It never ceases to amaze me how there is always more to research, and always more to develop (plus of course the associated IP to protect).
Artificial hip joints have been around for a long time, and these days one could say they are seen as a pretty routine operation. Yet, as I did a bit of digging recently due to my Mum having a hip replacement, I came across this article that showed how there is always work to be done and challenges to overcome. It also brought back memories of the hours my PhD colleagues spent in the hip simulator lab – it was quite the place to be!
I haven’t yet read the book referred to in this article, but it’s now on my “interesting to read” pile.
There's a lot more to the story in Vanishing Bone. It wasn't enough to invent the new plastic; it had to be patented and licensed, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and manufactured — all of those steps involved additional challenges. But in late 1998, the first patient got a hip made with the new plastic. Fast forward nearly 20 years, "and there are probably now 7 million people around the world walking on this material in total hips and in total knees," Harris says. "The disease is virtually gone." So that's certainly a happy ending, but what's the moral of the story? For Harris, it serves as an example of contemporary medical science — "how it works, warts and all, the complexity, the need for persistence."