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Medicine Science

World's First Biodegradable Joint Implant Grows New Joints 102

cylonlover writes "Joint implants should always be made of materials like titanium, so they can last the lifetime of the patient ... right? Well, not according to researchers at Finland's Tampere University of Technology. They've developed a product known as RegJoint, which is reportedly the world's first biodegradable joint implant. Unlike permanent implants, it allows the patient's bone ends to remain intact, and it creates a new joint out of their own tissue."
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World's First Biodegradable Joint Implant Grows New Joints

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  • Re:Porn Use? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jlar ( 584848 ) on Friday March 02, 2012 @07:14AM (#39219051)

    "If your Penis has joints in it, you've got more serious concerns."

    Like maybe having too many genes in common with chimpanzees or gorillas?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baculum [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:The details (Score:5, Informative)

    by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Friday March 02, 2012 @07:27AM (#39219115)
    I went to a presentation about materials in joints around 1998 and one very interesting point was raised by a Japanese researcher.
    Hard joints grind your bone ends into bits. Hundreds of millions of little bits. It does things to the immune system (which attacks solid bone in such situations after being fooled by lots of tiny bits of bone) and creates extra wear on any cartlidge, tendons or anything else in the vicinity. We are bags of mostly water so that stuff doesn't stay put. The life of the joint depends on both it's structure and the damage to the surrounds, which can be measured in inches/centimetres so the replacement joint has to be a lot larger.
    At the time making the surface of a joint very porous and relatively soft was the way things were going since it's now expected that people with artificial joints will live for more than a decade after the joint is put in place. The old style of using very hard materials in direct contact with bone doesn't last long enough.
  • by sheepe2004 ( 1029824 ) on Friday March 02, 2012 @07:39AM (#39219161) Homepage
    As I understand it the problem is in the other stuff [wikipedia.org] that surround the cells (disclaimer: I only did one very short course on tissue engineering).

    Basically it's a chicken and egg problem: the stem cells need a good structure to grow in but the structure needs to be created by the cells. A solution is to create an implant which allows the cells to grow within it and then gracefully degrades as it is replaced by the natural bone/collagen etc. which seems to be what these guys have done.

    It's a difficult (materials science) problem because there are a lot of requirements. For example it needs to be as tough as bone but break down after a reasonable amount of time. It needs to be non-toxic (before and after breaking down). It of course needs to be cheap(ish) and reasonably easy to mass produce. Anyway there's much more information here [wikipedia.org].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 02, 2012 @10:03AM (#39219789)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell_laws_and_policy_in_the_United_States#Federal_law [wikipedia.org]

    No federal law ever did ban stem cell research in the United States, but only placed restrictions on funding and use, under Congress's power to spend.

    The Corporations can spend $$$ on research if they want. Depending on what sort of stuff they want to do they might have to be careful about which US State they do it in.

    But hey don't let facts get in the way of your religious beliefs and prejudice.

  • by pnewhook ( 788591 ) on Friday March 02, 2012 @10:10AM (#39219827)

    Joint implants are not titanium. No, no no. That's a myth that won't die.

    No, sorry it is you that is mistaken. Medical grade titanium (Ti6Al4V Grade 5) is widely used for joint implants because it is biocompatible and MR safe. ASTM-75 is only classified as MR Conditional at best so its effect on MR image quality and localized tissue heating has not yet been fully established.

    Just do a search on Titanium joint implant and you'll see they do in fact exist and are quite popular

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker