SurgaColl’s Equine research recognised at Top Irish Bioengineering Conference

This weekend, SurgaColl’s Founder & CTO, Dr. John Gleeson, received the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 3rd place award for his conference paper highlighting a successful Horse Jaw regeneration study using SurgaColl’s flagship product HydroxyColl. The study was carried out at the Troytown Greyabbey Equine Veterinary Surgery (http://www.cvs-equine.com/about-us/referral-hospitals/troytown-greyabbey-equine-veterinary-services/) with Dr. Cormac Feeney and his team. The equine patient’s name is “Beanie”, a 16 year old mare owned by one of Troytown’s Senior Nurse Staff Members. “Beanie” had presented with a large painful growth within her right side jaw bone. The size of this growth, and the correspondingly large amounts of bone tissue that had to be surgically removed during the procedure, necessitated the use of a bone graft substitute material.

The gold standard for replacing damaged bone tissue within the body involves the harvesting of the patient’s own bone tissue from a donor site, somewhere within the body. This has obvious disadvantages, including increased risk of donor site morbidity and/or chronic infection. As a result, it can be attractive to use a synthetic bone substitute material to replace or augment donor bone tissue from the patient. However typically these synthetic materials are not absorbed quickly by the body and are made of materials that while biocompatible, are not ideal. Naturally derived bone graft substitutes are available from many of the leading Regenerative Medicine companies and used widely in these procedures but they tend to work best when used as extenders i.e. the still require a small amount of the patient’s own bone tissue to achieve the best outcomes.

HydroxyColl is different and has demonstrated an ability in over 10 preclinical studies to be viable without the need for autogenous bone marrow aspirate or bone grafts. Previously Dr. Florent David (https://ebvs.eu/colleges/ECVS/members/dr-florent-david), a contemporary of Dr. Feeney, used HydroxyColl in a similar equine case study and its performance and clinical outcome warranted publication of a scientific paper on the case in a leading Regenerative Medicine Journal publication in 2015 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25712436). The outcomes from this paper demonstrated class leading potential for the device when used on its own as a bone graft substitute and the Troytown team believed such a product would be needed to achieve the significant level of new bone tissue growth required to stabilise “Beanie’s” jaw as quickly as possible. The size of the repair required was simply too large to safely harvest enough of the Horse’s own bone tissue to be able to achieve the desired outcome.

Using ten HydroxyColl bone graft substitute units (20cc per unit), Dr. Feeney resected approximately 8 cm of the right mandible and filled the void with the HydroxyColl product. Clinical follow up assessments at 2 week, 3, 6 and 12 months were positive, with final clinical outcome at 12 months post-surgery highlighting a superb level of tissue regeneration and excellent early integration of the HydroxyColl material. Dr. Feeney commented on “that it was difficult to identify the original borders of the resected mandibular tissue” given the extensive quantity of healthy mature new bone that formed and was seamlessly integrated with the surrounding mandibular bone tissue.

Dr Gleeson added: “This award is a fantastic recognition of the pioneering work carried out by Dr. Feeney and supported by the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG), led by Prof. Fergal O’Brien in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). When this study was carried out, HydroxyColl had only just received EU approval for human use (or CE mark) and hadn’t yet been used clinically in human patients. The positive outcome from this study has been important in helping SurgaColl excite Veterinary Surgeons and Clinicians about the potential of our HydroxyColl Bone Graft Substitute product. It has been instrumental in supporting early human use in craniomaxillofacial surgeries and SurgaColl’s first prospective Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) currently enrolling as Basingstoke Hospital in the UK, which is using HydroxyColl in the treatment of osteotomy-treated osteoarthritis of the knee”.

Bioengineering in Ireland is one of Ireland’s longest-running and most active research conferences, at the interface of engineering and health science. Dr. Gleeson’s research has previously been recognised by the Bioengineering in Ireland committee in 2010 when he was the recipient of the prestigious Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI) Bronze for best overall paper at the meeting entitled ‘In vivo comparison of novel collagen-based composite scaffolds for bone tissue repair in a rabbit radius model’, a paper that showcased the first preclinical study conducted by RCSI TERG on the HydroxyColl Bone Graft Substitute, prior to licensing the technology to SurgaColl Technologies. Dr. Gleeson added: “This year’s award is particularly significant to me personally as it represents an exciting completion of HydroxyColl’s development journey, from benchtop invention all the way through to bedside care”.