Calcium Phosphate Based Biomaterials for Bone Augmentation

  • Date:
  • Location: Häggsalen, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala
  • Doctoral student: Luo, Jun
  • About the dissertation
  • Organiser: Tillämpad materialvetenskap
  • Contact person: Luo, Jun
  • Disputation

Basic (apatite-based) calcium phosphate cements (CPCs), and acidic (brushite and monetite-based) CPCs are used as bone replacement materials because of their bioactivity, mouldability and ability to harden in place. However, their application is limited by their inherent brittleness and difficulties related to their handling. The current thesis aimed to provide solutions to these limitations.

To assess the baseline, the mechanical properties of two promising experimental and two commercially available apatite and brushite cements were investigated. The two experimental CPCs exhibited significantly higher mechanical strengths than the two commercially available ones, warranting further advancement of the former towards clinical use.

The setting reaction of brushite cements was, for the first time, quantitatively studied in the first seconds and minutes, using synchrotron X-ray diffraction. The reaction was found to include a fast nucleation induction period (<9 s), nucleation (<18 s), brushite content increase and setting completion. The effect of the commonly used retardant citric acid – which usually also gives stronger brushite cements - was also evaluated, providing important information for further cement development.  

To overcome complicated usage and short shelf life of acidic CPCs, a ready-to-use acidic CPC was developed by mixing a monocalcium phosphate monohydrate (MCPM) paste and a β-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) paste with suitable amounts of citric acid. The CPC showed adequate shelf life, good cohesion and mechanical performance.

To mitigate against the brittle behavior of CPCs, i) poly(vinyl alcohol) fibres were used to reinforce apatite cements, significantly improving the apatite matrix’s toughness and resistance to cracking; ii) injectable, ready-to-use organic-inorganic composites with partly elastomeric compression behavior were designed based on silk fibroin hydrogels and acidic calcium phosphates, and their ability for antibiotic drug delivery was assessed. 

In summary, insights into the functional properties of currently available CPCs as well as the setting process of brushite cements were gained and several new calcium phosphate-based formulations were developed to overcome some of the drawbacks of traditional CPCs. Further studies, in particular of the biological response, are needed to verify the potential of the developed materials for future use in the clinical setting.