Partner 4: Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli (IOR), Bologna, Italy

IOR is an internationally recognised research and clinical institute in orthopaedic surgery and has a research focus in innovative biosurgical research on the application of bioengineered materials. IOR and the Nano-biotechnologies Laboratory, have long standing experience and extensive expertise in in-vivo evaluation of bone and cartilage regeneration in animal models. The Laboratory is committed to the transfer of results from innovative research projects through pre-clinical experiments to the clinical practice.

The research unit also incorporates a clinical group with extensive experience in clinical studies on innovative biomaterials and advanced tissue engineering technologies for bone and cartilage regeneration. Furthermore, it also has a high reputation as a centre for the demonstration of innovative orthopaedic procedures in Europe that are transferred to orthopaedic surgeons by means of dedicated courses and training.

Currently the Nano-biotechnologies Laboratory is focusing on the realisation and characterisation of multifunctional and anti-wear nanostructured coatings for arthroprosthesis and other implantable orthopaedic devices plus the study of magnetic biomaterials for bone and osteochondral regeneration with magnetic nanoparticles properly functionalised with growth factors and/or cells.

The research unit is taking part in 5 European Projects on bone, cartilage, and meniscus regeneration. Numerous research projects promoted by IOR, the Italian Health Ministry and the European Community have already been performed, allowing an expertise in the development of animal models for muscle-skeletal bioengineering, scaffolds development and testing to be built. An osteochondral scaffold has been developed and the results transferred through pre-clinical experiments to clinical practice. 

Role in the project: IOR will be responsible for conducting pre-clinical animal studies on a sheep model. The main tasks performed will include definition of the implantation technique and design of surgical instruments, follow-up, explantation, analyses of cartilage explants and assessment of cell migration from the graft to the surrounding tissue. The outcome will be used in the clinical study which will, in part, be conducted by IOR.