The ten academic and industrial partners collaborating in the new EU research project SBR (Smart Bone Regeneration) aim to improve treatment options for patients with large bone defects. The targeted resorbable bone implant will be based on 3D-printed polymers and include advanced technologies for controlled delivery of active molecules to accelerate bone regeneration. Moreover, the included new sensor technologies will allow post-operative monitoring without regular X-ray examinations. During this project, GenesInk will develop and optimize highly conductive biocompatible inks based on metal nanoparticles and adapted to several printing processes for the elaboration of such sensor technologies. Running for a period of four years, the project will receive EUR 6.4 million funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme.
Autografts offer ideal compatibility, they are often not suitable for large bone defects, and allografts suffer from potential rejection by the patient’s immune system.
The interdisciplinary research consortium SBR has now set out to improve state-of-the-art interventions by combining a smart implant with innovative tissue-engineering methods, i.e. in-vitro programming of stem cells and bioactive agents. The 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. The smart implant will thus 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.
Link to the event page https://www.smart-bone-regeneration.eu/