A Biomimetic Artificial Disc with Improved Mechanical Properties Compared to Biological Intervertebral Discs


  • This work was supported by the Foundation of Advanced Technology Initiative for New Industry Creation of Japan. We thank K. Tsuta at the Shikinami laboratory of Takiron Co., Ltd. in Japan. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at the Medical Biotechnology Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, granted approval for the study of in vivo non-human primate model.


Patients with serious spinal disc disorders will benefit from a novel artificial disc system that is suitable for clinical use in replacement arthroplasty. The disc is composed of a biomimetic three-dimensional (3D) fabric with a triaxial fiber alignment that has superior mechanical properties when compared to conventional implants. This disc improves on the constitutional imperfections of biological intervertebral discs by eliminating the risk of rupture and delamination. The fabric bonds firmly to disc bodies, and functions in combination with bioactive bioresorbable pins and scaffolds as a stand-alone system that maintains the position of the disc and promotes bone growth at the interface. The disc has high biocompatibility and can maintain biomimetic “J-shaped” stress–strain behavior for up to sixty-three million alternating stresses, which is the equivalent of natural biological movements for a period of more than 30 years. This technology exemplifies how, in the best biomaterials, biological flexibility may occasionally overcome artificial rigidity.