objective of our research program is to discover new information
relating to the diagnosis, treatment and repair of damaged
joints as a consequence of disease or mechanical injury.
To carry out this objective, studies which improve our understanding
of how the musculoskeletal system functions normally and how
it responds to disease and trauma are being conducted in our
laboratory. Furthermore, experiments are also being performed
to provide the scientific basis for current and future treatment
modalities. Three major areas of investigation are being pursued:
Cartilage and Bone Repair by Tissue Engineering
joint diseases such as osteoarthritis and osteonecrosis result
in extreme pain and loss of function. If the disease is permitted
to progress unimpeded, ultimately joint replacement becomes
necessary. A revolutionary approach to cartilage and bone
repair is being developed and characterized in our laboratories.
Cells removed from our body can be grown in a three dimensional
culture system. These cells can then be Aseeded onto a matrix
(or scaffold) to create a mechanically stable biomaterial
which can then be used to replace the damaged tissue in the
diseased joint. We are evaluating a number of different cell
types, biological agents, and drugs which can be used to enhance
the characteristics of this system.
Evaluation and Improvement of Total Hip and Total Knee Prostheses
faculty and research laboratories have been actively involved
in the research and development of total hip and total knee
prostheses for over twenty years. Data from our studies have
led to improvements in both prosthesis designs and surgical
technique. One major goal of our current projects is to identify
those factors which may improve the overall clinical success
of total joint surgery. We are also investigating what occurs
when joint replacement Afails@. Studies are being conducted
to examine the biological effect of prosthetic wear debris
and their degradation products on inflammatory and immune
cells. The principle aim of one of our on-going projects is
to investigate the possible interrelationship between wear
debris and prosthetic instability.
Pathogenesis and Treatment of Osteonecrosis
was first described by Phemister in 1915. Yet 94 years later,
we still do not know what causes idiopathic osteonecrosis.
Our laboratory has been committed to the study of osteonecrosis
since its beginning in 1976. Originally funded by a three-year
NIH grant, we studied the effect of steroids on blood flow
in a number of animal models. We continue to examine different
factors which may contribute to this disease. We have also
been involved in the evaluation of improved MRI techniques
for early diagnosis of osteonecrosis. Currently, we are evaluating:
1) the epidemiology of osteonecrosis, 2) the role of corticosteroids
in the development of osteonecrosis, and 3) the cellular events
that occur during the different stages of osteonecrosis.