However, the biomechanics of therapies that use stem cells, whether of internal or external origin, are being invented at an increasingly rapid rate. The repair of damaged tissues and the whole replacement of failed organs with new ones, grown from compatible stem cells, are on a rapidly approaching horizon, and not a moment too soon.
The unique features of human bone structure have long spawned attempts at BioMimetics, which means “mimicking life.” For example, the description of the internal structure of the head of the thighbone, in the 1850’s by German paleontologist Hermann Von Meyer, influenced the lattice structure design of the Eiffel Tower.
Unlike steel structures, bone is capable of self-repair when damaged by injury. As we age, however, we tend to lose bone density and strength. In addition, as the body ages, it is less able to heal damaged bone. In a sense, you could say that the problem is not so much that we age; it is that we lose the ability to regrow. This is partly because of a reduction in endogenous stem cells needed to repair the damaged bone.
Another part of the problem is a dearth of available growth factors that promote healing in older people. These molecules send signals to cells, telling them to grow and repair damaged bone. With the huge demographic shift caused by the baby boomer generation’s aging, new therapies that address these problems are needed. Companies and investors that address these needs will strike gold.
A new biotech company has technology that revolves around the use of pure, recombinant (synthetic) platelet-derived growth factor (rhPDGF).
As I am sure you know, platelets are one of the major components of blood. When an injury causes bleeding, platelets form clots at the site and slow or stop it.
Platelets, however, do more than simply stop the bleeding. In forming a clot, they also provide a framework for endogenous stem cells to attach, regrow, and repair the damage.
Platelets also secrete growth factors during this process. These molecules signal stem cells to grow and divide. They also tell the body to supply these growing cells with new blood vessels to support them. The overall effect is that the platelets, and platelet-derived growth factor, help form an environment that promotes the repair of the damaged tissue.
As part of a recent research effort underway at Harvard that has been investigating the healing properties of platelets, researchers have noticed a component of platelets that stimulated cell growth in the laboratory. Eventually, they were able to isolate small quantities of the protein molecule responsible, which was an extremely powerful cell growth factor, PDGF.
Although it took a great deal of effort, the researchers eventually discovered the human gene that contained the code for the creation of PDGF. With improved drug manufacturing techniques, a method for synthesizing the molecule in commercial volumes became possible. The gene responsible for PDGF production was spliced into yeast cell’s DNA, resulting in a new yeast cell line. This genetically engineered yeast is grown in a broth in a manner similar to brewing beer. The yeast culture secretes recombinant (synthetic) human rhPDGF which is then isolated and purified.
The biotech company has developed a breakthrough combination therapy that mimics the body’s scaffolding activity together with the healing power of rhPDGF for repairing bone and connective tissue. The name of this product is Augment, and it is pending FDA approval later this year or early next for use in orthopedic foot and ankle fusion surgery. Since the ankle is the smallest joint to support the full weight of the body, it is a frequent location for injury. This makes it a logical first application for this technology.
With all potential applications taken into account, Augment represents an enormously profitable opportunity for the biotech company. In the United States, total bone grafting procedures are a $4 billion annual market. Augment could largely replace these with a superior product and procedure. Current costs of harvesting autogenous bone grafts range from $1100 to $2500 per procedure. Of course, this does not take into account costs relating to pain management at the donor site and the potential for significant complications. Since Augment removes the need for harvesting donor bone, these factors are eliminated.
Sports medicine is another $3-4 billion dollar market opportunity for repairing bone and connective tissue. Currently, tendon is merely sutured to the bone. Tendon, however, is an extremely dense tissue. It does not have a very extensive blood supply. This makes it very slow to heal, since blood-delivered growth factors are only weakly present in injured tendons as compared to other tissues. Although the bone and tendon do knit back together, the resulting scar tissue is weaker than the original junction.
Reports show that up to 30% of those that have had this procedure will report a new injury in the future because the reattachment is just not very strong. Using another product from the biotech company, that can be sandwiched between the damaged tendon and bone, a powerful healing molecule is released that helps the tear regenerate much better than normal. The resulting repair is much stronger than the scar tissue that forms if you just use the suture reattachment itself.
Both products are examples of the leading edge transformational offerings of the new biotech company. With breakthrough orthopedic therapies getting set for FDA approval in the next several months, now is a great time to invest in companies with this transformational technology.
Just as orthopedic therapies are ready to burst on the market, so too are advances in being able to control our aging process.
As mentioned in a previous post on this blog, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent at CNN, has reported that “Practical Immortality may now be within our grasp.”
So now the question becomes, “how do we slow the rate of aging and avoid the frailty that would make longevity less desirable?”
With antioxidant supplements, we can slow our rate of aging; with a nutrition and fitness routine, we can avoid frailty and improve our health; and with an industry leading home business opportunity, we can make great money and generate financial wealth.
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