NEED TO KNOW
Web Site Offers Comprehensive Source for PEEK Information
For the better part of the last decade, implantable polyetheretherketone (PEEK) has been rising in prominence in the medical device industry. And as PEEK's use in implants has steadily increased, so has the amount of available data and research about the biomaterial. In an effort to consolidate PEEK-related information into one comprehensive and convenient resource, Steven Kurtz, research professor and director of the Implant Research Center at Drexel University (Philadelphia; www.drexel.edu), has launched MedicalPEEK.org, a Web site dedicated to providing research and fostering interest in the biomaterial.
"I was struck not only by the remarkable properties of this biomaterial, but also by the lack of a clear reference and guidance for biomedical engineers and material scientists to use PEEK in the design and development of medical devices," Kurtz writes on the site, explaining his motivation for its development. "Information was available on PEEK in the literature, but it was scattered in polymer engineering, polymer science, materials science, clinical papers, and in trade journals."
The site culls relevant news, publications, studies, and PEEK analyses from various sources and hosts it on the site. Features include helpful links and background material, details on conferences such as the World Biomaterials Congress and the annual meeting of the Society for Biomaterials, research and reports, and scores of references. In addition, the site identifies and discusses the ASTM standards that apply to PEEK.
By registering for a free account, users can draw from an even deeper well of information, including the PEEK lexicon. In this section, Kurtz provides an in-depth reference that covers everything from the material's history to properties and applications.
Offering biocompatibility, design flexibility, wear resistance, and mechanical performance, implantable-grade PEEK has carved a niche for itself in the orthopedics sector, although it has been used in cardiovascular, neurological, and dental applications as well. However, Kurtz hopes that the site will open the door for expanded use of the material and cultivate new ideas.
"The literature suggests that adding PEEK to the biomaterials toolbox has already had a positive impact in terms of design innovation, implant efficacy, and patient benefits," Kurtz says. "By highlighting recent developments in clinically relevant research, our hope is that MedicalPEEK.org will stimulate hypothesis-driven investigations of how PEEK polymers can be used to advance implant technologies, processes, and, ultimately, patient outcomes."