PCCA 253/2014


Project leader:

PhD Raluca Nicoleta Ion

Phone number: 021.318.15.75/int 106
Fax : 021.318.15.75/int 102
E-mail: rciubar@yahoo.com

Coordinating Institution:

University of Bucharest

Faculty of Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Partner Institutions:

University Politehnica of Bucharest – P1

National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics – P2

S.C. R&D Consulting and Services S.R.L. – P3

Tehnomed Impex CO S.A. – P4

Contractual authority:


Project code:


Project type and number:

PCCA 253/2014




24 months

Budget: lei


The materials used for internal fracture fixations and joint replacements are all currently made of metals. However, metallic implants suffer from two shortcomings, one being the poor interfacial bonding between the metallic surface and surrounding bone, and the other the higher rigidity of metallic implants than that of natural bone. Additionally, complications associated with implants due to bacterial-induced infections arise frequently. The implant anti-bacterial function set additional challenges for implant development besides the requirements for osteoblast fixation, mechanical, and biomechanical constraints, consequently in many cases almost incompatible demands have to be met. For osseointegration it is important to promote osteoblast fixation and to avoid bacterial adhesion at the same time. But, cells and bacteria respond differently to implant surface parameters and this gives an opportunity to look for an optimal solution. The present life expectancy of metallic implants is estimated at 10-15 years. Taking into account the ageing of the population, a second implantation becomes more and more often necessary. Surgical revision, however, can be twice as expensive as the primary operation and may lead to significant complications, including infection, deformity, pain, and loss of mobility. This research project is proposed to adress these issues.

A new metallic material (low elastic modulus titanium alloy) with two types of nanostructured coatings, titanium oxide nanotubes and carbon nanowalls, respectively, will be designed, developed and investigated for optimal implant fixation through innovative integration of material science, physics, chemistry and life science. Cerium oxide nanoparticles will be immobilized by electrodeposition to provide the coatings with antibacterial properties. This new beta-titanium alloy along with the new coatings will impart to orthopedic implants the excellent corrosion resistance, adequate strength, enhanced mechanical compatibility, and good bioactivity for promoting bone tissue regeneration and fixation of implants, and to prevent bacterial infections, offering an innovative solution to all of the issues faced by the present metallic implants.

Functionalized surfaces will be fully characterized for physical properties, chemical composition and biological activity. In vitro biological studies will include adhesion, proliferation and differentiation of osteoblasts, assessment of inflammatory cytokines, nitric oxide release and foreign body giant cell formation in macrophage cultures. In parallel Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli adhesion and biofilm formation on experimental alloy surfaces will be analysed. Collation of all the data will be performed to select from the alternatives the optimal coating for intended use. As proof of concept, the fabrication of orthopaedic implant demonstrator is envisaged.

To achieve the research goals, nine work packages have been established, and a research team with all of the requisite expertise has been formed. We firmly believe that the synergism of this research team will allow us to successfully conduct this multidisciplinary project and push the frontier of the field of orthopedic biomaterials.

The results of this project will have favorable social and economic impacts on society because the quality of patient life using the new implants could be improved greatly. Moreover, a reduction in the need for revision surgery could translate into reduced health care costs. The broad impacts of this program will also be evident in our strong commitment to human resource development.


The main objective of the project is to develop a new implant material consisting of a new and highly biocompatible titanium–based alloy with non-toxic components on which two kinds of nanocoatings, TiO2 nanotubes and carbon nanowalls, respectively, functionalized with cerium oxide nanoparticles will be deposited in order to avoid complications frequently observed after bone implantation, such as implant loosening and infection, thus eliminating the currently experienced need for implant revisions.

The specific objectives of this project are:

  1. development of a new beta-titanium alloy with superior mechanical properties to be used as body implant;
  2. the deposition of two ypes of nanostructured coatings consisting of TiO2 nanotubes and CNWs, respectively, on the new beta-titanium alloy in order to obtain an optimal implant fixation and to further improve the biocompatibility.
  3. in house synthesis of CONPs and their characterization
  4. functionalization of coatings with CONPs and characterization of coating/substrate systems non-functionalized or functionalized with CONPs.
  5. evaluation of the antibacterial activity of coating/substrate systems non-functionalized or functionalized with CONPs and selection of the system which reduces infection and biofilm formation to a minimum;
  6. biocompatibility testing which will consist of: 1) Cytotoxicity evaluation of the coating/substrate systems; 2) in vitro studies concerning the interactions of the osteoblastic type cells with coating/substrate systems in order to determine which are the most relevant for orthopaedic applications, 3) In vitro studies to investigate the inflammatory potential of the most promising coatings.
  7. at industrial level, cooperation work will be focused on fabrication of orthopaedic implant prototypes in order to apply designed technologies for industrial application.


Expected results of the project are:

  1. Development of a new technology for the synthesis of the new titanium-based alloy, surface coating and functionalization for industrial implementation;
  2. New knowledge regarding development of new Ti alloy and coating, cell-material interactions and bacteria-material interactions, which will be disseminated through the project web site, ISI scientific papers and communications to scientific reunions;
  3. Execution of orthopedic implants titanium-based with multifunctional coatings characterized by high biocompatibility, adequate mechanical properties, enhanced osseointegration ability and improved capacity to prevent infections.


Scientific reports




1. Dumitriu C., Ungureanu C., Popescu S., Tofan V., Popescu M., Pirvu C., Ti surface modification with a natural antioidant and antimicrobial agent, Surface & Coatings Technology 276 (2015) 175-185, IF=1.998.

2. Ion R., Vizireanu S., Stancu C.E., Luculescu C., Cimpean A., Dinescu G., Surface lasma functionalization influences macrophage behavior on carbon nanowalls, Materials Science and Engineering C 48 (2015) 118-125, IF=3.088.

3. Dumitriu C., Popescu M., Ungureanu C., Pirvu C., Antibacterial efficiencies of TiO2 nanostructured layers prepared in organic viscous electrolytes, Applied Surface Science 341 (2015) 157-165, IF=2.711.

Communications to international scientific reunions

1. Vizireanu S., Stancu C., Ion R., Cimpean A., Stoica S.D., Ionita M.D., Luculescu C., Dinescu G., Surface engineered carbon nanowalls with improved biological cells activity, E-MRS Spring Meeting, Lille, France, 11-15 May, 2015, poster W36.

2. Popescu S., Dumitriu C., Ungureanu C., Ion R., Pirvu C., New coatings based on TiO2/CeONP for enhanced osseointegration and antibacterial effect, RICCCE 19 - 19th Romanian International Conference on Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Sibiu, Romania, 2-5 September, 2015, oral presentation.

3. Dumitriu C., Ungureanu C., Pirvu C., Influence of electrolyte water contents on titanium surface modification, RICCCE 19 - 19th Romanian International Conference on Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Sibiu, Romania, 2-5 September, 2015, poster presentation.

4. Mindroiu M., Popescu S., Cabuzu D., Pirvu C., The roll of the NaPSS surfactant on the ceria nanoparticles embedding in polypyrrole films, RICCCE 19 - 19th Romanian International Conference on Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Sibiu, Romania, 2-5 September, 2015, poster presentation.

5. Pirvu C., Mindroiu M., Popescu S., Mott Schottky analysis a useful tool for investigation of polypyrrole film interaction with biological environments, RICCCE 19 - 19th Romanian International Conference on Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Sibiu, Romania, 2-5 September, 2015, poster presentation.







Last updated at: November 26, 2015.