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Purdue professor developing dissolvable orthopedic implants

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A Purdue University professor is developing a technology to replace steel and titanium orthopedic implants.

“Yeah, so there’s going to be nothing there,” said Materials Engineering Professor Lia Stanciu. “It’s going to be just your bone, just your regular tissue, that’s our final target.”

She is developing dissolvable orthopedic implants. Stanciu and her team started this project at Purdue University in 2009.

“I was very excited when we started this project,” said Stanciu. “We are very passionate about it.”

The goal is to create a material that can be absorbed by the body safely after two years. But it has to be strong enough to support damaged bones for at least six months.

“Within two years, they will not need any other additional surgeries,” Stanciu said. “They will not need to keep that pin or screw in their bodies for the rest of their lives.”

She has developed an implant and performed a study using rats a few years ago. The study lasted six months.

“The bone formed a bond with the material and there was no toxicity that we noticed,” she explained.

Stanciu hopes to do a long-term study without rats because of their short lifespan. She is interested in trying out the implants on larger animals, like rabbits, in a year.

“And do a two-year study and hopefully we will see a more realistic situation there,” added Stanciu.

She said without support at Purdue, she would not be able to come this far in her research. Stanciu hopes to have the biodegradable orthopedic implant available to the public in 10 years.

She is currently working on getting more funding for long-term studies.

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