Research highlights: Fiber research into bone and cartilage substitutes

Every visitor to a trade fair knows that two, three of even four fair days put stress on the bones. However research work in the field of textiles to be used in medicine for human and skeleton-forming supporting tissues is only astonishing to those who have underestimated the potential of fiber-based materials.

When looking behind the scenes of Dresden University of Technology and its institute for the development of textile machinery and high-duty materials where a working group called biological and medicinal textiles has been created, reveals that textile bone components do in fact exist. The working group leader Dr. Dilbar Aibibu explains that textile structures made of bio-compatible filaments are offering excellent prerequisites for carrier materials and implants in the field of regenerative medicine.

eitet die Arbeitsgruppe Bio- und Medizinmaterialien am ITM Dresden: Dr. Dilbar Aibibu

Dr. Dilbar Aibibu, in charge of the project group “Biological and medical textiles” at ITM Dresden

For the first time the scientist at the institute for the development of textile machinery and high-duty materials succeeded in producing ultrapure Chitosan multi-filaments that is to say fiber bundles extracted from conditioned shells of shrimps and crabs. These filaments are used for the development of different structures for scaffolds and implants. By the way the institute has taken out a patent for a manufacturing method of three-dimensionally shaped non-woven structures made of Chitosan short fibers (NSN technology) and used for bone regeneration.

Since defective cartilage-tissue possessed an insufficient self-repairing capability, the tissue engineering method (artificial production of biological tissues) is applied. Within the scope of a project that is fostered by the German Research Association (DFG) extensive research has been undertaken into biologically degradable and deformation-resistant flock-scaffolds based on Chitosan in co-operation with medical scientists of the Dresden university medical centre. The three-dimensional carrier structures enable the absorption of body’s own stem cells thus supporting the regeneration of defective cartilage-tissue.

Although it seems to be still a possibility of remote future, this new method is expected to find its way into clinical practice within a few years. For this purpose a bio-compatible compound implant material for the treatment of bone fractures by means of osteosynthese plates and medullary nails stabilizing broken or destroyed bones was developed in co-operation with Inno-Tere at Radebeul near Dresden.

Hans-Werner Oertel

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