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Biodegradable Composite Scaffold for Repairing Defects in Load Bearing Bones

This composite scaffold is designed specifically for the repair of damaged or diseased load-bearing bones in humans and animals, although it can also be used for other medical applications. It is composed of biodegradable polymers and biodegradable glass rods, fibers, or particles and is designed so that its flexural strength is initially equal to or higher than that of human cortical bone, but then becomes gradually weaker with time as the bone heals and becomes stronger.

A major advantage of this composite scaffold is that it does not fail catastrophically by brittle failure, but has failure characteristics more like a ductile material, i.e., it undergoes significant deformation, but continues to be load-bearing. This composite scaffold takes advantage of the osteogenic properties of bio-active glasses while at the same time avoiding the use of metals and other non-biodegradable materials currently being used in-vivo for bone repair.

Bio-active glasses are currently used to repair damaged bones in non load bearing situations because of their bio-compatibility, biodegradability, and ability to stimulate the growth of new bone, but they are not being used in load bearing applications because of their low mechanical strength and brittle fracture characteristics. These deficiencies can be overcome by a composite scaffold which is made from biodegradable materials and which has mechanical properties close to those of human cortical bone.

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Missouri University of Science and Technology

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Pending Patent

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