Two RPI researchers are investigating the potential use of nanoceramics and nanoceramic/polymer composites as bone implants.
Rena Bizios, biomedical engineering professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Richard W. Siegel, the Robert W. Hunt Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, have used alumnina and titania nanoceramics separately or in nanocomposites with polymers such as polyactic acid or polymethlyl methacrylate.
The goal is to formulate novel biomaterials with enhanced mechanical properties that are compatible with cells.
The researchers have found that the nanoceramic formulations promote selectively enhanced functions of osteoblasts (bone-forming cells). These functions include cell adhesion, proliferation, and deposition of calcium-containing minerals, an indication of new bone formation in a laboratory setting.
“We’re not only looking at mechanical behavior, but how living cells interact with materials,” Siegel says. “Cells interact very differently with nanoscale materials. They react selectively and in the right way.”
[Contact: Richard W. Siegel]