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SMARTCAP — Result In Brief

Project ID: 13912
Funded under: FP6-NMP
Country: Spain

Biomaterials for stronger bones

Osteoporosis and bone degeneration as well as bone defects due to trauma and pathology call for innovation in new therapeutic products. Biomaterials hold the promise of improving quality of life, overall health and safety.
Biomaterials for stronger bones
The 'Injectable macroporous biomaterial based on calcium phosphate cement for bone regeneration' (Smartcap) project aimed to implement a novel concept of multifunctional biomaterials for bone repair and regeneration. The approach envisioned a range of properties that would make the biomaterials macroporous, 'intelligent', sterilisable and biodegradable so as to promote osteogenesis and angiogenesis. The advantage of these biomaterials also being injectable means minimally invasive surgery and thus less patient suffering, as well as lower healthcare costs, easy application and enhanced working conditions.

The EU-funded research team carried out biological and chemical modifications of biomaterials in efforts to improve bioactivity. Chemically modified materials such as self-setting multiporous bone cement were developed and enhanced with growth factors and drugs.

Primary cells were isolated and expanded for seeding on materials, while various bone forming abilities and gene expression of cell/material construct interactions were outlined for further analysis. Smartcap researchers studied the effects of mechanical stimulation on the materials, and used biosensors to monitor the release of ions during cell proliferation and differentiation.

Computer models were used to advance the design of mechanical requirements for development of the biomaterials, and an injection device was designed and produced for all materials.

On the strength of earlier project results, selected biomaterials were implanted in vivo in rabbits and their performance evaluated at one, three and five months. Regeneration results in this area demonstrated the feasibility of the project's initial breakthrough goals.

Smartcap project outcomes are expected to impact the quality of life for European citizens: reduced costs, introduction of new therapeutic substances, generation of new knowledge, reduction of patient discomfort, and opening up of the market for future development of biomaterials for tissue replacement and regeneration systems.

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