Graphic showing example of bone or cartilage inflammation

RCSI technologies driving new treatments for debilitating bone and cartilage conditions

  • Research

An engagement between RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and orthobiologics company Locate Bio is helping to bring new bone and cartilage repair treatments to patients with the potential to improve the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people.

The engagement has been recognised with Knowledge Transfer Ireland’s (KTI’s) Commercialisation Impact Award in recognition of the licensing of three bone and cartilage regenerative technologies from RCSI to Locate Bio and the potential of the treatments to benefit patients and society.

Locate Bio has secured €12 million in investment to develop these technologies which have been granted FDA breakthrough device designation, a key milestone for the project which simplifies the regulatory pathway.

Technologies for improved care

Orthobiologics are naturally occurring substances that orthopaedic surgeons use in the treatment of bone and cartilage injuries to help them heal more quickly. Led by Professor Fergal O’Brien and his team in the RCSI Tissue Engineering Research Group and SFI AMBER Centre, the researchers have successfully developed new orthobiologics that can be used by surgeons in the repair of bone and cartilage and in the treatment of the bone infection osteomyelitis.

The three technologies include CertOss, a bone repair scaffold that has demonstrated the ability to repair bone defects in animals and skull/jaw defects in humans; Chondro3, a material to treat bone and cartilage lesions caused by an acute traumatic injury to the joint, has proven its potential in in a recent human clinical trial; and CognitOss, a new regenerative technology combining a bone graft with best-in-class bone healing properties and antibiotics to treat osteomyelitis.

The technologies will assist orthopaedic surgeons in the treatment of these conditions and has the potential to improve the quality of life of people affected and reduce the burden on operating theatres and patient waiting lists as a result.

Improved treatment

Osteomyelitis is a progressive inflammatory bone infection that affects approximately two to five in every 10,000 people and is most common in young people, the elderly and people with diabetes. The condition, which was once considered incurable, is commonly treated with surgery and antibiotics. It is estimated to account for up to 50% of all non-trauma-related amputations.

The KTI awards celebrate the work of the Higher Education Innovation Offices and their role in helping transform academic research into commercial impact. KTI supports businesses to increase their competitiveness through innovation with third level research.

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