Bone repair technology reconstructs Irish racehorse jaw
23 January 2015
An Irish racehorse successfully returned to racing after jaw
reconstruction using a new bone repair material made from collagen
and hydroxyapatite developed by the Advanced Materials and
BioEngineering Research Centre (AMBER) at Trinity College Dublin.
The patented technology consists of collagen and hydroxyapatite,
components native to bone, formed into a 3D porous ‘scaffold’ which
acts as a bone graft substitute. Bone cells and blood vessels
‘cling’ to the scaffold, allowing for new tissue regeneration.
The bone repair material, called HydroxyColl, was developed by a
team of AMBER researchers within the Tissue Engineering Research
Group (TERG) in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) led
by Professor Fergal O’Brien, Deputy Director of AMBER. It will be
brought to market by RCSI spin-out company, SurgaColl Technologies.
Regulatory approval for human use is forecast in the coming months
and implantation in patients suffering from large bone defects
planned this year.
Speaking at the event, Damien English TD, Minister for Skills,
Research and Innovation said, “Material science underpins a wide
range of market opportunities that have the greatest potential to
deliver economic return through enterprise development and
employment growth in Ireland. I congratulate Professor O’Brien, his
team and collaborators at AMBER for this breakthrough solution that
could have real application in the veterinary sector and which could
ultimately improve the lives of thousands of people also.”
The first clinical use of the HydroxyColl was on a 2-year-old
thoroughbred filly that had a large swelling in her jaw caused by a
complex aneurysmal cyst. As a result of the cyst, the bone in the
filly’s jaw was at risk of fracture and she was unable to chew
adequately. The outcome is generally poor for aneurysmal cysts and
euthanasia of the animal often necessary.
The horse, Annagh Haven, that had a jaw
and successfully returned to racing
The procedure was carried out by Dr. Florent David at University
College Dublin’s Veterinary Hospital who removed the cyst and
implanted sheets of the scaffold. The procedure has enabled repair
of the bone tissue followed by restoration of normal bone shape and
function. Since surgery, the horse (Annagh Haven) has returned to
racing and has won or been placed in six of her races to date.
Prof. Stefano Sanvito, Acting Director of AMBER, said, “Our
researchers are delivering world first discoveries; in fact we had
four world first discoveries since launch which shows that Irish
research is at the leading edge of material science worldwide.
Today’s announcement on the new scaffold technology
demonstrates our track record of pushing the boundaries of science
to discover real solutions for people and we will continue to carry
out excellent research that has clear societal impact.”