SYDNEY, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Australian researchers on Wednesday said they are harnessing diamonds for use in biomedical implants, through a novel way that could improve the way the human body accepts the medical devices.
"Currently the gold standard for medical implants is titanium but too often titanium implants don't interact with our bodies the way we need them to," RMIT University quoted its biomedical engineer Dr Kate Fox, who led the team behind the development, as saying in a statement.
"To work around this, we have used diamond on 3D scaffolds to create a surface coating that adheres better to cells commonly found in mammals."
"We are using detonation nanodiamonds to create the coating, which are cheaper than the titanium powder."
The coating also helps cell growth and reduces bacterial attachment in the implants, she said.
"Not only could our diamond coating lead to better biocompatibility for 3D-printed implants, but it could also improve their wear and resistance. It's an exceptional biomaterial."
The researchers are focusing on using the technology for orthopaedics. Other than the musculoskeletal system, diamond has also been used to coat cardiovascular stents - tubes that help keep the heart's arteries open - and on joints, as well as in bionics and prosthetics, said the university.
"It will be a number of years before a technology like this is rolled out, and there are many steps to take until we see it available to patients," said Fox. "But what we have done is taking the first crucial step in a long and potentially incredible journey."