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Biomaterials and Additive Manufacturing: Osteochondral Scaffold innovation applied to osteoarthritis

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BAMOS (Biomaterials and Additive Manufacturing: Osteochondral Scaffold innovation applied to osteoarthritis)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-12-31

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions as identified in Bone & Joint Decade. This degenerative joint disease affects around 0.4 billion people’s life, with patients in Europe accounting for up to 30%. The figure is set to increase with the ageing problem. Patients with OA often suffer pain, loss of mobility and go on to require an end stage total joint replacement. This will happen when the loss of quality of cartilage and bone at the joint interface has significantly reduced the quality of life of the patient, and non-surgical treatments are no longer effective.

The project Biomaterials and Additive Manufacturing: Osteochondral Scaffold (BAMOS) innovation applied to osteoarthritis particularly addresses the challenges in OA treatment by providing novel cost effective osteochondral scaffold technology for early intervention of OA to delay or avoid the joint replacement operations. This project has the potential to relieve pain in patients with OA improving their quality of life by keeping people active. It fits with the scope of EU Societal Challenges to encourage the provision of improved clinical care for patients in the field of healthcare, especially for elderly patients. In the course of developing this new treatment for mid- to late stage OA, BAMOS aims to establish and embed a new collaboration between seven internationally leading research organisations (from Europe and China).

BAMOS will develop new materials and additive manufacturing technologies for the fabrication of custom-tailored osteochondral scaffolds that will bridge the gap between small osteochondral defect treatment and joint replacement. The new technologies will undergo full pre-clinical evaluation in order that the scaffolds are able to enter clinical trial after the project.

This BAMOS project will bring together international leading research centres with wide-ranging complementary research expertise in the context of a collaborative scheme of research exchange and networking. to:

• Define clinical specifications of the osteochondral scaffolds and the clinical delivery procedures to be used.
• Develop new osteochondral scaffold biomaterials in order to provide appropriate mechanical environment for support bone and cartilage formation simultaneously. Novel biopolymeric composites, processed by additive manufacturing, will be characterized and tested as well as coatings on titanium scaffolds.
• Develop innovative additive manufacturing techniques to produce patient-tailored osteochondral scaffold for large osteochondral defect repairs. Also, thermal welding technique will be used to join the cartilage component with the bone component to form an osteochondral unit.
• Assess the osteochondral scaffolds in both in vitro disease relevant model and in vivo clinical animal model. The scaffold will be ready at the end of the project for clinical trial.
• Train early stage researchers in the context of collaborative research, equip them with the advanced knowledge and expertise to tackle grand societal healthcare challenges and enable them to building the world class scientific research profile.
The project BAMOS has been launched on January 2017, coordinated by the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) and funded under the Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) action (H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions). The international consortium includes partners from China and Europe: University College London (UCL), Universidade do Minho (UMINHO), Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (RNOH), Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU), Shaanxi Hengtong Intelligent Machine Co, Ltd. (SHIM), Zhejiang University (ZJU) and the aforementioned coordinator Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC).

For the moment, 46 secondments have taken place, involving 34 staff members to complete a total stay time of more than 86 months. The secondees have participated in many training activities for adquiring knowledge related to cell culture protocols and procedures, mechanical characterization and imaging of the proposed scaffolds, joint replacement operations and clinical procedures for cartilage repair, molecular biology techniques, etc. Six publications have been published from the work carried out (three other papers are pending acceptance).

Dissemination activities carried out so far include the co-organization of the Hangzhou International Conference on Biomaterials, Bio-Design and Manufacturing (BDMC2018) in conjunction with H2020 BAMOS Project 2018 Meeting (26-28th August 2018). The conference was organized by ZJU (http://www.bdmcconference.org/). The event was arranged in the International Expo Centre and about 250 people attended this event, with high quality of the papers, posters, plenary speakers and keynote speakers. Besides, two workshops has been organized: the first one in TERM STEM /FORECAST 2017 (17th of November 2017 - Porto, Portugal) and the second one in the 5th TERMIS World Congress (5th September 2018 - Kyoto, Japan), as well as a Summer School on Additive Manufacturing at the State Key Lab for Manufacturing Systems Engineering of XJTU (23rd-24th August 2018).

The work carried out in BAMOS has been presented during 2018 at the Medical Technologies IKC and Regener8 Conference 2018 (Leeds, UK. 29 June 2018), the British Orthopaedic Research Society Conference 2018 (Leeds, UK. 10-11 September 2018) and at the 8th World Congress of Biomechanics 2018 (Dublin, Ireland. 10-13 June 2018).

Regarding communication actions, the website of the project (www.risebamos.eu) has received more than 19,000 visits. The latest news, forthcoming events and links of interest related to the BAMOS project are posted on this website. In addition, there is a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/projectbamos/) where staff under secondment can upload photos, videos, comments and publications related to the project.
1. Enhancing the potential and future career perspectives of the staff members: Either early stage researchers or experienced researchers have the opportunity to enhance their career development by taking advantage of the exchange program and knowledge transfer within BAMOS.
2. Development of new and lasting research collaborations: BAMOS will allow the collaboration between partners where most of them have not worked together so far. The porject will provide the opportunity to the partners to share knowledge from different fields but with high level of complementarity.
3. Self-sustainability of the partnership after the end of the project: BAMOS is expected to create strong links of future collaboration since partners will realize of mutual benefit of such a collaborative structure.
4. Contribution of the project to the improvement of the research and innovation potential within Europe and/or worldwide: The long-lasting relationship which can be foreseen with the third country (China) involved in the research ensures the contribution of this project to the objectives of increasing international cooperation and opening European researchers to the world.
5. Dissemination of results: The partners will disseminate BAMOS results to a broad audience within the medical and AM sectors, as well as to the biofabrication industry.
ZJU 3D bioprinter
Scaffolds of various materials and shapes
Rehabilitation services by specialist teams of therapists