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 Prosthetic limb breakthrough made

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Date posted: 04/07/2006

Researchers at University College London have developed technology that enables artificial limbs to be directly attached to a human skeleton.

The new suppost pegs they have developed, allow the skin and soft tissue to be breached with no risk of infection. The team says early clinical trials have been "very promising".

The work paves the way for bionic limbs which are controlled by the central nervous system. Their technique, Intraosseous Transcutaneous Amputation Prosthesis (ITAP), involves securing a titanium rod directly into the bone, with the skin tissue meshing around the rod to form a seal. Deer antlers were studied forthe inspiration for these new rods, which enable prosthetic limbs to be a part of the skeletal structure for the first time.

Dr Paul Unwin, managing director of Stanmore Implants Worldwide, a medical devices company that worked in collaborated with the scientists, said: "The mobility of tissue is a big factor; you don't want the tissue to rip away from the piece of metal, so you need a structure under the skin that will allow the dermal tissues to attach into the metal.

"What we had seen in the deer antlers was that it is very much to do with the structure and shape of the bone, and the porosity of the bone.

"The tissue attaches in with long fibres, and it is like anchors attaching directly into it."

Sadly, rejection issues of artificial attachments still have to be addressed.

See the full Story via external site: news.bbc.co.uk

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