MATCh project objective aims to work out the recent need of the market offering new designs in the field of orthopaedic devices. The SMEs (FAME MED, GTS, EXEMPLAR) provide their skills in order to design new and reliable macroporous glass-ceramic coatings for the surface modification of commercial ceramic acetabular cup, leading to the delivery of a new generation of hip prostheses with enhanced functionalities, currently not available on the market. Although extensive research is carried out regarding surface modification of biomedical implants, the translational approach from lab bench to industry is lacking.

MATCh aims at increasing the quality of patient's life increasing the prostheses life time, enhancing their degree of osteointegration and allowing the use of a long-lasting ceramic-on-ceramic coupling also to patients that normally could not benefit of it for technological constraints. In fact it isbecoming normal to implant hip prostheses in patients below 50 and even below 40 years old, andin such cases ceramic-on-ceramic coupling, due to its very low wear rate, is a real need. Avoiding the metal-back with a surface modification of the ceramic cup will allow to reduce the cupthickness and to increase the ceramic ball size of the prostheses in accordance to most recent trends.


PROJECT S&T OBJECTIVES


The ideas featuring the patent by Verné, Vitale-Brovarone et al. can be considered the specific point from which the project starts and the development of a new prosthetic device disclosed in it, is the fil rouge of all MATCh activities.
In fact, the aim of MATCh is to provide a new coating material for acetabular cup components that actually is not present on the market. This unique coating is made of bioactive glass or glass-ceramic with trabecular-like morphology and high osteoinductive properties and so it is able to stimulate osteoblast cells to differentiate and deposit new bone within the implant 3D porous surface. This coating is deposited by glazing and is directly sintered on the ceramic cup, which is actually implanted for long-lasting couplings (alumina or alumina/zirconia composites) in a modular geometry that need a second metallic component (the metal-back).


A COMPLETELY NEW CONCEPT


Available commercial coating materials and, generally speaking, surface treatments to promote osteointegration are not based on trabecular glasses. At present, cement-less acetabular prosthetic elements are characterized by a modular geometry, with polymeric, ceramic or metallic liner, housed in a metal shell ("metal-back"). A monoblock ceramic component with a trabecular bioactive external surface is highly needed, since it could allow awider range of prostheses sizes and an easier surgical technique for their implant. Till now the investigated compositions and coating technologies did not allow to develop a stable high-strength bioactive trabecular-like coating. The application is based on a patent-pending process (WO2008/146322 A2 - POLITO) which describes a new approach to the osteointegration of a durable ceramic cup by means of an innovative high-strength bioactive trabecular-like coating, glazed on the external surface of the ceramic cup and able to promote both primary and long-term osteointegration. Since the use of bioactive glasses and glass-ceramics in contact with human body has already been regulated, the commercialization of coated products should be straightforward.

    

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