Aston University teams up with Invibio Limited for exciting research project on innovative material for medical devices

Date: March 2018

The Future of Fracture Fixation

Aston University is pleased to announce a new Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with polymer implant specialists Invibio Ltd. This exciting partnership will enable Invibio to develop robust and effective evaluation procedures to identify and characterise particulate debris that may be generated from fracture fixation devices.

Invibio is a world leader in the provision of biomaterial solutions and a proven partner to medical device manufacturers with its implantable poly(etheretherketone) (PEEK)-based materials and composites, which are used in diverse medical procedures including keyhole surgery, spine, trauma and joint reconstruction.

Since the early 20th century, metals such as stainless steel and titanium, have mainly been used for fracture fixation. Though strong, the combination of metal plates and screws can, through the lifecycle of a device, result in metal debris, which may increase the chances of osteolysis, causing the implant to loosen. Invibio’s metal-free carbon fibre reinforced PEEK composite has the potential to provide artefact free imaging, reduce revision rates, and enable faster healing in patients. This KTP project will add to the compelling case for the use of Invibio’s composite technology in orthopaedic trauma procedures.

“The development of the test methods under this KTP project is integral to our fundamental understanding and capabilities in identifying and evaluating debris generation created during an implant’s lifetime in the body,” says Andy Anderson, Head of Medical R&D at Invibio. “Implant-derived debris is a concern for patients, surgeons and device manufactures alike, so demonstrating how our composite technologies can address this issue is an important step in regulatory clearance and adoption of the technology by medical device manufacturers.”

This partnership creates the opportunity to translate the learning to other orthopaedic device applications and PEEK-based polymers and composites where similar questions arise.

The Academic lead of the KTP is Dr Laura Leslie, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering & Design and Deputy Director of the Aston Institute of Materials from Aston’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Her research focuses on Biomedical Engineering with an emphasis on fracture fixation in Orthopaedics. Dr Leslie is joined by Dr Greg Swadener and Dr Sarah Junaid, both of whom are Lecturers in Mechanical Engineering & Design. Dr Greg Swadener specialises in adhesion, composites, biomaterials and biomedical engineering applications.

Dr Sarah Junaid has expertise in fracture fixation, especially musculoskeletal lower limb damage on joint mechanics. The academic team from Aston University forms a solid ground for academic discovery and application of the expertise in development and validation of novel test methods.

Expected project finish date: November 2021

This project is co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a UK-wide programme that has been helping businesses for the past 45 years to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base. 

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