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Modification of Intervertebral Disk Fatigue Resistance

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: PHS2001-2
Agency Tracking Number: 1R41AR047470-01A1
Amount: $98,894.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Timeline
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 2001
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
25665 FROST LN STEVENSON RANCH, CA 91381
LOS ANGELES, CA 91381
United States
DUNS: N/A
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 THOMAS HEDMAN
 (323) 442-3337
 HEDMAN@HSC.USC.EDU
Business Contact
 HEDMAN, SOW-FOONG, L
Phone: (661) 255-8696
Email: SOWFOONG@ALUM.MIT.EDU
Research Institution
 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
 
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
LOS ANGELES, CA 98507
United States

 Nonprofit College or University
Abstract

DESCRIPTION (Provided by Applicant): An investigation is proposed exploring the
use of biochemical reagents to improve fatigue resistance of intervertebral
disc tissue. While not well quantified, the capacity of spinal tissue to
withstand repetitive loading is a critically important factor in the
progression of spinal osteoarthritis. Current treatments for spinal instability
and low-back pain, including spinal fusion, are generally ineffective in
slowing the progression of degeneration. Biochemical alterations in the
structure of the annular matrix could have significant effects on the disc's
ability to withstand repetitive mechanical loading. We intend to study the
effectiveness of certain reagents in maintaining the mechanical properties of
disc tissues subjected to non-traumatic fatigue loading. Preliminary
experiments in our laboratory using novel destructive and non-destructive
mechanical testing techniques have shown degradation of elastic-plastic and
viscoelastic material properties of disc tissues subjected to non-traumatic
cyclic loads. If these reagents are effective in improving fatigue resistance
of intervertebral discs, a new, minimally invasive treatment may be developed
which will be able to improve the degenerated disc's ability to withstand
repetitive physiological loads. This type of treatment has the potential of
improving or even replacing numerous surgical interventions directed at the
ubiquitous problems of low back pain and instability.

PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION:
Back pain and disability associated with spinal degeneration and instability is without question one of the costliest health problems in western civilization (in the range of $20 billion U.S. annually- low-back-pain alone). The commercial potential of a minimally invasive treatment (perhaps a series of injections) capable of arresting degradation and stabilizing intervertebral discs would be staggering. In addition, such treatment could be used as an additional preventative procedure in fusion surgery, where accelerated degeneration commonly occurs at the level adjacent to the fusion.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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