Orthopedic Implant uses Stem Cells to Increase Strength and Longevity

Published date : 06 September 2012
Article date : 05 September 2012

Medgadget reports that University of Glasgow, Scotland, researchers have developed an orthopedic implant that could very well last for the rest of a patient’s life. They say that the key ingredient of the super strong implant is Invibio Biomaterial Solutions‘ PEEK-OPTIMA which is an advanced polymer that is already commonly used in spinal and other orthopedic implants.

Apparently, PEEK is both biocompatible and flexible as its mechanical properties are similar to those of bone. PEEK implants can flex and exercise the surrounding bone which promotes bone regeneration.

The article says that current implants use polyethylene, stainless steel, titanium or ceramic which each have their own drawbacks ranging from biocompatability issues, which could lead to infection, to inflexibility, which can lead to the loss of bone density. Moreover, when an implant is placed, it is usually held in place by a rod that is fixed into the marrow of a bone. Bone marrow, which is rich in stem cells that can differentiate into many different kinds of cells, tends to differentiate into soft tissue, weakening he bond between bone and implant and leading to replacement surgery after 20 or so years.

According to the researchers, the orthopedic implant addresses many of these issues. They say that the implant is covered with a special surface consisting of tiny pits 120 nanometers in diameter. The pitted surface encourages stem cells to differentiate into bone cells and fuse to the implant, creating a much stronger bond between bone and implant.

Source:  Scott Jung, Medgadget, 04 Sept 2012

Read the full article here

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