Improving Treatment Options for Patients with Large Bone Defects


SBR is a four-year research project (2020-2023) funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme and coordinated by the University of Patras, Greece. The ten partners from six European countries are joining forces to improve treatment options for patients with large bone defects.

In particular, it aims to reduce the complexity of surgeries and shorten the recovery time for patients with large bone defects. The SBR bone regenerative solution reduces the risk of post-operative complications such as failure of the conventionally used metal work, infection and failure of consolidation of the regenerate bone. The SBR solution will contain 3D-printed polymer parts enriched with electrospun fibers that can be customised according to the individual patient’s physiology, pathology and gender. The framework design will ensure easy placement and include adjustable sensors for post-operative monitoring of e.g. pressure, pH value and temperature. Our ultimate goal is to reduce the burden of pain for millions of patients with osteoporosis and large bone defects by facilitating bone regeneration and enabling individuals to reintegrate to society, return to work and lead an active everyday life.

The SBR consortium is composed of 10 partners with a wide range of competencies including regenerative and orthopaedic medicine, biology, pharmacology, regulations, 3D printing, materials, chemistry, physics, printed electronics and management. It has a balanced profile of four SMEs, one large enterprise, two research organisations and three universities representing five different European countries (Greece, France, Spain, United Kingdom and Germany) and one associated country (Switzerland). A pan-European collaborative approach is needed to make SBR a success. Each consortium member will contribute to the project’s ambitious goals through complementary scientific excellence and expertise, leading to exploitable results which have the potential for future commercialisation. The multi-national nature of the consortium also reflects the commitment of the SBR partners to support the development of the European Research Area.

What are the objectives of SBR?

From a general perspective, the SBR project aims to: improve treatment options for patients with large bone defects by developing a targeted resorbable bone implant based on 3D-printed polymers and advanced technologies for controlled delivery of active molecules to accelerate bone regeneration design and develop a novel implant to be applied around the bone gap as a containment system for bone graft materials and as a host matrix for viral carriers and stem cells to guide bone regeneration develop a bone regenerative solution that is minimally invasive in terms of clinical routines and workflows conduct preclinical studies to achieve an in-vivo proof of concept within the project lifetime of four years.

From a more technical perspective, the project objectives of SBR are to: establish the ideal specifications of the SBR implant using digital image modelling of long bones fabricate a host matrix for the active materials using electrospinning evaluate the suitability of the respective technologies and materials for scale-up develop and produce AAV vectors expressing reporter genes or growth factors and optimise delivery systems for controlled release of bioactive agents develop a biosensor to monitor the bone repair processes and evolution of healing evaluate the safety, biocompatibility and effectiveness of the implant device in preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies.

Read more about the SBR approach here.

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