The present research was aimed at developing magnesium-matrix composites that could allow effective control over their physiochemical and mechanical responses when in contact with physiological solutions. A biodegradable, bioactive ceramic - bredigite was chosen as the reinforcing phase in the composites, based on the hypothesis that the silicon- and magnesium-containing ceramic could protect magnesium from fast corrosion and at the same time stimulate cell proliferation. Methods to prepare composites with integrated microstructures - a prerequisite to achieve controlled biodegradation were developed. A systematic experimental approach was taken in order to elucidate the in vitro biodegradation mechanisms and kinetics of the composites. It was found that the composites with 20-40% homogenously dispersed bredigite particles, prepared from powders, could indeed significantly decrease the degradation rate of magnesium by up to 24 times. Slow degradation of the composites resulted in the retention of the mechanical integrity of the composites within the strength range of cortical bone after 12days of immersion in a cell culture medium. Cell attachment, cytotoxicity and bioactivity tests confirmed the stimulatory effects of bredigite embedded in the composites on the attachment, viability and differentiation of bone marrow stromal cells. Thus, the multiple benefits of adding bredigite to magnesium in enhancing degradation behavior, mechanical properties, biocompatibility and bioactivity were obtained. The results from this research showed the excellent potential of the bredigite-containing composites for bone implant applications, thus warranting further in vitro and in vivo research.