Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Pete O'Heeron, CEO of a private company called SpinalCyte, a company developing an application to treat degenerative disc disease using cells derived from human skin for the Nov. 9th edition of Medical Device Daily .
O'Heeron was especially enthusiastic about the application, which would promote autologous regrowth of the spinal disc nucleus using human dermal fibroblasts (HDF).
If such a technology could garner approval, it could potentially replace implants in patients. Although, this has only been test in animal models - the technology holds great promise.
I think this story was right on time for me, because I had just returned from the 2012 Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit, and biological solutions vs. implants was a topic of discussion during a few panel sessions.
It was pretty neat to see a company actually making strides toward fulfilling predictions that were made by an expert panel at the Cleveland Clinic meeting.
Time will tell if SpinalCyte is successful. As to when the therapy could be used in human patients in a trial – that could be about two years out, O'Heeron told MDD. But ultimately biologic solutions are only going to gain more traction in the future.