How does regenerative medicine research at Andrews Institute affect me

Adam Anz, M.D.
Orthopaedic Surgeon / Sports Medicine Specialist
Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine
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 Q: Talk about why it is important for regenerative medicine research to be happening at Andrews Institute.
Adam Anz, M.D.: Regenerative medicine research is not only about things that we can inject into your body to help with knee pain for instance. It's also about optimizing the biology of not only rehabilitation, but repair and also surgery itself. We're studying different ways to help improve your body as you go through injury. Sometimes we can treat you without a surgery and that's always what we prefer. So how we optimize your biology for that – versus after you've had a surgery how do we optimize your biology so that you heal well. There are things we're learning about cell biology about our bone marrow about exercise itself and how exercise for example can mobilize stem cells to your peripheral blood. If we understand that concept, and we prove that concept, how can we use that to help with rehab? How can we use that to help with our injections? It's more about cell biology. A lot of our research, yes, is on products of things we can inject into knees for example, but it's also about biology and about how can we optimize the biology of injury and recovery from injury.
 Q: Talk about the role the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays in regenerative medicine research.
Adam Anz, M.D.: The FDA is such a double-edged sword. I've been in this space since 2009, and at that point I was upset by the FDA. The thought of a body dictating what we could offer was concerning – but now I understand the FDA is a very important entity. What they're doing is making sure that things are proven safe and effective before they become practice medicine. You would think it wouldn’t be an important thing, but the truth of the matter is very important. That's something that you can see if you just look in magazines or newspapers and see how this whole stem cell idea has gotten a little bit taken advantage of. Without the FDA it's the Wild West – and that's one thing that we've taken to heart and we are doing everything so that we're following their recommendations and their guidance because we agree – we think you have to prove that things are safe and effective before you start getting ahead of yourself in terms of clinical application.
 Q: Talk about the difference between state funded research at Andrews Institute and industry funded research, and why both are important?
Adam Anz, M.D.: State funding and industry funding are important for what we do at the Andrews Institute. There are some of our projects that clearly have funding from industry, and so they'll move forward by themselves but some of our ideas and some of our projects that need to be tested don't necessarily have industry support because from industry's perspective, there's not a product to develop. Those types of studies are equally important and that's why the state funding is important for us as well, because they provide funding when there's otherwise a big gap in what we can do.
 Q: How does regenerative medicine research at Andrews Institute impact patients?
Adam Anz, M.D.: At this point, we're getting clear evidence around say platelet-rich plasma (PRP) compared to bone marrow aspirate for knee arthritis. That evidence is helping us understand which one of those is better because unfortunately one is more expensive than the other, so we need to know which one performs better and that research specifically will help people with knee arthritis immediately. Another study that we're very excited about is called the ‘Bio ACL,’ and that study is about looking to improve graft maturation after ACL reconstruction. One of the things about ACL reconstruction, is we typically take one of the tendons or the middle third of your patellar tendon most often, and we place it into your knee and we look to have it changed from a tendon into a ligament. That process takes time. Unfortunately that process probably takes about nine months. The concept is if we can improve that process or speed that process up, our thought is that we can get patients back to their sport sooner. So what we're looking to do is find biologic ways to improve or speed up that process.

 

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