Osteomics: improved biomedical product development
Submitting InstitutionCranfield University
Unit of AssessmentAeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering
Summary Impact TypeTechnological
Research Subject Area(s)
Chemical Sciences: Analytical Chemistry
Engineering: Biomedical Engineering, Materials Engineering
Summary of the impact
Cranfield's research on Osteomics (the science of bones) &
Biominerals (O&B) has improved the manufacture and performance of
biomedical prostheses. The techniques developed have also resulted in a
spin-out company and analytical techniques with broader application in
forensic casework. Specifically, our research has resulted in:
(i) Improved biomedical prostheses where new coating techniques and new
product quality assurance protocols and standards underpin coating
processes in industry; worth several £M/year. These have been developed
with, and are currently used by Biomet, an international medical device
(ii) The creation of a spin-out company, HALO X-ray Technologies, to
exploit the technologies based on our novel X-ray analytical techniques.
(iii) Several new analytical methods for the discrimination of bone in
forensic case work (used by Cellmark Forensic Services (CFS)).
Biomaterial research at Cranfield has a long (>15 years) track record.
Biomimetic approaches to producing chemically active coatings have always
been an attractive goal for the pharmaceuticals industry. These approaches
have the potential for significant energy and materials savings. Further,
clinical trials have indicated that enhanced bone ingrowth and biomimetic
coatings could reduce health burdens by several £M and improve quality of
Our research in this domain is based on:
- analytical characterisation
- development of industrial and analytical processes
- synthesis of apatite based biominerals
- characterisation of natural biomineral materials (e.g. bone) and
Cranfield has pursued physicochemical characterisation of biological
apatites to address key issues associated with understanding their
physical behaviour, disease, and the difference between biological
materials [P1] and man-made substitutes. Understanding biological apatites
— calcium phosphate materials that are the major constituents of bones —
has allowed the use of crystallographic analysis in forensic
identification for species recognition [G1, P2]. Cranfield has also
developed physico-chemical methods for the industrial scale manufacture
and characterisation of biomimetic coatings on endoprosthetics (e.g. hip
implants) [G2, G3].
Our research has focussed on new manufacturing techniques for bone-like
coatings on these implants and the detailed in-situ characterisation of
biomimetic, active coatings. These coatings have a complex chemistry and a
number of components with a range of structural orders. Cranfield's
research has included quantification of the composition with depth through
the coating and the engineering of `smart' materials. This was supported
by research to develop novel quality assurance protocols for such coatings
[P3, P4] and by the development of new approaches to rapid data
||Post details and dates involved
|Prof K D Rogers
||Professor, Tenure throughout
|Dr P Zioupos
||Reader, Tenure throughout
|Dr S Beckett
||Research Fellow, 2006-2012 , Lecturer, 2012-present
|Dr A Williams
||Research Fellow, 2004-2006, Lecturer, 2006-present
References to the research
Evidence of quality — peer-reviewed journal papers
P1 Zioupos P & Rogers K D, Complementary physical and mechanical
techniques to characterise bone-like tissues. J. Bionic Engineering,
3(1), pp. 19-31, 2006.
P2* Rogers K D & Daniels P, An X-ray diffraction study of the
effects of heat treatment on bone mineral microstructure.
Biomaterials, 23, pp. 2577-2585, 2002.
P3* Rogers K D, Etok S E, Scott Ra, Structural
characterisation of apatite coatings. Journal of Materials Science,
39(18), pp. 5747-54, 2004.
P4 Rogers K D, Etok S E, Broadhurst A, Scott Ra, Enhanced
analysis of biomaterials by synchrotron diffraction. Nucl. Inst.
Meth. A 548, pp. 123-128, 2005.
P5* Evans Pb,c, Rogers K Dc, Chan Jb,
Rogers J, Dicken Ab,c, High intensity x-ray
diffraction in transmission mode employing an analog of Poisson's spot,
Appl. Physics Lett. 97, p. 204101, 2010.
* Three identified references that best indicate the quality of the
Key to papers
b: Nottingham Trent University
c: Halo X-ray Technologies Ltd
Further Evidence of quality — underpinning research grants
G1 EPSRC (GR/S98054), A laboratory based analytical method to
determine `age at death', £127k; 2004-2006 PI: P Zioupos; CI: S
Black (U Dundee), J Clement (U Melbourne)
G2 EPSRC (GR/R19700), A new method for non-destructive depth
profiling in thin film materials, £175k; 2001-2004 PI: KD Rogers
G3 EPSRC (GR/R23404/01), A multipurpose X-ray diffraction facility,
£295k; 2001-2004 PI: KD Rogers
Details of the impact
Cranfield's research on osteomics and biominerals has enhanced the use of
biomaterials in health applications and forensic analysis, and improved
industrial standards in the manufacture of medical prosthetics.
- The research has resulted in robust quality assurance protocols for
biomimetic coatings that have been adopted across Europe. These
protocols are used by Biomet, an international medical device
manufacturer, and are essential for the reliable supply of many M€ worth
of prosthetic products, [C1].
- A unique approach to structural tomography developed by Cranfield to
derive depth resolved physicochemical information is now employed by
Biomet, amongst others, as a biomimetic method for chemical modification
of endoprosthetic surfaces. This has become a commercial coating, being
produced in five factories across Europe, [C1].
- A spinout company from Cranfield, in collaboration with Nottingham
Trent University, (Halo X-ray Technologies, registered in 2012) has been
formed based on the unique methods developed for data acquisition from
our analytical techniques. Rogers is a Director (Chief Scientific
Officer) and the company has attracted further funding — from EPSRC and
TSB in partnership with other UK companies — to develop novel sensors
for XRD-crystallography in-situ and in-vivo. The company was awarded a
grant for $3.5M from the US Department of Homeland Security in July 2013
which enabled it to recruit an additional 4 members of staff, [C2].
- New methods based on our work on the characterisation of natural bone
have led to the development of species discrimination techniques. These
have been applied in the casework of forensic providers where human
identification is required (Cellmark Forensic Sciences), [C3].
Sources to corroborate the impact
C1 Contact: Head of Research & Development, BIOMET
C2 Contact: CEO, Halo X-ray Technologies
C3 Contact: Former Specialist Forensic Practitioner, Cellmark Forensic