BONE: Biofabrication of Orthopaedics in a New Era
Osteoporosis is a distinctive problem in the region North-West Europe (NWE). In a comparison of all EU regions, NWE has the highest rate of bone fractures. In 2016, 214 hip transplants were performed per 100,000 inhabitants, while the overall EU average was 153 transplants (OECD study 2016). The social and economic burden of bone fractures is enormous and could allow faster, lower-cost recovery through the introduction of affordable treatments. The potential of the emerging field of regenerative medicine offers solutions: with the innovative electrospinning (ESP) technology, smart implants such as 3D scaffolds can be fabricated to support bone regeneration and reduce the need for donor material. Repeated operations and continuous medication can also be avoided. Nevertheless, there are currently only local R&D activities on ESP technologies in NWE.
The objective of the BONE project is to accelerate ESP technology development and the production of cost-effective, smart 3D implants. Four research institutes, four business promotion associations and five industrial companies are cooperating to this end. Bone secures 15 new jobs, develops and tests two new products and enables intensive cooperation between innovation leaders (located in Westphalia, London, Paris), strong innovators (located in Flemish Brabant, South Limburg, Ireland) and moderate innovators (located in Nord-pas-de-Calais). In this way, the regional innovative power of regenerative medicine, which is based on ESP technology, is strengthened.