A team of researchers of the University of Malta are behind the development of the first-ever made-in-Malta total hip joint replacement, the MaltaHip. The team has successfully produced a radical hip implant design that provides superior wear resistance when compared to commercial prostheses which make use of the same biomaterials. A patent has been filed in June 2019 to protect the invention.
Empav Engineering Ltd., a local family-owned company, machined the first prototypes of the MaltaHip to the highest machining standards. The implant prototypes are currently being tested in an accredited implant testing laboratory in Germany. Initial results have demonstrated promising performance due to its outstanding wear resistance, as compared to conventional hip prostheses that were tested under the same conditions.
The machining excellence achieved by Empav Engineering Ltd. was awarded the Industrial Excellence Award on 30 November 2019, during the Malta Engineering Excellence Awards 2019 which was hosted by the Chamber of Engineer under the Patronage of H.E. Dr George Vella, President of Malta.
On the 5 December 2019, the research team of the MaltaHip was awarded the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Medal for Inventors. The invention also placed first during the Malta Intellectual Property Awards 2019 under the Scientific Initiative category during the ceremonial event organized by the Commerce Department of the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and small Business.
The MaltaHip was invented by Prof. Pierre Schembri Wismayer from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, and Prof. Ing. Joseph Buhagiar, Prof. Ing. Pierluigi Mollicone and Ing. Donald Dalli from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Malta. The project is the main theme for Ing. Dalli’s current doctoral studies.
The project is a collaboration between the University of Malta and MCL Components Ltd. and is funded by the Malta Council for Science and Technology through Fusion: The R&I Technology Development Programme 2016 (R&I-2015-023T).