Summer Student Georgia Ellis

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Summer Student Georgia Ellis

Summer Student Georgia Ellis

Supervised by Dr Susan Scholes at Newcastle University, Georgia Ellis is developing a pea-protein lubricant to help replace foetal calf serum for the wear testing of artificial joints.

Georgia Ellis

Georgia Ellis

Artificial hip and knee joints improve the lives of millions of people world-wide. For the majority of patients the replacement joint will last 15-20 years or more. However, a proportion of these replacement joints will eventually fail as a result of wear. To improve implant longevity, artificial-joint wear must therefore be tested and reduced before implantation.

In this wear testing, an animal-based lubrication (foetal calf serum) is currently used to replicate the natural lubrication of joints in the body. Sadly, this serum comes from killing a pregnant cow and draining blood from the heart of her calf.

In her summer research project, Georgia investigated replacing the animal-based lubricant with pea-protein to prevent wear in the pre-clinical testing of artificial joints and joint materials. Using pea-protein could increase the reliability, safety and cost efficiency of artificial joint wear testing, in addition to providing a feasible replacement for animal-based lubricants in future joint performance tests.

My summer research project will help to reduce the use of animal experiments by providing an animal-friendly replacement for the lubricant in the testing of artificial joints. I am very happy that I could undertake this project as I am totally against using animals for human benefit – I see all life as equal and hold this very close to my heart.

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