July 19, 2024

New Implantable Composite Material Designed to Accelerate Bone Healing and Prevent Infection

Researchers have developed an innovative implantable composite material that could revolutionize the treatment of severely broken bones. The substance, created as part of the German-government-funded SCABAEGO (Scaffold Bioactive Glass-Enhanced Osteogenesis) project, aims to stimulate rapid bone tissue growth while preventing infections at the wound site.

The collaborative project involves the Department of Trauma and Reconstructive Surgery at Heidelberg University Hospital, medical engineering company BellaSeno, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials.

The process begins with a CT scan of the patient’s broken bone, which is used to create a custom-fit three-dimensional scaffold made from the composite material. This scaffold is then surgically implanted into the broken bone, filling the void left by the missing bone tissue. To enhance structural strength, the composite material combines a biodegradable polymer called polycaprolactone and bioactive glass.

The bioactive glass used in the composite material raises the pH level of the break site to an alkaline level. This alkaline environment may inhibit the growth of bacteria, reducing the risk of infection. As the bioactive glass interacts with bodily fluids, it undergoes a transformation into hydroxylapatite, a compound that closely resembles bone.

According to Dr. Tobias Gro├čner, trauma surgeon and head of experimental trauma surgery at Heidelberg University Hospital, the scaffold will biodegrade fully and transform into bone within six to seven years.

The researchers have already initiated preclinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of the technology. They are also fine-tuning the formulation of the composite material to maximize the bioactive glass content while maintaining its structural strength.

If successful, this implantable composite material could significantly improve the treatment of severe bone fractures by promoting quicker bone regeneration and minimizing the risk of infection. This development has the potential to enhance patient outcomes and reduce healing times for individuals with broken bones.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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