A new material developed for NASA spacecrafts has been adopted for use in orthopedics at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
The Nahariya-based M.M.A. Tech created the polymer MP1 for service as a substitute for steel in ball bearings, but now it’s being used in hip joint replacement, an innovation that it is hoped will reduce the number of repeat surgeries.
MP1 was the brainchild of Aliza Buchman, the development manager of the Israeli start-up, in collaboration with Prof. Rob Bryant of Virginia.
The substance was first introduced into surgery in Israel at Rambam three months ago, when Dr. Daniel Levin, head of the joint service, performed a hip replacement in a woman in her 60s. After two operations, the patient began walking within a few days and was released from the hospital.
“There is an innovation here that is still in the experimental stage,” Levin cautioned. “But on the face of it, it has properties that can give better results than existing materials. One of the problems with existing implants is wear and tear. Over time, patients will have to undergo repeat surgery and replace the implant due to loosening and cracking. The expectation of the new material is long-term durability and the opportunity for patients to live with a better quality of life.”
MP1 has already found multiple applications. Besides hip replacements, it’s been used for knee joints and dental implants, and is undergoing testing for making nails and plates for the treatment of fracture and fusion in trauma medicine.