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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P033636/1
Title: Bioresorbable 2D and 3D ordered mesoporous phosphate glasses for bone tissue regeneration and drug delivery
Principal Investigator: Carta, Dr D
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Queen Mary University of London Spinode Consulting UCL
University of Cagliari University of Kent University of Warwick
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Surrey
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 20 October 2017 Ends: 19 April 2019 Value (£): 100,976
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biochemical engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
31 May 2017 HT Investigator-led Panel Meeting - May 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Regeneration or repair of hard and soft tissues represents a major challenge of the modern society. The number of patients that require an implant in order to replace damaged tissue is growing due to the increase of life expectancy. Therefore, the development of new and more efficient biomaterials is a great scientific and human challenge as it has an effect on the everyday life of millions of people worldwide. It has been forecasted that the global market for biomaterials will reach about $130B by 2020.

The function of biomaterials has evolved with time. The first generation of biomaterials had a pure mechanical role with no interaction with the physiological environment (e.g. metals). More recently, a second generation of biomaterials, defined as bioactive, based on calcium silicate glasses has been developed. Their key feature is the capability of their surface to spontaneously with physiological fluids in the human body generating a bone-like layer of hydroxyapatite Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2. Human cells grow and proliferate on this layer promoting a tight bond between the implant and the living tissue. As silicate based glasses are non-soluble in physiological fluids, a subsequent surgery is needed to remove the implant with increased risk for the patient and a lengthening of the total recovery time.

This proposal refers to the latest generation of biomaterials also called "third generation". In addition to the bioactivity, they also show bioresorbability as they react and dissolve over time in the physiological fluid and they are replaced by regenerated hard or soft tissue. The use of soluble bioresorbable materials avoids the necessity of a second surgery. Phosphate-based glasses, differently from the commercially used polymers, are ideal bioresorbable materials being totally biocompatible as any of the degradation products can cause inflammation.

The aim of this proposal is to design, for the first time, phosphate-based glasses with highly ordered structure of mesopores (2-50 nm) and high textural properties (large surface area, pore size and volume, narrow pore size distribution) using a combination of supramolecular chemistry and sol-gel. Phosphate based glasses with ordered 2D channels of mesopores aligned in one direction and 3D ordered cubic network of interconnected pores are excellent candidates for multifunctional biomaterials, being able to combining simultaneously anti-bacterial/anti-cancer activity with cell stimulation and vascularisation.

This makes them ideal materials to be used in two major clinical applications: orthopedics (bone pins and anchors, bone platelets, joint replacements, tissue fixation screws) and drug delivery (e.g. anticancer drugs, antimicrobial agents, growth factors, DNA).

I will demonstrate this potentiality through synthesis and textural/structural characterisation of phosphate glasses with composition close to the bone (P2O5-CaO-Na2O) with and without addition of antimicrobial ions (Ag+/Cu2+/Zn2+) followed by dissolution and biocompatibility tests.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.surrey.ac.uk