SpinalCyte receives new US patent for spinal disc tissue engineering


SpinalCyte has announced the issuance of US Patent No. 8,728,495, “Methods and Compositions For Repair Of Cartilage Using An In Vivo Bioreactor”. The technology described in the patent involves seeding autologous dermal fibroblasts into the nucleus of the spinal disc. The cells, when exposed to in vivo mechanical stress in a low oxygen environment, will then differentiate into chondrocytes to regrow the nucleus of the spinal disc. The claims also cover an absorbable scaffolding to direct the mechanical stress into the seeded cells.

“This allows us to regrow the disc in a natural environment, which we feel is critical for mechanical restoration of the intervertebral disc,” says Pete O’Heeron, chief executive officer. “We are pleased the United States Patent Office continues to validate the uniqueness of our technology. SpinalCyte’s patent portfolio includes eight US and foreign patents issued and directly owned by the company, along with 22 patents pending. We feel the future for cartilage regeneration will be centred around a biologic, cell therapy or gene therapy solution.”

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 and matrices such as proteoglycans and collagens.