MEng (HB1V), BEng (HBD8), MEng (HB18), BEng (HBC8)
Bioengineering associated with medical implants
Friday 16th August 2013
Queen Mary University of London has produced a new short film highlighting different medical implants including total knee replacement, prosthetic legs, artificial bone, breast implants and urological stents.
The film includes clips showing implants being developed, tested, manufactured, implanted and used. It has been used as part of bioengineering public engagement activity and demonstrates the importance of medical engineers and medical materials scientists in developing these implants and the medical treatments of tomorrow.
Queen Mary scientists discover promising protein to treat osteoarthritis
Friday 12th July 2013
New research from the School of Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary University of London, suggests that a protein found predominantly in healthy cartilage, a type of tissue that allows the smooth movement of joints, could hold the key to treating osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a painful condition that results from the cartilage breaking down at the joints and leads to difficulties in moving around and being active. Researchers created a synthetic gel of damaged cartilage similar to osteoarthritis in the lab, and added a protein called C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) that is naturally found in healthy cartilage tissue. The researchers compressed the gel which exposed it to a level of deformation which is similar to when a person does moderate exercise in real life. Upon examining the gel samples following the compression, the researchers found two new protective proteins that have anti-inflammatory and reparative effects. The team also discovered that the effects of CNP change as person gets older and has more diseased cartilage.
“While these are early results, the findings could be useful in treating osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis and affects more than 8 million people in the UK,” explains Dr Nick Peake. Lead researcher, Dr Tina Chowdhury, said: “We are very excited about the potential for this work and the next step is to replicate results in a diseased animal model before the benefits can be translated to patients.
Arthritis Research UK’s Medical director, Professor Alan Silman welcomed the results of the study, adding: “This is an exciting piece of research. We know that exercise is essential to keep cartilage healthy and protect the joints against arthritis.
“Applying this knowledge to the treatment of osteoarthritis, where cartilage loss is substantial, has been challenging. If these preliminary results are validated in further research they could offer a novel and much needed approach to treating the underlying cause of this distressing disorder and not just reducing the symptoms.
The research is funded by Arthritis Research UK and published in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.
Tiny livers grown from stem cells could repair damaged organs
Thursday 4th July 2013
The Daily Telegraph reports that 'Patients suffering from liver failure could be injected with tiny replacement organs grown from their own stem cells within the next ten years following new research'. Using a combination of three different types of stem cells, scientists in Japan have grown miniature precursors to human livers, known as liver buds. Whilst a leading stem cell expert, Professor Malcolm Allison from Queen Mary University of London, was not involved in the study, his comments have appeared across national media. He acknowledges the significance of the study, noting that this breakthrough “opens up the distinct possibility of being able to create mini-livers from the skin cells of a patient dying of liver failure, and when transplanted, would not be subjected to immune rejection as happens with conventional liver transplants today.”
Redesigning the future of prosthetics with 3D printers
Wednesday 3rd July 2013
In May 2011, Richard Van As, a carpenter from South Africa, lost two of his fingers with a table saw. As soon as he walked out of the hospital he was determined to gain his fingers back. A professionally manufactured bionic hand costs a lot of money, more than he could afford ...
However, one day he came across a video on You Tube in which a special effects editor from Washington, Ivan Owen, was demonstrating a bug puppet hand that relies on thin steel cables to act like tendons, allowing the metal digits to bend. Van As and Owen started working together to create handmade 3D printed mechanical fingers. The goal couldn’t have been reached without the help of MakerBot, who provided Owen and Van As with a free 3D-Printer. They were then able to redesign, print and test their ideas very quickly. With further improvements, the new Robohand is available on Thingiverse which is inexpensive and is now designed to snap together.
Following this, the duo then went on to help Liam Dippener, a 5 year old boy who was born without fingers on his right hand because of a congenital syndrome known as amniotic band syndrome. The up and down movement of Dippener’s wrist allowed the five aluminium fingers to open and close.
3D Printing or better known as Rapid Prototyping has become an incredibly popular and powerful manufacturing tool for engineers and designers. In fact, the School of Engineering and Materials Science has recently purchased a 3D Printer. All the Medical Engineering students have the unique opportunity to design products on CAD and manufacture it using this rapid prototyping technology.
Falaque Ahmed (Medical Engineering undergraduate student).
QMUL scientist wins biomaterials awards
Dr Hing (right) as see recently on BBC TV's Bang Goes The Theory.
Tuesday 2nd July 2013
Dr Karin Hing from the School of Engineering and Materials Science has been awarded two prestigious prizes in recognition of her outstanding contributions to materials research in the field of biomaterials. The UK Society for Biomaterials, Biocompatibility Prize and the Kroll Medal from the Institute of Materials, Mining and Minerals both relate to Dr Hing's research in the development of bone graft substitute materials.
• The 2013 UK Society for Biomaterials, Biocompatibles Prize recognises researchers with an industrial link to their research who have made significant contributions to the UK Biomaterials field. Dr Hing has been awarded this prize in recognition of her research into the importance of synthetic bone graft substitute porosity and chemistry and the translation of this research into clinical practice via the development of the bone graft material, Actifuse. In addition the award recognises her scientific and technical contribution to the biomaterials company, ApaTech, which produces Actifuse.
• The 2013 Kroll Medal from the IOM3 is awarded in recognition of a significant contribution that has enhanced the scientific understanding of materials chemistry as applied to the industrial production of inorganic materials. Dr Hing received the award for her development of a novel commercial processing technique to produce porous bone graft substitute materials with a biomimetic structure and control of chemistry, microstructure and porosity so as to enable in order to control the mechanical and biological performance of the biomaterial.