Scientists at Nottingham are engineering plastic implants to help in the treatment of a variety of injuries.
Scientists at the Russell Group University will be using funding from the EPSRC worth £1.2 million, to pioneer research into new ways of manufacturing and producing nanoparticles and nanocomposites to be used for drug delivery and bone tissue regeneration.
“We will be combining hydroxyapatite nanoplatelets with resorbable plastics to create implant materials that will be able to fix things such as fractures”, said Andrew Parsons from Nottingham University’s faculty of engineering. Nanocomposites enable significant improvements in mechanical properties over other materials that are currently standard in certain areas of healthcare.
“Nanocomposites are well suited to use in this way as the bones of the body are already natural hydroxyapatite nanocomposites”, continued Parsons.
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The implants are plastic and will therefore be much lighter and far more flexible than current solutions. They will also generate less interference with X-Ray or MRI imaging, as well as airport scanners.
The team at Nottingham University are working in conjunction with a number of companies who will provide support both in a consultancy sense and also in ensuring that the right equipment is available to the team. The challenge for the scientists is to move the research from the lab stage, where the structures are currently being tested, into clinical trial stage and then to large scale manufacture.