Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Students Embed Stem Cells In Sutures To Enhance Healing

Date:
July 26, 2009
Source:
Johns Hopkins University
Summary:
Biomedical engineering students have demonstrated a practical way to embed a patient's adult stem cells in the surgical thread used to repair serious orthopedic injuries such as ruptured tendons. The goal is to enhance healing and reduce the likelihood of re-injury.

Surgical thread can be embedded with a patient's own adult stem cells to promote healing.
Credit: JHU

Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering students have demonstrated a practical way to embed a patient's own adult stem cells in the surgical thread that doctors use to repair serious orthopedic injuries such as ruptured tendons. The goal, the students said, is to enhance healing and reduce the likelihood of re-injury without changing the surgical procedure itself.

Related Articles


The project team -- 10 undergraduates sponsored by Bioactive Surgical Inc., a Maryland medical technology company -- won first place in the recent Design Day 2009 competition conducted by the university's Department of Biomedical Engineering. In collaboration with orthopedic physicians, the students have begun testing the stem cell–bearing sutures in an animal model, paving the way for possible human trials within about five years.

The students believe this technology has great promise for the treatment of debilitating tendon, ligament and muscle injuries, often sports-related, that affect thousands of young and middle-aged adults annually. "Using sutures that carry stems cells to the injury site would not change the way surgeons repair the injury," said Matt Rubashkin, the student team leader, "but we believe the stem cells will significantly speed up and improve the healing process. And because the stem cells will come from the patient, there should be no rejection problems."

The corporate sponsor, Bioactive Surgical, developed the patent-pending concept for a new way to embed stem cells in sutures during the surgical process. The company then enlisted the student team to assemble and test a prototype to demonstrate that the concept was sound. The undergraduates performed this work during the yearlong Design Team course, required by the school's Biomedical Engineering Department.

The undergraduate team located a machine that could weave surgical thread in a way that would ensure the most effective delivery and long-term survival of the stem cells. The team conducted some aspects of the animal testing, although orthopedic physicians performed the surgical procedures. The students also prepared grant applications, seeking funding for additional testing of the technology, in collaboration with Bioactive Surgical.

"The students did a phenomenal job," said Richard H. Spedden, chief executive officer of Bioactive Surgical.

As envisioned by the company and the students, a doctor would withdraw bone marrow containing stem cells from a patient's hip while the patient was under anesthesia. The stem cells would then be embedded in the novel suture through a quick and easily performed proprietary process. The surgeon would then stitch together the ruptured Achilles tendon or other injury in the conventional manner but using the sutures embedded with stem cells.

At the site of the injury, the stem cells are expected to reduce inflammation and release growth factor proteins that speed up the healing, enhancing the prospects for a full recovery and reducing the likelihood of re-injury. The team's preliminary experiments in an animal model have yielded promising results, indicating that the stem cells attached to the sutures can survive the surgical process and retain the ability to turn into replacement tissue, such as tendon or cartilage.

If similar results occur in future human testing, many patients may benefit. Researching the business opportunity, the students found that about 46,000 people in the United States undergo Achilles tendon repair surgery every year, with a mean age between 30 and 50 years old. The operation and subsequent therapy costs are about $40,000 per case, the students said. "After surgery, the recovery process can take up to a year. In about 20 percent of the cases, the surgery fails, and another operation is needed," said Rubashkin, a Barrington, Ill., resident who will begin his senior year at Johns Hopkins in the fall. "Anything we can do to speed up the healing and lower the failure rate and the additional medical costs could make a big difference."

Lew Schon, a leading Baltimore foot and ankle surgeon and one of the inventors of the technology, said, "These students have demonstrated an amazing amount of initiative and leadership in all aspects of this project, including actually producing the suture and designing the ensuing mechanical, cell-based and animal trials." Schon, who also is an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, added that "the students exceeded all expectations. They have probably cut at least a year off of the development time of this technology, and they are definitely advancing the science in this emerging area."

The biomedical engineering students say some of their grant applications are aimed at studying the use of stem cell–bearing sutures for other orthopedic applications, such as rotator cuff repairs. Future uses in cardiology and obstetrics are also being considered.

Along with Rubashkin, undergraduate members of the stem cell suture design team were David Attarzadeh, Raghav Badrinath, Kristie Charoen, Stephanie D'Souza, Hayley Osen, Frank Qin, Avik Som, Steven Su and Lawrence Wei.

A provisional patent has been filed covering potential improvements by the members of the Johns Hopkins student design team to the stem cell–bearing suture technology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins University. "Students Embed Stem Cells In Sutures To Enhance Healing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720191145.htm>.
Johns Hopkins University. (2009, July 26). Students Embed Stem Cells In Sutures To Enhance Healing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720191145.htm
Johns Hopkins University. "Students Embed Stem Cells In Sutures To Enhance Healing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720191145.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins