Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department Orthopedic Surgery / School CAPHRI

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: tomorrow

Chemelot Institute for Science & Technology (Chemelot InSciTe) is a public-private research institute for bio-based and biomedical materials located in Maastricht. Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC+), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), DSM, and the Province of Limburg have jointly invested €60 million in order to establish an innovation and knowledge institute. The SyCaP project is a currently on-going biomedical materials project in which DSM, TU/e, and MUMC+ collaborate to develop a polymer knee resurfacing implant.

Cartilage defects are found in 63% of arthroscopic procedures, often in middle-aged patients, whose defects are most likely to progress to osteoarthritis (OA). Regenerative treatments are generally not successful for these patients. Total knee arthroplasty is not a viable option for these patients, as the high functional demands in this age group leads to vastly reduced implant lifetime and multiple anticipated revision procedures. Non-regenerative, metal resurfacing implants have been introduced to treat focal cartilage defects in the last decade. However, mixed clinical outcomes have been reported. It is believed that metal implants lead to accelerated damage of the opposing cartilage. Furthermore, metal implants do not allow for follow-up MR-imaging, and may not be suitable for all defect locations.

The SyCap project consortium has developed a non-degradable polymer resurfacing implant intended for the treatment of knee focal cartilage defects. The implant is composed of a hard-grade polymer stem, for fixation and integration in the underlying bone, and a soft-grade polymer articulating surface, mimicking the soft and smooth properties of cartilage. The polycarbonate-urethane based materials are biocompatible, facilitate post-operative imaging, and are wear resistant. Theoretically, this implant concept can be translated to any human joint. The objective of the current project is to develop computational methods that enable translation of the SyCap implant design to other joints, accommodating the complex morphology of the articulating surface and the physiological loading conditions. Feasibility of this new workflow will be demonstrated by conceptualizing two prototype implant designs and by manufacturing prototypes of the implant designs for evaluation in a laboratory environment.

To successfully translate the implant concept to other joints, the two implant components (top- and bottom layer) require tailoring to the specific target location. Step 1 will consist of developing computational methods that allow for matching the implant’s articulating surface to the morphology of the target joint surface, taking clinical data on specific cartilage damage location into account.  Step 1 will consist of developing methods to optimize the design of the implant’s stem, taking joint biomechanics and surgical considerations into account.

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