Over the years, the number of patients undergoing total hip and knee arthroplasties has been increasing. Due to the lengthened life expectancy and aging population this trend is expected to continue and the number of patients that will outlive their first prosthesis will also rise (patients that will need revision surgeries). These implants impaired fixation (commonly known as aseptic loosening) is one of the main reasons for revision surgeries, being caused by a diminished mechanical stimulation at the implant-contacting bone, when compared to the normal physiological bone stimulation. It is well established among the scientific medical and engineering community that this phenomenon is due to the Young's modulus mismatch between bone (10-30 GPa) and metallic implant materials (e.g.110 GPa for Ti6Al4V). However, it remains unclear what external stimuli trigger the most suited biochemical response for allowing not only bone formation but especially its long-term maintenance.
Add2MechBio project intends to design and fabricate innovative implants for orthopedic applications. Gathering an additive manufacturing technology for the necessary fabrication freedom with a true understanding of the effect of mechanical loading on bone cells mechanisms (mechanobiology), this project intends to fill an existing gap on commercial implants - the need to foresee the necessary stress/strain to effectively stimulate the host bone and elicit a biological response close to that found in natural bones.
Covering from mechanobiology to implants design, manufacturing and characterization, Add2MechBio brings together four teams with extremely complementary backgrounds: CMEMS-UMinho with expertise on additive manufacturing fabrication and titanium alloys processing; Aalto University, with large know-how on numerical simulation of materials and structures and their interaction with biological systems; INL (International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory), an international key player acting on the development of novel solutions for health, here with particular intervention of the Cell Mechanics Laboratory, dedicated to understand the mechanical forces driving cell proliferation and differentiation and CICECO/UAVEIRO, the largest national Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) institute in Portugal, experts in materials in-depth characterization.