Data suggesting that PEEK produces an inflammatory environment favouring cell death published


Titan Spine has presented data from a study comparing its proprietary surface technology to polyetheretherketone (PEEK), which has been published in Spine.

Titan Spine says that its data suggest that the company’s Endoskeleton interbody devices promote osteoblastic differentiation and enhanced bone-forming environment compared to devices made from PEEK. Specifically, the data show that fibrous tissue formation around PEEK implants “may be due to the creation of an inflammatory environment.”

Barbara Boyan, dean of the School of Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University, USA, and lead author of the study, said, “These results indicate that Titan’s surface reduces production of inflammatory mediators and increases production of anti-inflammatory mediators compared to PEEK, thus creating an enhanced environment for bone growth and fusion. Fibrous tissue formation around PEEK spinal implants is due to several factors including increased inflammatory cytokines and decreased cell viability.”

The study was awarded the Whitecloud Award for Best Basic Science Research from the Scoliosis Research Society when they were initially presented at the 21st International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST) in 2014.

Peter Ullrich, former surgeon and chief executive officer of Titan Spine, commented, “Until recently, PEEK was thought to be inert at best. We now understand that is not the case. Boyan’s research demonstrates that PEEK is actually inhibitory to bone forming cells through the upregulation of pro-inflammatory markers. This leads to fibrous tissue formation, rather than bone formation, as the body attempts to protect itself from PEEK through encapsulation.”