HMRC researchers, biomedical company win award for work with artificial bone

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Kingston General Hospital’s orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mark Harrison was recently recognized for his study into the use of artificial bone at the Ontario Centres of Excellence.

Working out of the Human Mobility Research Centre (HMRC), researchers from KGH, Queen’s University and local biomedical company Millenium Biologix were awarded the Mind to Market Award at Discovery 2006: Bridging the Innovation to Commercialization Gap for its work on the anticipated widespread use of advanced bone substitutes in orthopedic applications.

The team tested the effects of Millenium’s synthetic Bone and Cartilage Stimulating Peptide (BCSP) in combination with Skelite, a 100 per cent synthetic calcium phosphate-based bone graft substitute. Both products stimulate healing and pose no risk of viral infection as they are not derived from humans or animals.

“Our research has shown that the use of this material for orthopedic applications as a bone graft substitute is promising and has the ability to eliminate the need for a second surgery to harvest bone,” says Harrison. “It is the second surgery that patients often complain about the most and as an orthopedic surgeon, I am pleased to play a role in developing new technologies for improving patient care. We are honoured to be recognized by the Ontario Centres of Excellence for our research contribution.”

The research was carried out over two-and-a-half years. The product could be used in a number of different orthopedic applications such as treating fractures where bones won’t fuse together, reconstituting bone which has been lost from around loose hip and knee prostheses and promoting fusion in spinal surgeries.

A camera crew visited HMRC last month to speak with Harrison about his team’s work. The footage was shown at the Discovery 2006 conference in Toronto earlier this year.

HMRC is a partnership between KGH and Queen’s that links the disciplines of medicine, engineering, health sciences, and information technology. The centre strives to help people live more mobile lives by pioneering the development of new products and treatments for bone and joint disorders caused by arthritis, osteoporosis, injury and related problems.

The Ontario Centres for Excellence foster innovation and support the commercialization of industry and academic research collaborations across a range of market sectors including materials.