The project is carried out as part of the National Centre for Research and Development’s INNOTECH programme, indented to support science and enterprises conducting innovative research. A team of scientists working under the lead of Prof. Danuta Stróż, dean of the Faculty of Computer Science and Materials Science, University of Silesia, are investigating a new generation material – NiTi shape memory alloys. The aim of the project is to propose specific scope of application of said material in medicine, to make prototypes and prepare industrial-scale production. Alloys which are the subject of study have been used in the process of making osteosynthesis (fracture repair) plates and clasps, and in the treatment of spinal diseases (scoliosis). They are also used in temporomandibular joint surgery and cardiovascular surgery (stents). According to the authors, new solutions proposed in the project consist in (1) launching production of new materials and original medical devices with superelastic properties and uni- or bidirectional shape memory in Poland, and (2) using them in places where they have not yet been used. Research conducted by the University of Silesia team is a significant and innovative contribution to global achievements in the field of minimally invasive treatment procedures.
Cooperation. The project is carried out by a consortium bringing together the University of Silesia (consortium leader), Warsaw University of Technology, BHH Mikrohuta sp. z o.o., and BHH Mikromed sp. z o.o. Once laboratory tests have been completed, the project will enter the second phase, to be conducted by consortium partners from BHH Mikrohuta and BHH Mikromed. Their job will be to manufacture implants, research the target market, develop the product implementation chart, carry out clinical research, obtain requisite certificates, and launch the product on the market.
For obvious reasons, among the most interested parties are clinics, hospitals, and other types of medical facilities which perform minimally invasive procedures and surgeries for the facial skeleton, skeleton, bones of the upper and lower limb, soft tissue synthesis, as well as cardiovascular, respiratory, biliary and esophageal stents. Whereas the final product, i.e. a small bone fracture clasp, has been defined, the project leader asserts the range of products may, in fact, extend to meet market needs. Moreover, launching production of medical devices may trigger a demand for these materials in various branches of the economy.