Maxwell Munford Cohort Four participant

Maxwell Munford

Imperial College London

Maxwell Munford

Additive Orthopaedics

Our regenerative orthopaedic implants harness bone’s natural remodelling and healing to ensure that healthy bone can stay healthy and grow stronger after surgery. This is achieved with additive manufacturing and results in reduced surgical revision and eased pain as patients age.

We believe in a better treatment for patients with osteoarthritis and that the status quo in orthopaedic implants can be improved. Our vision to give young patients the best possible treatment by using additive manufacturing to make regenerative knee implants which encourage bone growth.

In the UK today, £1.2 billion is spent by the NHS per year in treating osteoarthritis with knee reconstruction in 120,000 patients. This is a growing problem due to the aging population and increasing prevalence of osteoarthritis in young patients, between 35 and 60 years old. Those patients experience a 35% implant failure rate and this is unacceptable. In addition to this, unplanned surgical revision and intervention is required 4 years post operation due to further onset of the disease.

These problems are partly due to the use of conventional solid metal implants which hinder the natural remodelling and growth of bone. This means that when these patients then get to revision surgery, the low bone quality makes revision a painful and dangerous procedure.

Bone is an amazing material which is constantly maintaining a balance between formation and resorption to grow stronger where is it sees more load. Our implants can restore the loading seen by healthy bone to encourage healthy remodelling and growth. Currently, patients younger than 35 are treated with biological repair and physiotherapy and the average age for implant procedure is 69. There is a huge opportunity to improve treatment for patients who fit between these two categories.

Our solution to this is to integrate additive manufactured metal lattices within the tibial component of knee implants to encourage and control the regeneration of bone. This will maintain and increase the function of healthy bone stock and improve quality of life, reduce surgical revision and ease pain in young patients.

The innovative methods developed in our lab replicate bone stiffness and directionality at a fine scale and allow us to control the strain and healing response across the knee. Our research published to date shows that our Titanium structures closely replicate the strain patterns seen in bone and testing in a sheep model yielded exciting results indicating increased bone growth into our implants.

Applied in knee implants, this optimised bone ingrowth would mean that healthy bone can stay healthy rather than prematurely aging and resorbing after surgical intervention. As a collaboration of engineers and surgeons, we aim to develop this implant technology and inspire further adoption in the market. Our technology has the potential to improve patient care by maintaining healthy bone; reducing pain at surgical revision and improving quality of life.

Diagnostics Accelerator Programme: market access planning and evidence generation

Delivered in partnership with the National Institute of Health Research London In Vitro Diagnostics unit this six-week evidence generation focused programme will support medtech innovators to de-risk the path to successful deployment through the development of a business case validating their clinical, financial and social claims. This way, when innovators approach the health system, they are comfortable in the knowledge that the product achieves what it is designed to do.

Applications Open (closing 7 March 2021)