Electrospun nano-composite scaffolds for periodontal bone loss10th Feb 2014

Brendan Robb, Professor Sandra Downes, Dr Julie Gough, Professor David Watts (The University of Manchester, UK) & Dr Mike Raxworthy, Dr Peter Iddon (Neotherix Ltd, York, UK)

Electrospun nano-composite scaffolds for periodontal bone loss

The Problem

Biomaterial barrier membranes for the treatment of periodontal disease are currently used to halt bone loss and prevent tooth loosening by forming a permanent, semi-permeable layer between the diseased gum and the mandibular bone. These have the ability to prevent tooth loss, but are unable to support the tooth socket and encourage new bone growth into the space. These materials usually have to be surgically removed after the gum disease is treated, adding to costs, risks and discomfort.

The Solution

Create a new implantable bioresorbable scaffold capable of providing the required barrier between tooth and bone, while encouraging new bone formation into the material on a timescale equivalent to the normal degradation of the implant.

Project Aims

Develop a simple to use, osteoconductive, nano-composite for reconstruction of bone lost due to periodontal disease. The novel nano-composite system will be constructed into 3D electrospun fibrous scaffolds that can be used to fill the bone voids. The material should be pliable during implantation, and mechanically resilient to compressive forces.

The Technology

Polymer encapsulated ceramic nano-crystals are very carefully electrospun into 3D, interconnected, porous scaffolds. This material composition is finely balanced to provide the desired mechanical properties while the use of active moieties included within the fibres modify the scaffold wettability and provide nucleation sites for bone mineral deposition. The fibre and pore dimensions are optimised to provide excellent cell infiltration and maximise nutrient diffusion, while still providing ECM mimicking support for bone cells.

Figure 1: Left - Electospinning polymer jet. Osteoblasts cultured on electropsun scaffolds imaged using confocal microscopy (centre) and scanning electron microscopy (right).


Periodontal disease is a global problem, with long lasting implications if the condition is allowed to progress without intervention. Our novel degradable implant will provide a simpler, more effective treatment without the need for multiple, or multi-site surgeries, and will actively promote new bone growth.

The Team

Currently working on this project is an interdisciplinary team made up of Brendan Robb, Professor Sandra Downes and Dr Julie Gough from The School of Materials, and Professor David Watts from The School of Dentistry, The University of Manchester. Dr Mike Raxworthy and Dr Peter Iddon from Neotherix Ltd. provide industry know-how regarding the fabrication of bioresorbable 3D scaffolds.

Working with their industrial partner, the project team aim to bridge the innovation gap and demonstrate the clinical and commercial opportunity for the novel biomaterial scaffold.


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