Roxana Smarsky has a disease that causes the head of her femur to contract. She recently had to have orthopedic surgery to replace her hip that was worn and causing pain because of the contracting of the femur.
The ballast was originally designed as a substitute for steel parts in jet bearings. The material, known as MP1, is considered an advanced polymeric material. It was developed by Aliza Buchman, development manager of MMA Tech, based in Israel, and Rob Bryant, a professor in Virginia.
MP1 offers self-shielding, high heat resistance, zero wear, high strength and is lightweight, making it ideal for the aerospace industry. However, doctors soon realized that it had big potential in the medical industry as well.
As part of a clinical study 12 years ago, the material was first implanted in a patient in New Zealand. Since then, at least 74 surgeries with the material have been successfully completed.
Dr. Daniel Levine has implanted the material in two patients undergoing hip replacement in Israel. The patients were able to walk within a few days of MP1 being implanted.
“The goal is to give our patients the best treatment,” Levine said. “There is a development here that is still in the experimental stage, but on the face of it, it has properties that can give better results than existing materials. One of the problems with existing implants is wear and tear. Over time, patients will have to undergo repeat surgery and replace the implant due to loosening and cracking. The expectation of the new material is long-term durability and the possibility for patients to live with a better quality of life.”
MP1 has been used for knee joins and dental implants. It is currently working toward being used for nails and plates for fractures and fusions in favor of trauma medicine.
“The scientific and medical community in Europe strongly believes in the development,” said Buchman. “Our first recipient has been with the joint for 12 years without pain, and we are certainly encouraged by the results of the additional surgeries.”
MMA Tech has received a research grant of 1.5 million Euros to continue research for orthopedic uses.