MgSafe is a European Training Network within the framework of Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) 2018.
Within this action, 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) address the optimisation of imaging technologies for biodegradable magnesium implants.
Ageing populations, an ever‐increasing incidence of obesity and a rapid rise in osteoporosis‐related fractures, along with increasing high‐risk sport activities make improvements in implants used in orthopaedic interventions imperative.
So far, these indications are typically treated with non‐degradable metal implants, which commonly require surgical removal after complete bone healing. From the health care and patients’ point of view, degradable implants provide a viable, cost effective and patient friendly alternative. In 2013, the first degradable metal implant made from a Mg‐alloy (compression screw of partner SYNTELLIX) was CE certified and has be implanted into several 100 patients so far.
During the follow up of these implants, it became obvious that monitoring implant performance and degradation with the existing imaging techniques still is a challenge: the contrast is very low for X‐ray imaging. MR artefacts and MR patient safety concerns are induced by the use of conducting metal. PET, IR or ultrasound imaging are so far not used to study this new class of materials, and the proof of principle has to be given that the modalities can be used at all for these implants.
These scientific and technical issues constitute a significant barrier en route to broad clinical applications of these implants.
To overcome these issues, for the first time imaging modalities will be developed along the needs to monitor the performance of a degradable metal implant. The ESRs of MgSafe will push the imaging modalities towards their limits to monitor the degradation processes of emerging Mg implants optimally and non‐invasively in animal models with high spatial and temporal resolution.
The validity of the obtained multimodal in vivo data is verified by highest resolution ex vivo data.
The results of MgSafe will substantially increase the level of safety for patients currently treated with Mg‐based implants and will boost the further development of imaging modalities also on a clinical level.
At the same time, MgSafe will educate a new generation of young researchers needed for the development of high‐tech medical devices. These experts to come will have both: the understanding of the material and its interaction with the tissue AND the knowledge how to monitor these parameters by multimodal imaging.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 811226