Houston-based spinal technology company SpinalCyte announced the beginning of the final series of animal clinical trials that aim to study the autologous regrowth of the spinal disc nucleus using human dermal fibroblasts, as a possible treatment for degenerative disc disease. The project is being led by Dr. Howard An, M.D., The Morton International Endowed Chair Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery & Director, Division of Spine Surgery and Spine Fellowship Program, Rush University Medical Center.
After receiving the 2013 Best Science Award by ISASS (International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery) for regrowing the nucleus of the spinal disc and restoring disc height by over 80% in the first animal trials, the company will now increase the number of rabbits in experience from 16 to 64, as well as the in vivo monitoring by eight weeks. The trial is expected to last 10 months.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of SpinalCyte, Pete O’Heeron, “Dr. An’s initial study at Rush University Medical Center proved that we have discovered a viable alternative to traditional treatment for degenerative disc disease (DDD) and the final animal trial should give us a full understanding of the human dermal fibroblasts’ interaction with the surrounding disc tissue.”
An also noted his expectations about the results of the trial, since he believes that the further scientific data will “prove this technology as a future treatment for DDD,” a condition characterized by back and neck pain and possible radiating weakness or numbness caused by a degenerated disc in the spine.
SinalCyte’s ultimate purpose is to develop an innovative and autologous solution for replacement of the nucleus pulposus of disks, a gelatinous material which works absorbing shocks in the spinal column and distributes hydraulic pressure within the spinal discs, using human dermal fibroblasts, materialized in a cartilage regeneration technology.