Radiation Modification of Natural Polymers to Enhance Structure and Bioactivity
Emanating from the particular success achieved over more than three decades with the radiation crosslinking of UNMWPE acetabular cups in the presence of a mediating gas, the specific technique was applied to a wide range of dry polysaccharides and proteins. Demineralised bone matrix (DBM) protein was investigated because of its known capacity to actively induce new bone growth in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
The radiation modification of the DMB and its potential to enhance the osteoinductive capacity (rate of bone formation) of the protein, as well as the strength of the newly formed bone, were consequently investigated. Similarly, the radiation crosslinking of dry collagen as a carrier for the DBM was investigated in order to present a novel system for bone growth stimulation in surgery.
Development of an administration set. Many of the existing bone growth stimulants have to be prepared in theatre under aseptic conditions before administration to the operation site. Considering the unique features that the Gammalink system offers, a customised administration set was developed for both allograft and xenograft bone growth systems.
Clinical trials. Prior to the general use of the newly developed osteoinductive system, detailed clinical trials were carried out by the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Pretoria, following the formal approval by the Ethics Committee of the University.