Oscar the cat makes medical history when he quickly learns how to walk with bioengineered prosthetic limbs that replaced his rear feet which were lost in a combine harvester accident.
The prosthetic pegs, called intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthetics (Itaps) were developed by a team from University College London led by Professor Gordon Blunn, who is head of UCL’s Centre for Biomedical Engineering.
Professor Blunn and his team have worked in partnership with Mr Fitzpatrick to develop these weight-bearing implants, combining engineering mechanics with biology.
Mr Fitzpatrick explained: “The real revolution with Oscar is [that] we have put a piece of metal and a flange into which skin grows into an extremely tight bone.”
“We have managed to get the bone and skin to grow into the implant and we have developed an ‘exoprosthesis’ that allows this implant to work as a see-saw on the bottom of an animal’s limbs to give him effectively normal gait.”