Bioengineering Chair and Laura H. Carnell Professor Peter Lelkes is working on technology to create a cutting-edge material for use in orthopedic surgery that could improve patient outcomes. Photography By: Ryan Brandenberg

Orthopedic device company OrthoMend Research Inc. (Philadelphia, PA) acquired the rights from Temple University (Philadelphia, PA) to commercialize an innovative bone-repairing material. The nanodiamond technology, developed by Bioengineering Chair Peter Lelkes, creates novel orthopedic fixation screws that dissolve in bones over time and promote bone healing.

Lelkes, director of Temple’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering and also a professor of mechanical engineering and of surgery, said the material's stronger screws and suture-like design improve upon a current biodegradable material used in orthopedic repairs.

Orthopedic pins or screws will be the first items tested and manufactured. The researchers then plan to look into making plates and other bone-repair technologies, including hollow screws made of the same material that will be able to deliver medications directly into damaged bones to improve healing.