Friday, May 23, 2014

Fracture Putty for Traumatic Leg Injuries

Fracture Putty at UGA, a DoD (DARPA) grant to Dr. Steven Stice, Director of Regenerative Bioscience Center and Dr. Peroni, College of Veterinary Science University of Georgia

Traumatic battlefield wounds such as compound bone fracture are very difficult to treat, often requiring multiple surgeries and long healing and rehabilitation times. Amputations are not uncommon. Current treatments employing bone screws, plates, and rods are deficient and can themselves lead to further complications.

Our DARPA funded project seeks to create a dynamic putty-like material containing stem cells which, when packed in/around a compound bone fracture, provides full load-bearing capabilities within days, creates an osteoconductive bone-like internal structure, and degrades over time to harmless resorbable by-products as normal bone regenerates.

Dr. Stice is helping to develop the adult stem cells that will rapidly form bone and Dr. Peroni is developing the large and small animal models for testing the "fracture putty". The PI is a leading human orthopedic surgeon at Baylor Scholl of Medicine.

"Fracture Putty" could rapidly restore a patient to ambulatory function while normal healing ensues, with dramatically reduced rehabilitation time (and the elimination of infection and secondary fractures).

The goals of the Fracture Putty program are ambitious but, once achieved, would have a
revolutionary impact on wound healing. This program is the ultimate convergence of materials science, mechanics, and orthopedics.

Neural Biosensor DoD contract at ArunA Biomedical Inc., a UGA spin out located in the
UGA Bioscience Center. Dr. Steven Stice is a cofounder.

Effective monitoring of environmental toxicants and bioterrorism agents remains a major challenge of great importance for both military and civilian populations, as existing technologies assess only known toxicants and are limited in scope. To address this concern, ArunA Biomedical Inc is developing human-based biosensors to detect known and unknown toxicants and bioterrorism agents. This project aims to develop techniques to improve and accelerate human neural progenitor cell differentiation into functional neural networks for use in human- based biosensors and fluorescence-based assays as sensor elements.

Some of the progress made to date:
  • Production of human cells like those lost in Parkinson that can be used to assess potential toxins, pesticides that could cause this disease in civilian and military populations.
  • Production of cells that can be used in sensitive assays to detect botulism toxins. This toxin is one of the top 5 agents of concern by the military in biological warfare. The assay can also be used in addressing FDA concerns about purity and quality of BOTOX, a form of botulism toxin that has cosmetic and medical uses. This is part of a $1.4 billion market.
  • The research team didn’t quite meet that objective by the end of its three-year study; biologically compatible putty that would stabilize and allow room for the bone to heal remained elusive. Yet, an alternative method for fast bone healing was discovered in rodents. Bridging segments in the femur and fibula, new bone formations were developing within two weeks after being injected with cells. “We were making bone like crazy and healing fractures in remarkably short periods of time,” Heggeness said. Read more

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