnected porosity is that the implant can quickly be filled with blood vessels, resulting in a more rapid healing process.

James Meredith is working to complete an Engineering Doctorate in this research area. He says: "The synthetic bone we are developing is as strong as normal healthy bone yet porous enough to allow bone cells to inhabit it and generate new bone. Over a period of time, we expect the synthetic bone will resorb, leaving only natural bone. I hope that if we can find an industrial partner to take this to market, we will enable treatment of conditions which up to this point have only been possible using metal replacement parts or low strength foam-like bone substitutes."

Source: University of Warwick

Explore further: What to do with kidneys from older deceased donors?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Virtual-twin plan could support surgery for soldiers

Feb 16, 2015

A Saturday story in the MIRROR.CO.UK, the online edition of the Daily Mirror, carried a headline that made readers look once, twice, three times: "'Virtual twins' could save lives as doctors prepare to te ...

3-D printers to make human body parts? It's happening

Feb 04, 2015

It sounds like something from a science fiction plot: So-called three-dimensional printers are being used to fashion prosthetic arms and hands, jaw bones, spinal-cord implants - and one day perhaps even living human body ...

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.