The SBR project brings together experts from medicine, biochemical, pharmaceutical and material sciences, engineering and industry for solving an unmet challenge in the management of bone loss and bone repair. We will focus on the development of a next-stage technology for bone defect restoration and non-union treatment by designing smart regeneration implants integrated with ex-theatre and in-theatre manufacturing technologies. The bone defect model has been chosen as it represents a challenging clinical condition, associated with lengthy treatment, increased health care cost and re-interventions.
The SBR solution will contain 3D-printed polymer parts enriched with electrospun fibers that can be customised according to the individual patient’s physiology, pathology and gender. The framework design will ensure easy placement and include adjustable sensors for post-operative monitoring of e.g. pressure, pH value and temperature. Thus, the smart implant will be able to provide vital information of implant performance in terms of bone growth and infection/inflammation. Within the project lifetime of four years, the in-vivo proof of concept of the SBR solution will be tested in preclinical studies. In the long term, the innovation has the potential to be used in isolation during fracture fixation and become a platform technology for bone conditions at different anatomical sites, including the jaw, spine and pelvis.
In the course of the project lifetime, SBR will:
- Establish the ideal specifications of the SBR implant using digital image modelling of long bones
- Fabricate a host matrix for the active materials using electrospinning
- Evaluate the suitability of the respective technologies and materials for scale-up
- Develop and produce AAV vectors expressing reporter genes or growth factors and optimise delivery systems for controlled release of bioactive agents
- Develop a biosensor to monitor the bone repair processes and evolution of healing
- Evaluate the safety, biocompatibility and effectiveness of the implant device in preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies