News and events - Tampere University of Technology

Copla wins Science Pitching Competition at Slush

The Copla team made up of researchers from TUT and the University of Helsinki have won the first Science Pitching Competition held in connection with Slush. The team has developed a biodegradable scaffold that may one day replace artificial joints made of metal.
Virpi Muhonen, Constance Trouvé and Anne-Marie Haaparanta were awarded with 3,000 euros, and a team of mentors will help them further develop their innovation.
Virpi Muhonen, Constance Trouvé and Anne-Marie Haaparanta were awarded with 3,000 euros, and a team of mentors will help them further develop their innovation.

Despite the high prevalence of cartilage damage, there are no treatments available for restoring the original function of damaged cartilage tissue. Current treatments provide pain relief but fail to repair the tissue. If left untreated, cartilage damage may result in osteoarthritis, which is affecting more than 160 million people worldwide. The prevalence of osteoarthritis is expected to increase in the future due to population ageing.

After several years of research, the Copla team has succeeded in developing a synthetic, biodegradable material for replacing missing or damaged cartilage. The material allows surgeons to construct a scaffold, which, once implanted into a patient, serves as a temporary template for the development of new cartilage tissue and gradually dissolves. The cartilage-bone interface is as good as new, and the normal function of the joint is restored soon after surgery.  

The award-winning Copla team is made up of Postdoctoral Researcher Anne-Marie Haaparanta and Project Researcher Kaisa Laine, who are members of the research group headed by Professor Minna Kellomäki at Tampere University of Technology (TUT), and Senior Researcher Virpi Muhonen, Constance Trouvé and Eve Salonius, who belong to Professor Ilkka Kiviranta’s research group at the University of Helsinki. The Copla team is currently working on a Tekes-funded project to convert their research results into commercial products.

Ten researchers entered the Science Pitching Competition. The winner was selected by a jury consisting of Professor Anne Jalkala of Lappeenranta University of Technology, Assistant Professor Hao Li of the University of Southern California, and Juha Ruohonen, investor and Startup Sauna consultant.

Photo: Kaskas Media

News submitted by: Tuuli Laukkanen
Keywords: science and research, slush, winner, cartilage damage, biodegradable material