Ted Day, CEO of Mo-Sci Corporation, Talks to AZoM about their Bioactive glass and the huge application benefits it has for a variety of industries.
Could you please provide a brief introduction to the industry that Mo-Sci works within and outline the key drivers?
Mo-Sci provides niche glass and ceramic products that are unavailable by traditional suppliers so it serves across many different industries although we include ourselves in the glass industry. The market drivers are lower than normal industrial volumes for these custom products that require higher than typical levels of quality.
Could you please explain what Bioactive glass is?
Bioactive glass is a unique set of glass compositions that when they come into contact with body fluids they react and form the same mineral (hydroxyapatite) our bones are made from. Over the course of time the glass completely turns into this mineral and then the body remodels this mineral, leaving you with new living bone made from your body’s own process.
Can you give a brief overview of bioactive glass applications?
Bioactive glass is predominately used for the repair of orthopaedic and dental issues. These range from periodontal ridge preservation to vertebral fixation in the spine.
One of the unique applications for bioactive glass is that it eliminates the requirement to use host or donor bone tissue in surgeries requiring bone grafting. Traditionally, donor bone is taken from different patient sites during surgery. This requires multiple surgical sites with potential complications such as pain, infection and morbidity.
By using bioactive glass, you can produce the bone required for the procedure without having to place the patient at the additional risk from multiple surgical sites. When bioactive glass is placed in a bone defect site, body fluids hydrate the glass allowing ions to exchange with the surrounding fluids ultimately leaving behind a carbonated calcium phosphate mineral that is incorporated into new and living bone tissue.
Recent testing indicates that even higher performance (tissue regeneration rate) can be achieved from the same glass composition through unique processing of bioactive glass into different forms. Faster tissue regeneration leads to quicker healing and recovery times which is beneficial for patients. Mo-Sci has the ability to fabricate these new form factors that will make up the next generation of bioactive glass materials.
Being a synthetic material, it has no potential to cause blood borne transmission disease. Another newer application is its use in soft tissue for wound healing. In the last several years testing has shown that it has the ability to heal tissue that has been resistant to healing by traditional methods.
Why is bioactive glass so effective in bone and soft tissue regeneration?
Bioactive glass is very reactive and provides unique chemical environments in the tissue it’s placed in causing the body to generate similar tissue to that surrounding it. It’s this unique response by the body to these chemical signals that give bioactive glass such a wide range of applications.
Bioactive glass is effective in bone regeneration due to its ability to interact with the body to form new bone tissue. The chemical reaction from glass to hydroxyapatite and the biological incorporation of this material into new and living bone is what makes the glass so unique.
During the course of conversion from glass into hydroxyapatite and then incorporation by the body's bone forming cells, the grafting material is completely consumed by the process leaving the site indistinguishable from its native form.
Not all mechanisms of action have been identified in soft tissue applications, but we know that when the glass is placed in a wound site changes in the protein production change rapidly. This is due to the up regulation of certain genes that produce these proteins. The ionic change in the local environment has also been shown to attract a specific type of white blood cell called neutrophils, that help with the body's immune system responsed helping fight infections.
How do you see bioactive glass manufacturing and the applications developing in the future?
I think the dental and orthopaedic applications will continue to grow as additional periodontists and orthopaedic surgeons continue to embrace and use bioactive glasses in their practices. The wound healing potential is just being realized. Additional applications such as nerve regeneration are also under study at this time. As we continue to gain understanding at how the body repairs itself I think we’ll be able to provide a “materials solution” to this understanding.
Is Mo-Sci working on new bioactive glass materials?
Yes, we are always looking at what medical professionals need to better serve their patients and glasses that perform better.
The newest bioactive glasses include the borate-based bioactive glasses. These are silica-free bioactive glasses that use boron instead of silica as the glass former. Mo-Sci has the exclusive license for both hard and soft tissue applications for these glasses.
The borate-based glasses produce the same results as the older silica containing glasses but react 5 to 10 times faster during the conversion process. This is the time period required for the graft to convert into hydroxyapatite which can then be remodeled into bone by the body's natural process. By shortening the conversion time, the remodeling process can begin sooner thereby producing fully functional bone earlier than the silica-based glasses.
Newer form factors such as Porogran, which are highly porous granular spherical particles, allow even faster conversion times due to the high surface area available for reaction. Porogran (generic term for porous granules) has been entirely designed and engineered based on surgeons preferences for implantable scaffolds and grafts. Mo-Sci takes pride in working with orthopedic surgeons from around the world to design and provide the bioactive glass materials that allow them the performance they desire.
Why is Mo-Sci so successful in the bioactive glass industry? What sets Mo-Sci apart from other bioactive glass manufacturers?
We invite practicing surgeons to our facility to work “hands on” with new materials and form factors to get a product that not only has improved response but also has good handling characteristics for the surgeon. Mo-Sci pushes the boundaries of material performance and has the ability to develop, form and manufacture all in one location.
Are there any recent case studies that you are particularly proud of?
In a pre-clinical trial for wound healing we had an 82 year old woman that had been diagnosed with osteomyolitis in her lower left leg since she was 3 years old. 10 years ago she developed a full thickness wound over her shin that went completely to the bone. Amputation of her lower leg was recommended when she had heard of our work with bioactive glass. After using the glass to treat her wound we also got notification from her doctor that not only had her wound healed well but that she no longer showed any radiographic signs of her former osteomyolitis.
How do you see your sector progressing over the next decade?
I believe that specialty glass and ceramic materials will continue to be in high demand as new technologies are developed that require these materials in order to function. This will continue to fuel the growth for high quality, value engineered glass materials.
How will Mo-Sci be a part of this change?
Mo-Sci has positioned itself to continue to have excellent development and manufacturing capabilities in order to meet the current and future demand for these materials. By continuing to partner with our customers to meet their needs, we assure our ability to be the primary supplier of unique and high quality specialty glass materials.
About Ted Day
Ted grew up in Rolla graduating from Rolla High School in 1979. In 1984 he married his high school sweetheart (Kim) and in 1987 had their only son, (Bret). After graduating from pharmacy school in 1986 from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, he went to Fort Leonard Wood General Hospital where he acted as the Clinical Coordinator for their Pharmacy Department. Ted has been the Director of Pharmacy at both Salem Memorial District Hospital and Phelps County Regional Hospital from 1990 to 1997 where he was responsible for the coordination of pharmaceutical services and experimental drug research. In 1997 he was promoted to Director of Ancillary Services. In 1998 he joined Mo-Sci Corporation as Executive Vice President. He was promoted to the President of the company in 2005. In 2007 he became the sole owner of Mo-Sci Corporation, a company that manufactures high-tech glass products for health care, automotive and aerospace industries. Founded in 1984 by his father, Delbert Day, Mo-Sci has been internationally recognized for its contributions to innovative product development.
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