Gel coating for implants promotes bone growth
4 April 2014
A new gel coating for titanium implants developed at Uppsala
University, Sweden improves their integration into bone and prevents rejection.
The success of orthopaedic and dental implants depends on
integration into adjacent bone tissue. Gels made by modifying
hyaluronan, a large biological molecule, can bind protein molecules
that promote bone formation. When coated on titanium surfaces the
protein molecules can be released slowly once the surface comes in
contact with a solution of calcium ions. This process would
stimulate the growth of bone on the implant.
Gel coated titanium surface binds proteins
bone formation. Photo credit: Ida Berts
The research group has now launched trials of similar materials
for metal implants in rabbits. These ongoing studies are made in
collaboration with the Swedish Agricultural University in Uppsala
and they provide a step towards transfer of the results to clinical
"We envisage that the materials will be used in medicine to
modulate the healing process in bone," says Associate Professor
Dmitri Ossipov. "Neutrons are an ideal tool to understand the
interactions of metal surfaces, polysaccharide biopolymers, and
proteins thanks to a contrast matching technique that highlights
only the protein components at the interface.’"