Titanium surfaces with adherent selenium nanoclusters as a novel anticancer orthopedic material.

Research paper by Phong A PA Tran, Love L Sarin, Robert H RH Hurt, Thomas J TJ Webster

Indexed on: 18 Nov '09Published on: 18 Nov '09Published in: Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A


Current orthopedic implants have several problems that include poor osseointegration for extended periods of time, stress shielding and wear debris-associated bone cell death. In addition, numerous patients receive orthopedic implants as a result of bone cancer resection, yet current orthopedic materials were not designed to prevent either the occurrence or reoccurrence of cancer. The objective of this in vitro study was to create a new biomaterial which can both restore bone and prevent cancer growth at the implant-tissue interface. Elemental selenium was chosen as the biologically active agent in this study because of its known chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic properties. It was found that when selenite salts were reduced by glutathione in the presence of an immersed titanium substrate, elemental selenium nucleated and grew into adherent, hemispherical nanoclusters that formed a nanostructured composite surface. Three types of surfaces with different selenium surface densities on titanium were fabricated and confirmed by SEM images, AFM, and XPS profiles. Compared to conventional untreated titanium, a high-density selenium-doped surface inhibited cancerous bone cell proliferation while promoting healthy bone cell functions (including adhesion, proliferation, alkaline phosphatase activity and calcium deposition). These findings showed for the first time the potential of selenium nanoclusters as a chemopreventive titanium orthopedic material coating that can also promote healthy bone cell functions.