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Fused Filament Fabrication of Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) for Total Knee Arthroplasty

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

9:00 AM-11:00 AM

BIOMED PhD Research Proposal

Fused Filament Fabrication of Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) for Total Knee Arthroplasty: Development of a 3D Printed Antibiotic-Loaded Porous Bone Ingrowth Surface

Hannah Spece, PhD Candidate
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
Drexel University
Steven M. Kurtz, PhD
Associate Research Professor
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
Drexel University

Joseph Sarver, PhD
Teaching Professor
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
Drexel University

Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is the standard of care for severe pain related to knee osteoarthritis, with over 700,000 procedures performed each year in the United States. Despite high success rates, devastating complications can arise from TKA failures, most commonly due to periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) or aseptic loosening. Currently, infection is treated using antibiotic-loaded bone cement, though support for cementless fixation is rapidly growing. Aseptic loosening can be mitigated through the use of porous bone ingrowth surfaces, but these are difficult to produce and require the removal of host bone to establish fit. With the number of TKA procedures predicted to increase 600% by 2030, there is significant a clinical need for improved biomaterials that address both PJI and implant loosening while overcoming the limitations of current treatments.

The proposed research aims to develop a novel bone ingrowth surface capable of delivering antibiotics using porous PEEK created via fused filament fabrication (FFF) additive manufacturing (AM; 3D printing), a method currently used in hospitals for creating custom instrumentation. Porous constructs of PEEK, a biomaterial with many benefits over metal and bone cement, have been successfully created via selective laser sintering (SLS) and shown to promote bone ingrowth. However, the SLS process comes with prohibitively significant costs, waste, and safety considerations. Given recent advancements allowing for FFF printing of PEEK, we therefore aim to create and validate 3D printed porous PEEK for bone ingrowth and antibiotic delivery.

First, we will manufacture porous PEEK constructs via FFF and determine the effect of printing geometry on osseogenic ability and mechanical properties in compression. The results will then be used to inform to creation of a model to describe the drug release kinetics of vancomycin from porous AM PEEK. The model will be validated by examining in vitro vancomycin loading and release for the porous PEEK. Finally, we will validate the antibacterial activity of the 3D printed antibiotic-loaded porous PEEK in vitro using Staphylococcus aureus exposure. Evaluating the ability of antibiotic-loaded 3D printed porous PEEK to withstand a bacterial challenge will allow us to better assess its resistance to biofilm formation and value for orthopaedic applications.

The proposed research will establish a novel bone ingrowth surface capable of antibiotic delivery, representing a solution to the pressing issues of TKA loosening and PJI. If successful, this research has the potential to improve greatly patient outcomes for a variety of orthopaedic procedures requiring bone ingrowth surfaces, namely revision TKA and bone defect management. More generally, these studies will enhance our understanding of AM PEEK as a biomaterial and promote the translation of 3D printing toward clinical use.

Contact Information

Ken Barbee

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