Understanding artificial bones better


New test chamber enables simulation of processes in the body

Interdisciplinary success: Bianca Bertulat, Tom Engler, Anne Martin and Professor Matthias Oechsner (from left).

Teams from the departments of mechanical engineering and biology at the TU Darmstadt observe the growth of cells on bone implants. For this purpose, they have developed a special test chamber that is intended to make some animal experiments superfluous.

Hip and knee joints made of titanium, vertebral bodies made of plastic and other bone implants have already relieved many patients of pain. However, some people who wear such endoprostheses suffer from complications, for example if the artificial bone does not grow in properly. “What exactly happens in the body after implantation is still unclear,” says materials scientist Anne Martin from the Institute of Materials Science at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Darmstadt Technical University. Together with her former colleague Markus König and researchers from Bianca Bertulat's Department of Biology, she has developed a model system that simulates the first days after the insertion of a bone implant.