UK medical plastics industry delegates were treated to a healthcare polymers themed meeting at a recent conference at the University of Bradford, UK on November 30, 2012. The meeting was held at the Polymer IRC laboratories and was chaired by Prof Phil Coates. The meeting, which was free of charge, provided a forum for representatives from the polymer industry to view current research activities and to discuss news and future research strategy.
David Farrar of Smith and Nephew presented Innovations in bioresorbable polymers for orthopaedic fixation and repair. This included an overview of polymers used in bone fixation applications and opportunities for improving their performance. Shape memory polymers are currently being developed with the Bradford team, using solid phase deformation techniques to lock orientation into the polymer chains which can revert once a particular temperature is reached, for example at body temperature. This allows fixation devices to change shape once implanted into the bone, more effectively locking them into place and avoiding the need for bone cement.
In another presentation, Giles Meakin spoke about his valuable experience as a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) associate with the University of Bradford and Surgical Innovations, leaders in devices for the rapidly growing field of minimally invasive surgery (MIS), where he is now employed. The range and complexity of products used in MIS were highlighted, and he showed how his work was helping the company to use thermoplastic elastomers in elements of their devices.
The meeting was well attended by delegates from across the polymer industry (30 companies and organisations attended). Presentations were made by a number of companies who collaborate with Bradford, and academics. In addition to healthcare technologies, the other theme was resource efficiency.