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Biologics Feature

Source: Wikimedia Commons and Nevit Dilmen

Bioresorbable Implant May Improve Fracture Healing

Tracey Romero • Wed, January 11th, 2017

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This January has kicked off a new U.S.-Ireland collaboration on a novel magnesium-based orthopedic implant that can be reabsorbed into the body once a fractured bone has healed.

The researchers at the Nanotechnology and Integrated BioEngineering Centre at Ulster University in Northern Ireland, the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centre for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials in the U.S. and the Science Foundation Centre for Research in Medical Devices at the National University of Ireland, Galway in the Republic of Ireland hope that this new device will reduce the need for a second surgery for implant removal and improve bone fracture healing. This device will be especially useful in pediatric patients whose bones are still growing.

According to Brian Meenan, professor at Ulster University and one of the lead researchers, the U.S.-based Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials will lead the development and processing of magnesium alloys with input from the other two institutions. At Ulster University, Meenan’s team will be responsible for the implementation surface engineering and coating of the magnesium alloys for enhanced regenerative biological function. Researchers at the Science Foundation Centre for Research in Medical Devices in the Republic of Ireland will be developing affordable solutions for a range of chronic diseases and will study how the device performs under physiological conditions.

Meenan told OTW that “the overall aim of this US-Ireland R&D Centre to Centre Partnership collaboration is to develop bioresorbable orthopedic implants made from novel high strength, high ductility magnesium and magnesium alloy systems that can replace the permanent metals/metal alloys in applications ranging from thin wires to thicker pins, rods and elastic stable intramedullary nails (ESINs), as well as meshes, for the treatment of complex bone fractures.”

“While it is recognized that permanent metals are mechanically superior to almost all forms of magnesium and its alloys in regard to their use in the fabrication of weight-bearing orthopedic implants, they also have a much higher modulus than that of bone and this can impede healing.”

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