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An ideal adhesive for bone repair : Injectable, rapidly crosslinkable, biodegradable poly(esters) containing reactive calcium phosphate fillers.
An ideal adhesive for bone repair should be able to be injected into a damaged site but then set rapidly to give a material of high strength and comparable flexibility to bone. Provided the adhesive can spread into the tissue the setting reaction would provide adhesion (micromechanical) and thereby early support for the surrounding bone. The material should then, however, degrade providing components that can be converted by cells to new bone. This degradation could additionally provide slow release of drugs that enhance repair or prevent infections. Current poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) bone cements can be rapidly set but are non degradable. Conventional long chain poly(esters) (eg poly(lactides)), presently used as degradable bone screws and various other medical applications, lack injectability and thereby adhesion or the ability to be used in minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures. Conversely, although calcium phosphate cements are injectable and provide the elements required for the inorganic component of bone their setting characteristics are difficult to control particularly in an aqueous environment and their mechanical properties are far from ideal. The project aim is therefore to chemically combine ester and methacrylate structures to produce polymer molecules that are sufficiently short to be fluid but that can crosslink through the methacrylate groups within seconds of light exposure providing a high strength adhesive like PMMA. To provide the elements required for bone repair, these are filled with high percentages (70wt%) of micron dimension calcium phosphate particles. A unique method employed in this study that improves the dispersion of these particles within the polymer involves using calcium phosphates that react with water via the same process that sets conventional calcium phosphate cements.
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