How gallium and magnesium will save broken bones


Material scientists of NUST “MISiS” and the University of Western Australia presented an innovative bioresorbable alloy based on magnesium, gallium and zinc. The material can be used for the manufacture of temporary implants in the treatment of fractures and the restoration of surgically removed areas of the bone, as well as in the treatment of osteoporosis, multiple myeloma, Paget’s disease. The research results are published in an international scientific journal. Journal of Magnesium and Alloys.

In modern bone implantology and cardiovascular surgery, biodegradable implants are increasingly being used, which gradually dissolve and are replaced by body tissues. This approach helps to minimize the inflammation of the surrounding tissue caused by the implant and eliminates the need for an implant removal operation. The benefits of using such implants are especially noticeable in pediatric orthopedics, since in a growing organism, permanent implants can limit bone development.

Of particular interest to scientists as biodegradable materials for the manufacture of implants is magnesium alloys due to their high biocompatibility, sufficiently high mechanical strength and an acceptable rate of biodegradation. In addition, the density and elasticity of magnesium alloys are close in characteristics to the human cortical bone.

An international scientific team of materials scientists from Russia and Australia presented an innovative biodegradable alloy based on magnesium, gallium and zinc, which can be used for osteosynthesis in cases where additional treatment of diseases associated with the destruction and reduction of bone strength is required. An implant from it can become a temporary “skeleton” safe for the patient to replace damaged bone, and as the bone tissue grows, which stimulates the implant material itself, it will “dissolve” by the body.

“Gallium was chosen by us as an alloying element of the alloy due to its unique properties,” said one of the co-authors of the work, Head of the Laboratory “Hybrid nanostructured materials” NITU “MISiS” Alexander Komissarov. – Gallium is known as an “inhibitor” of bone resorption, it is effective in treating disorders associated with accelerated bone loss, including osteoporosis, hypercalcemia, Paget’s disease, and multiple myeloma. In addition, gallium is involved in biochemical processes of regeneration, increasing the thickness, strength and mineral content of the bone. And finally, it has an antibacterial effect, which is especially important in implantology. “


According to the developers, a rather low biocorrosion rate is also a valuable property of the developed alloy. This means that an implant made of such an alloy does not decompose too quickly in the environment of the human body that is aggressive from the point of view of metals and will retain its supporting functions throughout the healing process.

“We were able to experimentally establish that the Mg-4% Ga-4% Zn alloy, after deformation processing using equal channel angular pressing, has a unique profile of characteristics for use in bone implants due to the optimal combination of mechanical properties and corrosion rate,” – added by Alexander Komissarov.


Currently, the team is completing a series of laboratory experiments and is preparing for the preclinical phase of research.

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