Plastics from renewable raw materials: Body automatically breaks down implants

September 18, 2013

Researchers from Graz University of Technology, together with colleagues from the Medical University of Graz, Vienna University of Technology and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, have managed to develop absorbable implants to promote bone healing which are broken down by the body. In this way, painful multiple operations – especially in children – can be avoided in the future. The "BRIC - BioResorbable Implants for Children" project, funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), was successfully completed at the end of August.

The goal was finally achieved after four years of research. Scientists from Graz University of Technology and their colleagues in Graz and Vienna finally concluded the development stage of the BRIC – Bio Resorbable Implants for Children project. Bioresorbable are implants that are resorbed by the over time. In contrast to traditional implants, such as plates, screws or pins, which have to be surgically removed after a certain time, bioresorbable implants do not have to be surgically removed. The BRICs are to be used in children, who suffer particularly from each .

Detailed work over many years was necessary for the success of this development. The project was co-ordinated by Dr Annelie Weinberg at the Department of Paediatric Surgery in Graz. Apart from the Medical University of Graz, the project consortium on the academic side consisted of two working groups made up by Graz University of Technology, Vienna University of Technology, and even the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. The participation of partners AT&S and Heraeus demonstrates the great interest shown by industry in the results.

No negative affects on the body

The two Graz University of Technology teams led by Martin Koller, responsible for the biotechnology part, and Franz Stelzer, whose team processed the biopolymers into implants, managed to develop microbial biopolyesters – so-called polyhydroxyalkanoates, known as PHAs, which can be processed into implants. "The production is completely independent of fossil resources, so there are no negative affects on the body. The implant is produced by bacteria and can be absorbed by the human body after it has fulfilled its task," said Martin Koller. Alternative biopolymers, such as polylactic acid, in contrast to PHAs, lead to a hyperacidity of the organism and bring about chronic inflammation. PHAs, on the other hand, are high-grade materials whose biotechnological production is based on renewable raw materials.

Another advantage of the new implants is that they are more biocompatible than the previously used steel or titanium materials and thus promote the bone healing process. Furthermore, the speed of their breakdown by the body can be controlled by means of the implant's precise composition. The breakdown of the implant should take place at the same speed as the bone heals.

The materials are in the development stage and their material properties and biodegradation rates are currently being tested.

Explore further: Before deciding on breast implants, consider FDA precautions

Related Stories

Before deciding on breast implants, consider FDA precautions

February 27, 2013
(HealthDay)—If you're thinking about getting breast implants, there are some things you need to know before you make your decision, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Breast implant scare: One in four found flawed

June 25, 2013
Doctors in France have removed PIP breast implants from more than 16,000 women and found a quarter of the scandal-tainted products had signs of splitting or leakage, a watchdog said on Tuesday.

Women in Argentina sue for $54 mn over faulty implants

August 26, 2013
About 300 women with faulty PIP breast implants have filed suit seeking $54.7 million in damages from three European companies, their attorney said Monday.

European biobanks centre opens in Austria

September 16, 2013
A new centre for European biobanks opened its doors in Graz in southern Austria on Monday, aiming at giving medical researchers access to almost 20 million samples of human blood, plasma and urine.

Recommended for you

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

Best of Last Year – The top Medical Xpress articles of 2016

December 23, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—It was a big year for research involving overall health issues, starting with a team led by researchers at the UNC School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health who unearthed more evidence that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.