European Project BONE: Eliminating the need for repeat surgery
A European transnational consortium led by Maastricht University (UM) will spend the next four years developing innovative bone implants. These implants will become an alternative for repeat surgeries, prolonged medication use and donor tissue implementation following complex bone fractures. The BONE (Biofabrication of Orthopaedics in a New Era) partnership will also provide the participating regions with a significant economic boost.
Bone Implants and Consortium
Research has demonstrated that residents of Northwestern Europe are more likely to develop degenerative bone disorders in comparison to their EU counterparts. As a result, this region has the highest number of bone fractures and bone defects within Europe, which has evident social and economic consequences. In the field of regenerative medicine, researchers have been working hard to create innovative bone implants that can enhance recovery times and reduce health care costs. In addition to UM, this international partnership consists of the universities of Leuven (Belgium) and Lille (France), Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen (Germany), Medicen Paris Region, a leading biomedical cluster in Paris (France) and enabling technology companies The Electrospinning Company (UK), NKT Photonics (International) and Spraybase® (Ireland). Over the next four years, these partners will work together developing the technology needed to produce these implants. The project initiators will also establish a roadmap to manufacture and market these implants at the end of the project, to ensure long term impact of their actions.
At the basis of these smart bone implants lies an innovative technology, known as electrospinning. This technology enables researchers to create implants that have the potential to help the regeneration of healthy bone tissue. 'We want to improve the surface properties of the bone implants in a way that ensures the success of the regeneration process,' says Lorenzo Moroni, Professor of Biofabrication for Regenerative Medicine at UM. 'That's why we're combining electrospinning with other technologies. An added advantage is that this will help us expand the library of suitable materials for smart bone implants.' The technological hub of Project BONE lies in the Maastricht region (Brightlands Campus) and Aachen, with the preclinical tests to be carried out in Leuven and Lille.
Regenerative medicine is a relatively new discipline that is proving to be both promising for patients and valuable for the economy. Professor Moroni shares his experience of being affiliated with one of the biggest European projects in this field, the virtual institute REGMED XB. This is a notable advantage for the consortium group. The project BONE will create fifteen jobs, two new products (improved technology and smart bone implants) and foster close collaboration between the multiple economic regions in Northwestern Europe, thereby helping them to expand their innovative capacity. BONE is financed by the Interreg NWE programme, a cross-border partnership that is financially supported by the European Fund for Regional Development.