Bioprinted Hydrogels Aim to Improve Implant Integration

12.1.2017

Teams from Fraunhofer CMI in Boston, USA and Fraunhofer IPT in Aachen, Germany combined efforts to generate novel scaffolds

© Photo Fraunhofer CMI

Bioprinted scaffolds stain bright red for calcium when incubated with bone-producing cells

Published 10 January 2017 • © 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd

Bioprinted Hydrogels Aim to Improve Implant Integration

Teams from Fraunhofer CMI in Boston, USA and Fraunhofer IPT in Aachen, Germany combined efforts to generate novel scaffolds that seek to improve biological compatibility of titanium implants.  Total hip replacement, in which the femoral head and part of the pelvis is replaced with titanium, is the most common orthopedic intervention.  While historically quite successful, an aging population and increasing obesity rates means that many more patients will require this surgery.  Titanium implants, although generally tolerated by the body, fail to adequately interface with the bone.  Implants loosen over time, grinding down the bone marrow and necessitating additional surgeries.  To provide an ideal biologically-based adhesion between bone and metal, CMI used their 3D bioprinter to create a hydrogel scaffold that could be grafted to the implant.  The scaffold was able to mimic the bone and trigger bone-producing cells to deposit new calcium directly onto titanium.  IPT generated several distinct titanium surfaces that successfully improved grafting capabilities.  Together, these biologically-inspired engineering solutions pave the way towards better surgical outcomes for the patient and help them get back on their feet faster and for longer.                              

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