A proof-of-concept clinical trial was launched by surgeons at UC Davis to test the safety and efficacy of a device that can concentrate and extract young cells from the irrigation fluid used during orthopedic surgery, possibly improving the delivery of stem cell therapies in cases of non-healing fractures.
The device makes use of a reamer-irrigator-aspirator (RIA) system to enlarge the patient’s femur or tibia by high-speed drilling while continuously cooling the area with water and processes the wastewater fluid obtained during the orthopedic procedure, according to a press release.
Not only does the RIA system filter capture patients’ bone and bone marrow for use in a bone graft or fusion, but the discarded waste also contains abundant mesenchymal stem cells as well as hematopoietic and endothelial progenitor cells that can be used to make new blood vessels and potent growth factors for signaling cells for wound healing and regeneration.
However, the RIA system wastewater was too diluted to be useful. Working with a device about the size of a household coffeemaker developed by SynGen, the researchers can now take the wastewater and spin it down to isolate the valuable stem cell components, according to the release.
The device is intended to be used in the operating room to rapidly produce a concentration of stem cells that can be delivered to a patient’s non-union fracture during a single surgery.
“The device’s small size and rapid capabilities allow autologous stem cell transplantation to take place during a single operation in the operating room, rather than requiring two procedures separated over a period of weeks,” Mark Lee, MD, an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at UC Davis, said in the release. “This is a dramatic difference that promises to make a real impact on wound healing and patient recovery.”