MMH.20.004 – Biomaterials for Elderly (BiomatEld)

Route: Materials - Made in Holland

Cluster question: 135 How can we learn more about molecular properties, functions, and interactions in living systems, so that we can develop life-inspired systems ourselves, for example?

The goal of the Biomaterials for Elderly (BiomatEld) network is the exploitation of new biomaterials to resolve chronic friction related health problems of the elderly, which degrades their quality of life and restricts their daily activities and work efficiency. The consortium members will accelerate the progress of the interdisciplinary biomaterials research and put The Netherlands in the fore-front of biomaterials research for the improvement of the quality of life in the elderly. Blinking, speech, mastication, swallowing, walking and running are all vital functions which healthy young human beings take for granted. These functions depend on the balanced sliding interactions mediated by special aqueous lubricants secreted and confined to locations and tissues (e.g. cartilage) where necessary. At the core of these aqueous lubricants are large polysaccharides for viscosity enhancement, special glycoproteins with bottle brush structures to give rise to boundary lubrication. Cartilage has a special water holding structure giving rise to hydro static lubrication during locomotion. Old age, treatment like radio therapy and medication or diseases like Sj√∂gren’s syndrome, diabetes, arthritis cause these aqueous lubricants and tissues to malfunction giving rise to chronic health conditions of dry eyes, dry mouth and joint dysfunction. These diseases unfortunately do not have a treatment yet and only the symptoms are managed through saliva substitute, tears substitute and viscosupplementation or arthroplasty. This consortium will address these problems and specific lubricating and lubrication enhancing molecules will be synthesized for addition in the new generation saliva substitute, tears substitute and viscosupplementation fluid to increase their efficacy because these molecules will work synergistically with the naturally occurring lubrication system. Cartilage regeneration will be performed under mimicked biomechanical conditions using 3D reactors so that the treatment outcome is better than present common practice.


cartilage, hyaluronic acid, lubrication, mucins, saliva, synovial fluid, tear


Organisation University Medical Center Groningen and University of Groningen (UMCG)
Name Dr. P.K. (Prashant Kumar) Sharma