MgSafe in the media

Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht: MgSafe simple explained | 07.04.2019

On World Health Day: a simple explanation of magnesium implants

Online since today: a short clip about degradable magnesium implants that are being researched as part of a so-called Marie Skłodowska Curie Action (MSCA).

Screws to set or stabilise bones after complicated fractures are standard in medicine. The problem: Once the bone has healed, these implants can be bothersome. Screws to set or stabilise bones after complicated breaks are standard in medicine. The problem: Once the bone has healed, these implants can be bothersome. Often, another operation is necessary to remove them. With magnesium-based implants, these second operations could become superfluous. To control these implants until they dissolve inside the patient, current imaging techniques such as X-rays or MRI are rapidly reaching their limits. Metallic implants are currently not sufficiently detectable with these techniques.

The international MgSafe research groups are investigating the fundamentals of magnesium implants and their interactions with imaging techniques in order to make the invisible visible in the future. For today's World Health Day, the project partners are releasing/putting an explanatory film online for the public

The Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions are part of the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020. The funding programme was launched by the European Commission and strives to make scientific careers more attractive whilst establishing Europe as an interesting location of research.



Project partners OsloMet and UiO about the MgSafe Kick-off meeting in Hamburg

Kickoff meeting for Horizon 2020 project MgSafe

Department of Biomaterials has partnered with OsloMet in the Horizon 2020 project MgSafe that kicked off in Hamburg last week.

MgSafe is a European Training Network within the framework of Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) 2018. The coordinator of MgSafe is Regine Willumeit-Römer. Within this action, 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) address the optimisation of imaging technologies for biodegradable magnesium implants. Two ESRs will work in Oslo. The others ESRs will work in academic institutions in Sweden, Austria, Poland, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

The aim of the project is to promote patient safety by a novel combination 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 since been implanted into several 100 patients.



Press Release Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht I 02.11.2018

EU funds doctoral training in biomaterials research with around 4 million euros

As part of the Marie Skłodowska Curie Action (MSCA), which has just been launched, 15 young researchers investigate biodegradable magnesium implants. The project is coordinated by the Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht (HZG); it brings together eight universities and research institutions as well as four technology companies from eight European countries. The European Union (EU) provides a funding programme of about four million euros.

For their research, the young scientists will use various imaging methods, which will enable them to most precisely monitor the behaviour of magnesium implants during the process of bio-compatible degradation. Biodegradable implants offer many benefits, for example for patients needing trauma or orthopaedic intervention (e.g. to fix fractures) because a second surgery to remove the metal implants after successful healing can be avoided. The participating scientists and representatives from industry meet for the first time at the kick-off meeting of the "MgSafe" network in Hamburg on 6 November 2018.

Prof. Dr. Regine Willumeit-Römer, coordinator of the project and Head of the Metallic Biomaterials Division at the Helmholtz Zentrum in Geesthacht, explains: "Biomedical imaging is fundamental to both diagnosis and therapy, because we need to monitor the behaviour of the degrading implant materials. There is still need for improvement as far as the new class of biodegradable magnesium-based implants is concerned. In the MgSafe project, we will establish new techniques while educating 15 PhD students interdisciplinary in both imaging and implant technologies. "

Research-related training for young scientists

Apart from pursuing scientific development, the European Marie Skłodowska Curie networks aim at training highly talented doctoral students by providing them a framework of excellent research projects in an international environment. To this end, 15 junior scientists will begin their doctoral studies at the universities of Graz, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Hanover, Oslo, Pisa, and Warsaw in April of 2019. Their main target is to investigate the human body's reaction to the implant and monitor the behaviour of the material during magnesium degradation – with an unequalled degree of precision and detail.


The MSCA PhD students will be trained in interdisciplinary issues during workshops and spend secondments with the project partners to gain comprehensive knowledge in their research fields, which they will benefit from for their future scientific qualification.


At HZG, two doctoral students will start working on the HZG X-ray beamlines at the German Electron Synchrotron DESY in Hamburg. Among other things, they will improve high-energy differential-phase contrast tomography or X-ray scattering methods. The X-rays are used to make the smallest structures within the material visible. Such detection methods for degradable magnesium implants are not yet available, and the junior researchers are expected to set new standards.

Prof. Dr. Regine Willumeit-Römer: "We know how conventional implants behave within the body. Our novel implants form a class of their own, and we are urgently looking for suitable procedures to comprehend how the material behaves under real conditions."

MSCA – an industry-oriented approach

Ultimately, the work of this ambitious research network is expected to result in the development of new implant products. The new combination of imaging technologies developed within the project is a prerequisite for the desired increase in patient safety. The MSCA projects primarily follow an industry-oriented approach and, consequently, they significantly contribute to strengthening the correlation between academic and industrial research.

The Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions are part of the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020. The funding programme was launched by the European Commission and strives to make scientific careers more attractive whilst establishing Europe as an interesting location of research and creating a strong pool of European researchers.

The partners in the MgSafe project:

  1. Helmholtz-Helmholtz-Geesthacht Zentrum for Materials and Coastal Research, Metallic Biomaterials Department (Geesthacht, Germany)

  2. National Research Council (CNR) Institute of Clinical Physiology (IFC) (Pisa, Italy)

  3. Medical University of Graz, Department of Orthopaedics and Orthopaedic Surgery (Graz, Austria)

  4. University of Oslo, Department of Biomaterial (Oslo, Norway)

  5. Oslo Metropolitan University, Faculty of Technology, Art, and Design (Oslo, Norway)

  6. Hannover Medical School (Hannover, Germany)

  7. University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy (Gothenburg, Sweden)

  8. Warsaw University of Technology (Warsaw, Poland)

  9. MRITools GmbH (Berlin, Germany)

  10. Syntellix AG (Hanover, Germany)

  11. Scanco Medical AG (Brüttisellen, Switzerland)

  12. Fujifilm Sonosite B.V (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

  13. BRI.Tech BioResorbable Implant Technologies (Graz, Austria)



Dr Katharina Philipp

Institute for Materials Research, Department of Metallic Biomaterials

Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht

Phone: +49 (0) 4152 87 1241

E-mail contact