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Diamond Pimps Implants

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Researchers from RMIT University have for the first time successfully coated 3D-printed titanium implants with diamond. The development is the first step toward 3D-printed diamond implants that could radically improve the way human bodies accept biomedical implants.

While titanium offers a fast, accurate and reliable material for medical-grade and patient-specific implants, our bodies can sometimes reject this material. Chemical compounds on titanium prevent tissue and bone from interacting effectively with bio­medical implants. However, synthetic diamond provides an in­expensive solution to this problem.

“Currently the gold standard for medical implants is titanium, but too often titanium implants don’t interact with our bodies the way we need them to,” said biomedical engineer Dr Kate Fox. “To work around this, we have used diamond on 3D scaffolds to create a surface coating that adheres better to cells commonly found in mammals.

“We are using detonation nanodiamonds to create the coating, which are cheaper than titanium powder. This coating not only promotes better cellular attachment to the underlying diamond–titanium layer, but encouraged the proliferation of mammalian cells. The diamond enhances the integration between the living bone and the artificial implant, and reduces bacterial attachment over an extended period of time.

“Not only...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.