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QMUL awarded £500k to develop novel dental implant material

Researchers from the School of Dentistry within Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have received nearly £500k in MRC funding to assess the effectiveness of a new injectable bone graft material used to replace missing bone in implant dentistry.

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The novel bone graft, previously developed by a team of experts at QMUL, has shown strong potential in preliminary studies and more research is now needed to fulfil the requirements for manufacturing, marketing and selling the new product.

The research, which is also supported by industry partners Straumann and Geistlich BioPharma, will be taking place [over a two year period] and is led by Dr Shakeel Shahdad, Consultant and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer with QMUL and Barts Health NHS Trust, and involves a team of experts in dental materials and oral biology.

Dr Shakeel Shahdad, Principal Investigator at Queen Mary University of London, comments: “We are thrilled to have been awarded this research grant and are hugely excited about developing our product and eventually rolling it out to patients. The MRC funding will be used to compare the performance of two of our novel material formulations – with regards to their abilities to preserve the dimensions of the bone after tooth extraction and promote new bone formation around dental implants – compared to the current synthetic gold standard material.”

“Initial investigations have demonstrated that our materials integrate well, bind strongly with bone tissue and enhance the formation of new bone at a faster rate compared to other synthetic materials used for the same applications.

Currently all bone substitute materials, used in dentistry to fill bone defects, are in the form of granules that do not set or harden upon application, and consequently can move around – increasing the risk of the procedure failing and make it more difficult for the clinician carrying out the surgery.

In contrast, the new materials developed by Dr Shahdad and his team are in the form of injectable pastes, similar to putty, that can be easily moulded into the desired shape. The materials harden in a few minutes after being injected into the surgical site, ensuring a completely sealed filling of the site without any parts becoming dislodged after implantation.

The materials also show improved handling properties and ease of use, which leads to simplification of the surgical procedure and consequently, a shorter surgical time which benefits the patients.

Dr Shakeel Shahdad continues: “The introduction of these novel injectable materials in dentistry will help overcome the limits of other synthetic materials currently available, such as low degradation rate, poor handling properties and low stability in the site of implantation, which are associated with failures of the surgical procedure.

“The clinical use of this material for implant dentistry will be beneficial for patients as it will lead to better outcomes, faster healing times and a shorter surgical time. This ultimately reduces patient morbidity, improves the quality of life and reduces costs to the NHS.”

Co-investigators within the QMUL study team include Professor Robert Hill, Chair of Physical Sciences in relation to Dentistry; Mr Mital Patel, Consultant in Restorative Dentistry; Dr Simon Rawlinson, Senior Lecturer in Oral Biology; Miss Alessia D’Onofrio, Research Fellow in Dental Biomaterials. The study also involves Dr Niall Kent, Postdoctoral Research Associate at UCL.

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