Uppsala University (Sweden) in joint collaboration with Neutron-Scattering experts at the Institute of Laue-Langevin in Grenoble (France) will change the medical world of implants. A new growth-stimulating ‘gel’ will therefore help the body adopt such implants as its own – as man and machine merge!
Welding artificial hip joints or making dental implants from titanium means such replacements last longer over time, but integration of such pieces into the body can be tricky. This new gel is a compound made of the protein bone morphogenic protein 2 (BMP-2) that can stimulate the bone tissue and to weld it even in harsh biochemical conditions (e.g titanium, or in water).
Surprisingly, only an extremely small quantity is required; in fact a layer of just a few nanometers can promote protein-adhesion from the body to the metal surface. The gel (which is stable in water) can be slowly loosened for removal by contact of with a solution of calcium ions, which would also help stimulate the growth of bone on the implant.