Research group applies nanocoating technology to a 'living interface' between implants and bone

Published: 12 December 2008 at 10:57

New multi-layer coating containing biological substances improves the reliability and durability of surgical implants

A Medical Engineering Research Group, based in the East of England, has won a Translational Research Award in Orthopaedics from the Medical Futures Innovation Awards 2008 (MFIA2008).

A strategic collaboration between the Medical Engineering Research Group of Anglia Ruskin University, the Micro and Nanotechnology Centre of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Electrospinning Company Ltd and Symmetry Medical led to the prestigious MFIA2008 award. 

The technology involves a unique surface engineering process that is being developed at the Micro and Nanotechnology Centre at the Science and Technology Facilities Council. This brand new process, adds micro and nano sized hair like structures to the surface which creates a ‘living interface’ between artificial implants and bone. The addition of a multilayer coating containing biological substances, such as growth factors and antibiotics, could improve bony integration, arterial and venous proliferation and reduce infection. This space-age technology could revolutionise the reliability and durability of surgical implants, such as hip and knee replacements.

Hundreds of applications were made for the MFIA08 in a number of therapy areas including cancer, cardiovascular disease, dentistry, ENT, ophthalmology and orthopaedics and only 20 were awards were given.

A Medical Futures Innovation Award is one of the UK’s most sought after healthcare and business accolades, rewarding ground-breaking innovation from front line clinicians and scientists and ideas that have the potential to transform peoples' lives and demonstrate the UK's position as a world leader. The judging is performed by a panel of the most distinguished doctors and business leaders in the country.

Dr Robert Stevens (the Electrospinning Company Ltd), Dr Rajshree Mootanah (Anglia Ruskin University), Mr Mansel Williams (the Micro and Nanotechnology Centre) and Mr Julian Fairman (Symmetry Medical) received recognition for the medical and commercial potential of their technology at the MFIA08 awards ceremony on 2 December 2008. 

Dr Rajshree Mootanah, Director of the Medical Engineering Research Group said,

“This groundbreaking technology could result in wide-scale clinical applications and improve quality of life. We are very pleased to be a recipient of the MFIA08 award and are committed to work on this exciting research project.”

This strategic collaboration was initiated at the 4th Medical Engineering Research Conference in September 2008 at Anglia Ruskin University. The concept developed was to transfer technology of the nano surface engineering process to orthopaedic implants, using computer simulations (finite element methods) to predict the effectiveness of the coated prostheses.