Design and optimization of 3D scaffolds for orthopaedic devices and applications
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    Design and optimization of 3D scaffolds for orthopaedic devices and applications
    Project Description

    Bone defect repair remains a clinical challenge in the 21st century, because of the associated morbidity and the increasing incidence of traumatic injury and arthritis. With ageing populations and prolonged life expectancy, there is increasing demand for bone grafts and synthetic materials that can be used to replace, repair or regenerate lost, injured or diseased bone [1]. Historically, the gold standard has been to use either autografts (patient's own tissue) or allografts (donor tissue). Such materials actively promote healing and new bone formation by acting as biocompatible and osteoconductive structures that provide mechanical support and promote bone formation. Whilst autografts are still used in implanted bone procedures, limited availability and second site surgery issues have shifted the market rapidly towards the use of allografts. However, since allograft bone is not taken from the patient's own body, there is a higher risk of rejection and disease transmission as well as reduced efficacy due to reduced levels of growth factors present to stimulate the growth of new bone. To avoid these problems, synthetic biomaterials are increasingly being used.

    Bone grafts are used clinically in the treatment of many forms of bone tissue defect, such as fracture misalignment or non-union, critical-sized defects, maxillo-facial surgery and spinal fusion. An ideal bone graft substitute would alleviate these problems and reduce the need for both allografts and autografts. Currently, these traditional approaches constitute over 90% of all bone graft procedures. The reason for this shortfall in the use of tissue-engineered bone or osteoconductive synthetic scaffolds is that a biocompatible, mechanically competent and osteoconductive scaffolds that could be used to produce complete bone regeneration, still remain to be developed.

    Our novel ceramic materials and fabrication and design technology will open up opportunities for significantly improved interventions for treating large-bone defects, especially in load-bearing applications, and will have clear significance for bone tissue regeneration. This research will widen existing biomimetic methods and promote the development of biomimetics as a discipline.




        Groovy biomedical image Micro-CT image of scaffolds with high levels of porosity (80%), pore diameter (300-500 µm, see arrows), and interconnectivity (99%)  

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