multidisciplinary research team led by Carnegie Mellon University is
developing new nanostructural polymer-based treatments to eliminate
pathological bone formation in soft tissue, a common occurrence
following orthopedic surgeries and amputations.
tactic is to develop a solution that will control the pathological
growth of bone in muscle and tendons (called heterotopic ossification)
that frequently occurs following bone trauma and orthopedic surgery,”
said Jeffrey O. Hollinger, professor of biomedical engineering and
biological sciences, and head of CMU’s Bone Tissue Engineering Center.
bone is severely injured and amputation of a limb is necessary, or as a
consequence of major orthopedic procedures, unwanted new bone formation
occurs in the soft tissues surrounding the operated bone and appears as
pieces of gravel-like bone. Consequently, there is pain and discomfort
at an amputation stump where a prosthesis is secured. We are developing a
therapy that will eliminate heterotopic ossification,” he added.
suggests heterotopic ossification occurs in more than 60 percent of
military personnel who incur bone injury resulting in limb amputation.
Therefore, the CMU labs of J.C. Warner University Professor of Natural
Sciences and Chemistry Professor Krzysztof Matyjaszewski are using a
three-year, $2.93 million grant from the Department of Defense to work
with researchers at the United States Military Academy at West Point,
the University of Michigan and the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth,
Va., to produce a therapeutic solution to eliminate heterotopic
the principal investigator for the grant, said the patient-centric
focus of the team’s research includes a nanostructural polymer composite
developed by Matyjaszewski to deliver unique RNA identified in the
Hollinger lab, into cells at the bone trauma site to prevent heterotopic
ossification in the soft tissue.
problem of heterotopic ossification is more widespread than the
military population,” Hollinger said. More than 90 percent of hip
replacement operations in the civilian U.S. population also show signs
of heterotopic ossification. Because the problem is so complex, CMU
researchers report that it will take a team of clinicians and
researchers to develop solutions.
see this collaborative research as a win for both military and civilian
populations. And we see this particular research project as a great way
to help us change our research paradigm at West Point,” said J. Kenneth
Wickiser, director of the Center for Molecular Science in the
Department of Chemistry & Life Science at the United States Military
Academy. “Our cadets are gaining invaluable hands-on research
experience as summer interns at CMU’s biomedical engineering labs. And
we are becoming more competitive in our abilities at West Point to
tackle more innovative research initiatives,” Wickiser said.
Phillips, a sophomore West Point cadet, praised the CMU internship
program for its concise and rigorous approach to problem solving. “I
want to be a doctor and this CMU research experience gives me an
excellent platform for growth and a medium for sharing my work with
other cadets,” said Phillips of Mukwonago, Wis.
researchers report there is a patent pending on the therapy and a
clinical trial schedule will be developed once the preventative platform
is fully lab tested.
Source: Carnegie Mellon University