Nov 30 2016 Posted: 00:00 GMT

CÚRAM have teamed up with US based medical device startup Acuitive Technologies to work on an exciting biomaterial that has the potential to become a paradigm changing material for numerous musculoskeletal applications. The project is titled “The MSC intracellular signalling response to bioactive citric acid composite soft-tissue anchors”. This project will explore the role of citrate-based resorbable polymers in inducing differential cell function and in promoting the activation specific regenerative pathways.

Acuitive Technologies, Inc. was founded in 2013 by a highly experienced management team that is devoted to pursuing material technologies improving medical device performance and patient outcomes. Increasing patient activity levels and extended lifespans have heightened the demand for advanced orthopedic implant technology. ATI’s focused approach on implant device innovation is aimed at improving the integration between the body's host tissue systems and such medical devices. Using technologies, evolutionary designs, and effective partnerships, ATI intends to preserve and or regenerate normal host tissue.

Citrate polymer is a novel platform technology based on citric acid as the building block material. Citric acid is commonly used in anti-infective, anti-viral and anti-bacterial products. It is also an integral part of human bone (approximate 5%) so that when it is modified by other selected functional molecules, the citrate polymer may mediate bone growth, promote osteo-conductivity, facilitate osteo-inductivity and stimulate local angiogenesis. Furthermore, this citrate polymer can be engineered to be fully resorbed in a time-phased surface erosion process with low chronic response leaving behind chemical by-products mimicking natural host tissue composition.  

 The lead investigator on this project Manus Biggs, aims to use his expertise in investigating the formulation and fabrication of a regenerative bone-ligament anchor through functional citrate-based resorbable polymers. Yury Rochev will be collaborating on the project.

According to James Malayter, Cofounder and Chief Technical Officer of Acuitive, this project is relevant because it represents an opportunity to both improve consistency in clinical results and to lower overall health care costs.  Previous bioresorbables essentially act as spacers in bone that degrade in a more unpredictable fashion in the hope that bone will heal into the degraded space.  Citrate polymer shows promise in being more biocompatible in its degradation and more bioactive, which could result in faster healing with fewer complications of inflammation currently experienced using previous generations of biodegradables. Ultimately, citrate polymer may be able to supplant many metal appliances, and this could dramatically reduce costs of removal surgeries and their complications. Creating outcomes and cost efficiencies becomes a valuable asset in our current and future healthcare environment.

Carmel McGroarty Mitchell

Industry Liaison Officer

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