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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R042721/1
Title: Medical Device Prototype & Manufacture Unit
Principal Investigator: Jeffers, Professor J
Other Investigators:
Cobb, Professor J Boutelle, Professor MG Bull, Professor AMJ
Hettiaratchy, Mr S van Arkel, Dr R Abel, Dr RL
Jennings, Professor N Jones, Professor JR Stevens, Professor M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 September 2018 Ends: 31 August 2023 Value (£): 1,686,762
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomaterials Biomechanics & Rehabilitation
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 Mar 2018 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interview Panel March 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
One hundred and fifty ago, life expectancy in the UK was about 43 years. Improvements in nutrition, medicine and public health have dramatically increased this such that those born today can expect to live for over 80 years. This 150 year period is but the blink of an eye in evolution terms, and the evolution of our musculoskeletal system has not caught up with the increased life expectancy. It is therefore no surprise that musculoskeletal disorders are one of the biggest expenditures in the annual NHS budget (about £5.4bn).

Our vision is for lifelong musculoskeletal health. We consider the only way to achieve this is to identify musculoskeletal problems early in life, then make small interventions to correct them before they become chronic. This preventative approach needs new technology which we will create using the equipment in the Medical Device Prototype & Manufacture Unit. We seek to manufacture early intervention implants using material that is tailored to make the surrounding bone stronger by controlling the bone strain experienced. We want to make smart instruments and implants that can measure biomarkers in synovial fluid to provide objective measures of joint health. We want to deploy new biomaterials like nanoneedles that can bypass the membrane of bacteria cells and provide anti-infection coatings on our implantable devices. We will manufacture ligament, tendon and capsule repair patches using a soft tissue 'velcro' fixation combined with functionalised surfaces that adhere to soft tissues on one side, yet provide a low friction sliding surface on the other side. We also want to better understand the ageing process of osteoporosis and the effects of bisphosphonate theory. Finally we want to perform higher fidelity laboratory testing of musculoskeletal tissues, both to understand better the pathology, but also the response of tissue to our proposed treatments.

The proposed Medical Device Prototype & Manufacture Unit would enable breakthroughs in all these interrelated research themes. The powder bed fusion additive manufacture (AM) machine and 2-photon lithography AM machine allow manufacturing of porous lattice materials at the range of scales we need to create stiffness matched implants with 150 micron features down to microfluidic channels for our sensing technology and nanoneedles with sub-micron features. The nano CT scanner has a higher resolution (sub-micron) than currently available and the 3D microscope is equipped with confocal profiler with 100 nanometre resolution - these imaging instruments will allow unprecedented surface and internal imaging of pathological tissues and the response of tissues to our interventions.

Our research will be conducted in an environment that will strongly encourage translation. The Prototype & Manufacture Unit will be set up with all the regulatory approval and quality control to enable us to manufacture devices from first off prototypes through to small batch production parts for early clinical safety studies. This combination of cutting edge AM and imaging equipment in an environment with strong emphasis on translation would enable us to break new ground in all our research themes and also bridge the gap between exciting laboratory testing and clinical practice.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk