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Using SMP to fix bones defect

Advanced in material science are opening up new paths in many areas. Here is the news from Melissa Grunlan at Texas A&M University that along with her team has developed a Shape Memory Polymer (SMP), also known as Shape Shifting Material that can easily be ashamed in any form when heated to about 56 degrees (C) and the will expand to fill a gap, thus creating a perfect patch. Once the temperature decreases below 50 degrees it solidifies keeping the shape.
They have tested the material in their lab as a possibile "filler" for bone defect (such as those deriving from erosion due to a cancer or cleft palate). The problem with bones defects lays in their irregularity that makes filling quite complicated. The SMP, on the contrary, is ideal in that it expands to fill all cavities, whatever their form, resulting in a sponge like filling. This filling is ideal to let osteocytes migrate to the implant and regrow the bones. As the osteocytes multiply the SMP fades away so that after a few weeks, or months, it is completely gone and the bone is repaired with its own cells.
So far the team has carried out experiments in the lab. The next step is to experiment with animals and if all goes well to move into clinical trials.
Material science, engineering and medicine are joining efforts for better cure!

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.