The importance of developing novel approaches for bone repair is underscored by the heavy burden on health care costs and patient suffering caused by traumatic, osteoporotic and osteolytic metastatic bone lesions. To address these health challenges, we will develop optimally performing bioinspired biomaterials mimicking the natural physiological processes underlying bone repair. Our overall approach is to produce smart bioactive 3D scaffolds to fit within bone lesions, which we will then inject with functional, genetically-engineered self-solidifying elastin-like polymers with absolute-controlled molecular architecture and sequences containing specific domains for cell attachment, growth factors and calcium phosphate nanoparticles. The resulting bioactive, biodegradable scaffolds, biogels and regenerated bone will be analysed for biomaterial effects on bone growth, healing, foreign body reactions using cutting-edge in vitro assays, BioMEMS technology, in vivo animal models, non-invasive imaging and gene expression profiling for discovery of biomarkers associated with bone repair. Biomaterials will also be tested with biodynamic assays to assess strength, durability, toxicology, sterilisation reaction, eco-toxicology and risk assessment. Our multidisciplinary consortium with its extensive, state-of-the-art expertise consisting of private and public partners, cellular and molecular biologists, immunologists, physicists, bioengineers, and orthopaedic surgeons will tackle serious bone lesions with a comprehensive work plan to develop a prototype, evaluate it in vivo and in vitro, upscale its production and prepare the final material for clinical phase trials and commercialisation of the dual component product. Our ultimate aims are to ensure strong, healthy bone regeneration, reduce pain and suffering and to become a competitor in the biomaterials market of Europe.
Biomaterials are materials which are used inside the body or come in contact with tissues such as skin, bone, cartilage or open wounds. In order for a material to be used as a biomaterial it must