Apr 11, 2016 | By Kira

Currently, osteoarthritis (OA) is considered to be the most frequent form of arthritis in humans, and the current global market in joint replacements—the most widely recognized treatment—is estimated to be in excess of €7 billion. Now, thanks to a new resorbable bioceramic material developed by European research project RESTORATION and partner JRI Orthopaedics, a 3D printed bioceramic implant may soon reach the market that could be applied to local defects within the joint, offering immediate stability for arthritis sufferers through only a minimally invasive surgical technique.

RESTORATION is a four-year European research project aimed at developing bioceramic and bioceramic composite materials for use in the medical industry. Coordinated by Newcastle University, RESTORATION has successfully developed resorbable three bioceramic materials that can be used in the vertebrae, mandible and knees, respectively. These specially developed biomaterials could greatly improve current orthopaedic and maxillofacial implants and surgeries and, in turn, patients' overall recovery and post-procedure quality of life.

Researchers have long been interested in using ceramic composite materials for the repair of bones and muscoskeletal defects, including arthritis, fractures and bone loss. This is because the materials mimic the structure of natural bones and can be designed to closely match the mechanical requirements of the implant sites. They also offer a range of bioactivity, from inert to fully resorbable, meaning that, unlike metal implants, once the bone is repaired, the material absorbs into the human body without leaving a trace. Currently, bioceramics are most commonly used in the dental industry, yet with new research, its applications could be greatly expanded.

The RESTORATION project itself is now coming to an end, however several partners have committed to continuing development and exploiting the project’s results in order to bring these new bioceramic technologies to market in the coming years.

Notably, JRI Orthopaedics, a British manufacturer of orthopaedic implants and surgical instrumentation, is considering creating a spin-off for the industrial scale-up of products developed within the project, including a bioceramic material to be used as a bone filler, and a 3D printed cylinder to treat osteochondral defects in the knee.

“OA puts significant pressure on healthcare systems and developing procedures which are minimally invasive and ‘day case’ will reduce this pressure, significantly delay or completely remove the need for a total joint replacement, and significantly enhance quality of life,” explained RESTORATION.

The ‘functionally gradient bioceramic composite’ 3D printed plugs, pictured above, were designed for osteochondral applications in the knee and could offer an early stage intervention for OA. Requiring only a minimally invasive surgical technique, the plugs would match the mechanical properties of the patient’s bone, offer immediate stability, and could be augmented by cells, proteins, growth factors and pharmaceuticals.

This isn’t the first time JRI Orthopaedics has shown interest in using 3D printing technology to advance its joint reconstruction, repair, and replacement products. Last year, the Sheffield-based company signed a key partnership with Materialise’s Mobelife to supply patient-specific 3D printed hip and shoulder implants for cases involving highly challenging bone and joint reconstruction surgery.

“The application of 3D printing technology is one of the most exciting developments in world orthopaedics,” said Michael Colling-Tuck, Hip Product Manager at JR Orthopaedics at the time of the Materialise deal. “We have expanded from off-the-shelve implants to customized solutions manufactured for a specific patient’s bone anatomy. This enables us to help patients with bone defects in the hip and shoulder which might, in the past, have been impossible to reconstruct.”

In addition to the 3D printed plugs, the RESTORATION project has begun development on an injectable bioactive ceramic bone filler could be used in vertebral compression fractures (VCF), a condition that affects approximately 35-50% of women and 20-30% of men. The new injectable bioactive ceramic paste actually repairs fractured vertebrae while stimulating bone regeneration and delivering specific drugs to the target site.

The third application of RESTORATION's resporbable bioceramic material is in maxillofacial bone factures. Researchers developed a bioceramic polymer plate that can be applied to the delicate and often hard-to-reach mandible bone and support it as it heals. For each of these applications, RESTORATION's SME partners are working to further develop and eventually commercialize resorbable bioceramic products for the medical market.

“The project has been a real success; all the partners have different interests in terms of exploitation but they benefited from the expertise of the others and developed strong research and business partnerships,” said Kenny Dalgarno, Professor at Newcastle University and RESTORATION project coordinator.

In addition to Newcastle University and JRI Orthopaedics, the RESTORATION project involved Sagetis Biotech, Universidade de Evora, Orla Protein Technologies, LEITAT, Karolinksa Instituet, Bionica Tech/Corep, Institute Quimic de Sarria, Glass Technology Services, and FPO. The project received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration.

What the video below for an excellent overview of RESTORATION's research and applications:



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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alvaro wrote at 4/11/2016 3:40:15 PM:

Amazing Project! . Soon it will change ( for the better ) many lifes .

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