Development of a graded resorbable implant for the treatment of segmental bone defects

The joint project MimeticBone supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) was honoured by the Medical Technology Innovation Competition Award 2010 of the BMBF. The overall objective of this project is to develop a synthetically produced resorbable bone replacement that mimics the structure of natural bone (open porous structure inside, compact structure outside). When sections of long-bones are removed due to a tumor or inflammation, or if they are destroyed because of a traumatic incident, it is often problematic to adequately treat such bone defects. Using a special manufacturing technique a graded calciumphosphate structure will be developed, which is also capable to replace load-bearing bone segments. In addition the calciumphosphate structure will be infiltrated with a degradable polymer and functionalized with bioactive factors.

For achieving a complete degradation of an implant in vivo through gradual replacement of the defect by native bone tissue, it is necessary to set the parameters of the pore size, porosity and interconnectivity of the pores independently targeted to the optimal medical outcomes. The main task of the project is concerned therefore with two key areas of an in vivo degradable bone implant: first, how scaffolds made of calciumphosphate can be prepared with a defined pore size, porosity and interconnectivity. On the other hand, how the graded structure of natural bone can be imitated in terms of biomimetics in order to increase the mechanical strength of the implant structure. As such scaffolds currently are not available on the market, this innovation has the potential to reach a promising market position after the further development to a medical device has been finished. To achieve the goals of this joint project three university partners and two industrial companies are involved.