New technology set to give Australians a leg up29 September 2010

A Queensland based research team that developed a breakthrough technology to treat meniscal knee injuries has been named a finalist in University of Queensland Business School's $100,000 Enterprize business planning competition. MeniGen Technologies, the company behind the Dyniformâ„¢ Meniscal Replacement Therapy (Dyniform-MRT), developed the breakthrough technology for the repair of a torn or injured meniscus in the knee joint. Surgeries to the meniscus are one of the most commonly performed orthopaedic procedures in Australia. With plans to target the market in the United States, the inventor of Dyniform-MRT, Professor Justin Cooper-White, said it has the potential to become the global leader for the surgical treatment of meniscal injuries by improving patient recovery, increasing the quality of life of recipients and decreasing costs to the healthcare system. "In the US five million people visit an orthopaedic surgeon each year as a result of knee injuries and over one million of these have a torn or damaged meniscus that can only be treated by a surgical procedure." The knee is the largest, most complex joint in the body and the meniscus is a wedge of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the thigh and shin bones. "In the majority of cases, a torn or damaged meniscus can lead to the development of osteoarthritis of the knee, resulting in the need for expensive knee replacements," said Professor Cooper-White. MeniGen uses proprietary manufacturing processes to produce the unique multilayer polymer scaffold of the Dyniform-MRT implant and Professor Cooper-White said the properties will enable the arthroscopic surgeon to provide the safe and effective restoration of function to patients suffering from meniscal injuries. "This implant will serve to prevent or postpone osteoarthritis related degenerative changes in the knee joint. "Dyniform-MRT should significantly reduce or delay the requirement for artificial knee replacements," said Professor Cooper-White. Professor Justin Cooper-White, who has been working in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology for approximately ten years, and the MeniGen Technologies team are working in conjunction with one of Australia's leading orthopaedic surgeons, Doctor Peter Myers. "The meniscus has a very limited capacity for self-repair and regeneration. An injured meniscus represents a serious and growing clinical problem that places a tremendous burden on global healthcare costs. "The team identified current meniscal replacement treatment has inherent limitations, which following intense research ultimately led to the development of Dyniform," said Professor Cooper-White. MeniGen Technologies are set to begin preclinical trials in sheep to demonstrate the safety and clinical benefits of the implant in the near future. Professor Cooper-White said the $100,000 prize offered in the UQ Enterprize competition would enable MeniGen Technologies to continue trialling the product. "The money would be used to fund further product trials and make it possible for us to jump forward with our commercial opportunity both here in Australia and the United States. "MeniGen will continue product development and, regardless of winning, Enterprize has already helped us to grow our business development activity," he concluded. MeniGen Technologies will compete against six other national finalists for the $100,000 prize at the University of Queensland Business School Enterprize Pitch Day on Wednesday 20 October. Enterprize is a national business planning competition organised by University of Queensland Business School to showcase innovative products and business models amongst potential investors. The Enterprize competition is proudly supported by i.lab Incubator, an organisation that aims to accelerate the growth of commercially sound, early stage technology ventures. i.lab is celebrating its tenth year in 2010 and has assisted over 100 companies progress from the start up phase to commercialisation. For more information, entry requirements or to enter Enterprize please visit www.enterprize.uq.edu.au.
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