Method and Material to Extend the Life of Total Joint Replacements through Wear

Market Overview:

More than 500,000 joint replacements occur in the US each year and demand for joint replacements will grow an estimated 175 percent for total hip replacements and six-fold for total knee replacements by 2030 (CDC report “Health United States 2009”). These replacements typically last about 10 years or more, but as the patients live longer and are more active, demand for longer-lasting, more durable implants is greatly desired. A leading cause for joint replacement failure and subsequent need for revision surgery is osteolysis around the prosthetic implant. This condition is often caused by sub-micron wear particles from the ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE); a material commonly used as a replacement bearing surface. This is a very well-known problem and although great strides to minimize wear particle generation have long been sought, the elimination of sub-micron wear particles is very unlikely. Clemson University researchers have developed a new approach to extending the life of orthopedic prosthesis implants through the release of therapeutic additives during the wear process.

Application                                                        Stage of Development

Biomaterial for total joint replacement,              Functional prototypes and materials

Orthopedic implant bearing material       



• Increased longevity of joint replacement, reducing revision rates and increasing patient satisfaction

• Compatible with the most common orthopedic bearing materials, making the approach adaptable to

   current industry trends


Technical Summary

Bisphosphonates (BP) can be administered orally to prevent wear-debris induced bone loss at the joint replacement site, however this systemic delivery is highly inefficient in that most of the drug never reaches the target and is excreted via the kidney. This novel technology includes a method of utilizing the inevitable sub-micron wear particles as a means to locally administer bisphosphonates (BP) at the targeted site over an extended period of time. This approach capitalizes on an issue, turning it into an advantageous feature that prolongs the life of the product.  Completed studies at Clemson University indicate that the modified UHMWPE material shows significant potential for an alternative bearing material to indirectly increase total joint replacement longevity.

View printable PDF version of this technology


Inventor:                        Dr. John DesJardins, Martine Laberge, Cassandra WrightWalker

Patent Type:                  Utility

Serial Number:              13/360,020

CURF Ref No:              06-026

Patent Information:
Biomedical Sciences
For Information, Contact:
Chase Kasper
Business Development
Clemson University Research Foundation
John DesJardins
Martine Laberge
Cassandra Wright-Walker
Biomaterials - Orthopaedic
Drugs/Pharma - Drug Delivery
Medical Device
Orthopaedics - Orthotics/Prosthetics/Hardware/Other
© 2023. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Inteum