Research & Innovation

Launch of world first bone repair technology marks successful first year for AMBER

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Launch of world first bone repair technology marks successful first year for AMBER

Launch of world first bone repair technology marks successful first year for AMBER
January 20
15:26 2015

At its Industry Day to celebrate its first year in operation, AMBER unveils new technology that helps injured racehorse return to winning ways

Dublin, 20th January 2015 – AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded materials science centre, hosted in Trinity College Dublin, has today unveiled a new bone repair technology, which has led to an injured racehorse returning to winning ways after successful jaw reconstruction.  The announcement was made at AMBER’s Industry Day, held to mark its first anniversary, which was officially opened by Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English T.D. and which brought together a number of AMBER’s industry partners.

The patented bone repair technology was developed by a team of AMBER Researchers within the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) led by Professor Fergal O’Brien, Deputy Director of AMBER. It consists of collagen and hydroxyapatite, components native to bone, formed into a 3D porous ‘scaffold’ which acts as a bone graft substitute.  Bone cells and blood vessels ‘cling’ to the scaffold, allowing for new tissue regeneration.

This *bone repair technology (known as HydroxyColl) will be brought to market by RCSI spin out company, SurgaColl Technologies.  Regulatory approval for human use is forecast in the coming months and implantation in patients suffering from large bone defects planned this year.

Speaking at the event, Damien English T.D., Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation said, “It has been a very successful first year for AMBER, this exciting technology is another example that shows that Irish research is at the leading edge of material science worldwide.  Material science underpins a wide range of market opportunities that have the greatest potential to deliver economic return through enterprise development and employment growth in Ireland. I congratulate Professor O’Brien, his team and collaborators at AMBER for this breakthrough solution that could have real application in the veterinary sector and which could ultimately improve the lives of thousands of people also.

The first clinical use of the HydroxyColl was on a 2 year old thoroughbred filly that had a large swelling in her jaw caused by a complex aneurysmal cyst.  As a result of the cyst, the bone in the filly’s jaw was at risk of fracture and she was unable to chew adequately. The outcome is generally poor for aneurysmal cysts and euthanasia of the animal often necessary.

The procedure was carried out by Dr. Florent David at University College Dublin’s Veterinary Hospital who removed the cyst and implanted sheets of the scaffold. The procedure has enabled repair of the bone tissue followed by restoration of normal bone shape and function.  Since surgery, the horse (Annagh Haven) has returned to racing and has won or been placed in 6 of her races to date.

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