Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bone-growing Nanomaterial Could Improve Orthopaedic Implants

Date:
September 18, 2007
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
Bone-forming cells grow faster and produce more calcium on anodized titanium covered in carbon nanotubes compared with plain anodized titanium and the non-anodized version currently used in orthopaedic implants, new research shows. The work, published in Nanotechnology, uncovers a new material that can be used to make more successful implants. The research also shows tantalizing promise for an all-new device: a "smart" implant that can sense and report on bone growth.

Possibly a terrific new material: A titanium surface covereed by carbon nanotubes could lead to faster, better growth of implanted bone-growing cells and an improved success rate for orthopaedic surgery. The carbon nanotubes could could even self-report, keeping doctors informed about the healing process.
Credit: Sirinrath Sirivisoot/Brown University

Bone-forming cells grow faster and produce more calcium on anodized titanium covered in carbon nanotubes compared with plain anodized titanium and the non-anodized version currently used in orthopaedic implants, new Brown University research shows. The work uncovers a new material that can be used to make more successful implants. The research also shows tantalizing promise for an all-new device: a “smart” implant that can sense and report on bone growth.

For orthopaedic implants to be successful, bone must meld to the metal that these artificial hips, knees and shoulders are made of. A team of Brown University engineers, led by Thomas Webster, has discovered a new material that could significantly increase this success rate.

The secret: carbon nanotubes on anodized titanium. The team took titanium – the most popular implant material around – and chemically treated it and applied an electrical current to it. This process, called anodization, creates a pitted coating in the surface of the titanium. Webster and his team packed those pits with a cobalt catalyst and then ran the samples through a chemical process that involved heating them to a scorching 700 C. That caused carbon nanotubes to sprout from each pit.

Researchers then placed human osteoblasts, or bone-forming cells, onto the nanotube-covered samples as well as onto samples of plain and anodized titanium. The samples were placed in an incubator. After three weeks, the team found that the bone cells grew twice as fast on the titanium covered in nanotubes. Cells interacting with the nanotubes also made significantly more calcium – the essential ingredient for healthy bones.

“What we found is possibly a terrific new material for joint replacement and other implants,” said Webster, associate professor of engineering at Brown. “Right now, bone doesn’t always properly meld to implants. Osteoblasts don’t grow or grow fast enough. Adding carbon nanotubes to anodized titanium appears to encourage that cell growth and function.”

Webster’s long-term vision for the new material is ambitious. With it, Webster hopes to create a new class of implants – ones that can sense bone growth then send that information to an external device. Doctors could monitor the output and determine whether to inject growth hormones or otherwise intervene to avoid additional surgery. Right now, implant patients must get an X-ray or undergo a bone scan to monitor bone growth.

Webster thinks these “biosensing” implants could even be designed to detect infection and be specially coated to release antibiotics or other drugs into the body.

Webster said the biosensing concept would work because when cells make calcium, an electrical current is created. That current can be conducted through carbon nanotubes and transmitted via radio frequency to a handheld device outside the body – a similar process to the one employed by state-of-the-art cardiac pacemakers.

“This technology would be incredibly exciting,” Webster said. “It could significantly improve patient health – and cut down on expensive diagnostic tests and surgery. We still have a long way to go to make an intelligent implant a reality, but our new results are a strong first step.”

Webster’s Brown research team included engineering graduate student Sirinrath Sirivisoot, the lead author of the Nanotechnology article, engineering graduate students Chang Yao and Xingcheng Xiao and professor of engineering Brian Sheldon.

Results are published in Nanotechnology. The Coulter Foundation funded the research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brown University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Bone-growing Nanomaterial Could Improve Orthopaedic Implants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070917115300.htm>.
Brown University. (2007, September 18). Bone-growing Nanomaterial Could Improve Orthopaedic Implants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070917115300.htm
Brown University. "Bone-growing Nanomaterial Could Improve Orthopaedic Implants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070917115300.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) As a third American missionary is confirmed to have contracted Ebola in Liberia, doctors on the ground in West Africa fear they're losing the battle against the outbreak. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) When Facebook acquired the virtual reality hardware developer Oculus VR in March for $2 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hailed the firm's technology as "a new communication platform." Duration: 02:24 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins