Thomas Willett, and co-applicants including Maud Gorbet and Alex El-Warrak, have been awarded $665,552 over four years from Canadian institutes of health Research (CIHR). The award was granted for their project titled "Bone-mimetic nanocomposite biomaterials for critically-sized skeletal defect reconstruction."
Bone defects occur for many reasons, such as bone cancer, failed joint replacements, trauma, and infection. Critically-sized bone defect (CSBD) reconstruction is a significant clinical challenge, and current methods such as structural allografts and large metal prostheses have high failure/revision rates, due to reasons including mechanical failure/loosening, resorption, non-union, and infection. Additionally, materials for defect repair such as calcium phosphate cements are strong unreliable due to their low fracture toughness.
The team seeks to use bone-mimetic nanocomposite biomaterials as a promising new approach, as they exhibit bone-like mechanical properties, stimulate osteogenic processes, and remodel at physiological rates. Additionally, they can be formulated as injectable cements for additive manufacturing (AM).
Through the project, the team hopes to reduce morbidity, pain and suffering, and health care costs associated with CSDB failures, as well as improve quality of life and patients' long term outcomes.
Congratulations Willet, Gorbet and El-Warrak!