- Fred Mosselmans, Principal Beamline Scientist I18
- © Diamond Light Source 2014
World-leading researchers from the University of Sheffield have identified a molecule which can be targeted to reduce the loosening of hip implants by preventing toxic metal entering into bone cells.
Hip implants rely on the normal functioning of bone cells to achieve fixation of the implant with the bone. However, small metal particles released from hip implants, due to friction between the moving surfaces, have been shown to be toxic to the surrounding bone cells.
This causes the implant to loosen in the bone and often leads to patients requiring second surgery to replace the failed implant.
Using X-ray light on beamline I18 from the Diamond, researchers were able to map the locations of metals inside bone cells.
The findings, published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research, show that the location of the metals that are released from implants is different inside bone building and bone destroying cells.
Dr Alison Gartland, Senior Lecture from the University’s Academic Unit of Bone Biology, said: “The fact that we found metal ions in different places within the two types of bone cells suggest that they get into the cells by separate ways.