Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - BIOBONE (BIOCERAMICS FOR BONE REPAIR)

BioBone

The continuous advances in the treatment of damaged and diseased bone are leading to a strong demand for new treatments and the qualified professionals able to develop and implement them. Due to their unique properties, the use of ceramics for bone substitution and engineering is expanding fast. Ceramics are currently making inroads in high volume applications such as dental or orthopedic implants. However, much work is still needed for them to reach their full potential. This work will demands new scientist and engineers with multidisciplinary backgrounds incorporating fields as diverse as materials science and engineering, orthopedics, tissue engineering, biology, chemistry and biomedical engineering. The final objective of BioBone is to train young researchers to fill this demand in the strategic area of bioceramics for bone repair. A comprehensive approach will help to address some of the bottlenecks in the field and form new professionals that will help bioceramics to reach their full medical and commercial potential.

Research

Research in the project is organized around three work packages 1) biodegradation and mechanical properties, 2) new materials and structures and 3) cell/material interactions. One of the goals is to address the existing fragmentation in the field that divides the use of bioceramics in “bioinert” implants and “bioactive” tissue engineering scaffolds. This division ignores common issues like the need to control cell/material interactions or to maintain good mechanical response in the physiological environment. Specific projects cover areas from the processing of bioceramic scaffolds or bio-inspired composites, the synthesis of new hybrid materials, the control of ion release, the effect of surface topography and chemistry on protein adsorption and cell response, the study of biodegradation (both experimentally and theoretically). Milestones were reached on schedule (annex II). Highlights include the development of new composite materials such as bio-inspired composites that take clues from the structure of natural materials (nacre or bone) to combine high strength and fracture resistance or printable organic-inorganic hybrids with unique mechanical response and controlled biodegradation rates; the development of protocols to modify the chemistry and microtopography of implants and study in vitro their effect on protein adsorption and cell response; the formulation of reliable approaches to quantify biodegradation that can be translated to practical materials and of theoretical models to understand the aging mechanisms of zirconia-based bio-inert implants; new techniques for the surface engineering of ceramic-based implants incorporating drug delivery capabilities; the processing of glass bone engineering scaffolds with controlled ion release and the systematic in vitro study of the effect of this release. Overall, the work covers a wide area of aspects all related to the processing and application of bioceramics.

Training and outreach

One of the project goals was to design a comprehensive training itinerary incorporating hands-on training through collaborative, multidisciplinary research projects with continuous education in workshops and meetings. This training is combined with education in critical professional skills from communication abilities to health and safety regulations.

On hand training took place through the corresponding research projects and the participation in outreach and management activities (maintaining the web page, creating a newsletter, participation in management meetings...). To ensure that the projects will provide exposure to the key areas in the field of biomaterials (from biology to processing or mechanical behaviour) a secondment program was designed to provide a comprehensive training itinerary while ensuring a successful development of the project. All researchers performed at least six months overall secondment in a second and third institutions (annex I). A career development plan for every individual researcher was prepared and reviewed by the industrial partners. The ESRs research projects were also geared towards attaining a PhD degree. At the end of the project all ESRs have a clear plan and dates to pass their PhD exam within 2016.

In addition, and to complete their training all ESRs and ERs in the project attended courses in international schools, within their host institutions and also those workshops organized by the project. BioBone workshops covered scientific areas (bio ceramics processing, advanced structural characterization, cell-material interactions, mechanical characterization in bulk and surface, surface engineering and characterization) as well as soft skills such as scientific writing, academic planning, web editing or regulations. The complete training list is summarized in annex II and can be found in the network web page (www.bioboneitn.eu).

Most of the network workshops and courses were open to external attendants. In addition, the network is organizing different outreach activities for scientists and engineers as well as for the general public. Together with two other European projects on the field of biomaterials for bone repair (Longlife and MATCh) the network organized sessions in the 25th European Conference on Biomaterials at Madrid and in the 2014 E-MRS fall meeting (Bioceramics for Bone and Joint Repair, Warsaw September 16-20 2014). These sessions reached more than 150 attendants from outside BioBone. BioBone hosted a booth in the Imperial College Festival (6-8, May 2014) with the Centre for Advanced Structural Ceramics at Imperial College to explain its activities and provide information about the field of bioceramics to the general public. Finally in October 2015 the network organized symposium in Santiago de Compostela Spain with the objective to provide a forum for young scientists to meet some of the work leaders in the field of bioceramics, present their work and discuss their research. The workshop was attended by 70 scientists and engineers from academy and industry in Europe, Asia and North America. Overall, the BioBone workshops, sessions and symposiums reached more than 400 researchers from outside the network.

As part of the outreach and training activities the network published a periodic newsletter, edited by the researchers that was widely distributed. The researchers with the support of the technical manager maintained a web page (www.bioboneitn.eu) that contains information on research, training and outreach. The website and newsletter disseminated all the information regarding BioBone workshops and symposiums.

Dissemination

The ESR and ER have presented their work in international conferences including MRS, Termis or the European Ceramic Society meeting between others. Overall, more than fifty presentations and posters have resulted from the work performed in BioBone. These presentations have gathered different prizes such as the best presentation in the fall meeting of E-MRS (Gil Machado) or the best poster award at ICFPAM 2013, New Zealand (Francesca Talia) or a finalist in the Biomedical YES competition (Elena Littman).

The results from the work have been published in high impact scientific journals including PNAS, Advanced Functional Materials, ACS nano, Acta Biomaterialia. Materials Letters, the Journal of the European Ceramic Society or Materials Today (cover article) between others. Currently there have been seventeen published papers with around twenty in preparation (list of published papers is available as an annex). The work has also resulted in three patent applications.

In addition the network has agreed with the Journal of the European Ceramic Society the publication of a special issue with papers from the ESR and ER focusing on the work performed in BioBone. This issue is expected to appear in early 2017.

Management

The network appointed a technical manager (Dr. Amutha Devaraj) to support all the management activities and coordinate the work. Management meetings with one representative for each partner plus the technical manager and a representative of the ER and ESRs took place every six months as scheduled. A protected subpage was created within the BioBone web site that contains all regulation documents and internal reports for the partners including career development pland (CDP) and mid-term review (MTR). Information is also shared and exchange in a network drop-box. A forum for ESR/ER communications was also opened and managed by the researches in Wiggio (BioBone).

Deliverables and Milestones of the project

A template for milestone and deliverable report is created individually and the reports obtained from partners at the respective time line are recorded and are available in the BioBone drop box. The deliverable summary is available as annex-III.

Related information

Reported by

IMPERIAL COLLEGE OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND MEDICINE
United Kingdom
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