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Medical Engineering Masters Research Project: State of the Art Report (Literature Review), Queen Mary, University of London

  1. Read the task in Box 1.
  2. Download each of the pdfs and read them. Keep these open so you can refer to them as you watch the video.
  3. Watch the video.

Step 1

The Task

Medical Engineering Masters Research Project: State of the Art Report (Literature Review), Queen Mary, University of London

Masters in Medical Engineering students conduct a research / design group project with industry. This is a year long project for which groups also produce an Extended Abstract, a Final Technical Report and an Executive Summary (see separate collections for Executive Summary and Extended Abstract).

The State of the Art Report examines the research and technologies for the proposed  project. It is written at the end of the first semester before the actual research is conducted. The State of the Art Report should use the academic literature to explore how the major questions or problems in the field change as information is accumulated and to reflect on current state of the art knowledge. The report should evaluate the most recent developments in research, examining the major findings and conclusions of published studies. It should not simply finding s from studies but should interpret and expand the conclusions made in the literature. It should explore how major questions or problems in the field have changed as information has been accumulated. Major findings from the various studies should be summarised into a comprehensible and cohesive presentation (eg. a table, illustration, concise discussion). The studies should be compared and discussed and any conflict in conclusions should be resolved through a new interpretation. Similarly, any divergent results should be discussed and an appropriate avenue (gap) should be suggested for future research. This will lead to the aims and objectives of the State of the Art Report.

Step 2


Text 1 - intervertebral disc

1.1 Introduction [R.T]

Back pain is usually associated with intervertebral (IVD) degeneration which has a high occurrence of about 35% in the Western World. In the UK, it has also proven to be quite a financial burden, as it involves disability benefits and insurance being provided for the patients, as well as medical costs being taken into consideration. Treatment of this condition has mostly been unsuccessful due to the lack of sufficient understanding of the mechanobiology and mechanotransduction pathways in the tissue (Urban & Roberts, 2003).

The following project will discuss the characteristics of the healthy IVD, the pathologies involved, including the available treatment strategies. Main focus will be placed in tissue engineering treatment, describing the possible types of cells, scaffolds and bioreactors which can be incorporated into the treatment process.

1.2 Characteristics of Healthy Intervertebral Disc

1.2.1 Intervertebral Disc Anatomy and Function[R.T]

Intervertebral discs are cartilaginous, viscoelastic tissues located between adjacent vertebrae with ligamentous tissues connecting them to form a typical functional spinal unit (FSU). The viscoelastic nature of the disc allows the spine to undergo torsion, extension and flexion during daily physiological activities (Raj, 2007). They are heterogeneous in nature and form 20-33% of the total length of the spine (De Palmer & Rothman, 1970; White & Panjabi, 1990). The disc also has a very low cell density representing approximately 1% of its total volume (Bibby et al., 2001, Setton & Chen, 2004). These cells are embedded in an extracellular matrix (ECM) and are isolated from one another.

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Text 2 - Porous Hierarchical Silicon-Substituted Hydroxyapatite

1.1 Bone Physiology (J. B.)

In reconstructive surgery, the repair and regeneration of bony defects continues to be a major challenge. The potential of bone substitute materials and tissue engineering play a role in delivering osteoinductive cells and consequently aiding bone ingrowth. In view of this, a bone-substituted material shows by preference a resemblance with the organic or inorganic components of bone (Ruhe et al., 2006). Consequently, there is the need to understand the mechanisms of bone physiology/mineralisation and its related functions (Hulmes et al., 1995; Jager & Fratzl, 2000; Veis, 2005).

1.1.1 Bone Remodelling

Bone is a vital living, highly vascular and mineralised connective tissue that constantly undergoes change; where it has the ability to regenerate and repair itself in a swift and well-coordinated manner. In its natural environment, bone undergoes constant remodelling (Fig. 1.1), aided by the coordination of osteoblast and osteoclast cells (Hing, 1996; Currey, 2002; Buchter et al., 2005). Osteoclast cells, located within the calcified matrix, demineralise and remove bone when it is necrotic or damaged. They do this by secreting protease onto the bone surface, which in turn causes a decrease in pH and degradation of organic matrix.

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Text 3 - Urinary System (Thiaga Edirisinghe)

The human urinary system consists of four main components: the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder and the urethra.

The kidneys filter the blood plasma and produces urine.  The urine is drained to the bladder through the ureters where it is stored until its excretion from the body through the urethra. The following sections introduce the reader to the basic anatomy and physiology of the different parts of the human urinary system.

1.1.           The Kidneys

The kidneys perform the major work in the urinary system, while the ureters, bladder, and urethra are passageways and storage areas for urine. The functions of the kidneys include the excretion of wastes and foreign substances through the formation of urine, the regulation of blood ionic composition, pH, blood glucose, blood volume and pressure and the production of hormones (Tortora & Derrickson, 2006).

The kidneys are highly vascularised organs with an abundant blood supply. They receive about 20-25% of the total cardiac output via the abdominal aorta (Figure 1.1). a high blood flow rate (approximately 1.2 L/min in adults) is important for maintaining kidney function, since this determines the urine filtration rate (Berne and Levy, 2000). The functional units of the kidneys are the nephrons, which filter the blood plasma and produce urine.

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Step 3

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