SpinalCyte announces final animal trials for spinal disc tissue engineering


SpinalCyte has announced an agreement between SpinalCyte and Howard An, the Morton International Endowed chair professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and director, Division of Spine Surgery and Spine Fellowship Programme, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, USA, to complete the final animal trials for spinal disc tissue engineering.

The initial animal trials, using 16 rabbits, succeeded in regrowing the nucleus of the spinal disc and restoring disc height by over 80%. The resulting report was awarded the 2013 Best Science Award by ISASS (International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery). The final animal trial is scheduled to last 10 months and will increase the number of rabbits used to 64. It will also increase the in vivo monitoring by eight weeks.


“We are excited about the additional scientific validation this will provide us prior to human studies,” says Pete O’Heeron, SpinalCyte, chief executive officer. “An’s initial study at Rush University Medical Center proved that we have discovered a viable alternative to traditional treatment for degenerative disc disease and the final animal trial should give us a full understanding of the human dermal fibroblasts’ interaction with the surrounding disc tissue.”


“I am encouraged by our previous work with this technology and look forward to further scientific data to prove this technology as a future treatment for degenerative disc disease,” comments An.


The nucleus pulposus is a gelatinous material that acts as a cushion or shock absorber to the spinal column. It functions to distribute hydraulic pressure in all directions within each disc under compressive loads. The nucleus pulposus consists of chondrocytes, collagenfibrils, and proteoglycan aggrecans.