Since project start in October 2019, the seven APRICOT project partners have worked tirelessly on the development of novel implants for osteoarthritis patients. So far there has been significant progress in advancing the minimally invasive implantation technique for restoring mobility of small joints in the hands:
• The computational modelling of the thumb joint has progressed beyond the state of the art through the development of a fundamental statistical shape model that helped the team understand how the shape of the joint varies between individuals.
• Bespoke test rigs have been designed that will enable the implant performance to be assessed under typical loading conditions and geometries relevant to the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb joint (MCP).
• Concepts for fixation have been refined, with three alternative strategies currently running in parallel, ready for further evaluation.
• Initial screening tests have indicated that two coating strategies are appropriate for the surfaces of the device, these are being further optimised in due course.
• In addition to, and alongside the technical developments, great emphasis has been placed on the involvement of patients to gain a deeper understanding of their specific challenges and concerns, and to get an idea of the potential benefits most important to them.