Researchers at the University of Missouri-Kansas City are working on a 21st century bone cement for joint replacements and other surgeries — representing a potential billion-dollar entrepreneurial opportunity.
The research could lead to a revolution in health care – and an economic development boon for Jackson County. If the ballot initiative for the Jackson County Institute for Translational Medicine passes Nov. 5, the county could get 20 percent of the net intellectual property from the UMKC discovery.
Gatorade? The popular sports drink was invented by University of Florida researchers who named the sports drink in honor of the Gators, the school’s football team. Since 1973, it’s estimated that the Gatorade Trust has earned more than $150 million in royalties for the University of Florida, allowing it to invest in dozens of health research programs.
In an effort to make bone cement “UMKC’s Gatorade,” Lynda Bonewald, Director of the UMKC Center of Excellence in Dental and Musculoskeletal Tissues and UMKC Chancellor for Translational and Clinical Research, is collaborating with Kathleen Kilway, Chair of the UMKC Department of Chemistry; Lianxiang Bi, research associate professor in the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences at the UMKC School of Dentistry; J. David Eick, adjunct UMKC professor of biomaterials; and Thomas Schuman, associate professor of chemistry at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.
The current cement commonly used for those procedures has been used for more than 40 years, according to Mark Bernhardt, M.D., Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the UMKC School of Medicine. But the compound generates heat, damaging cells around the surrounding bone and limiting the antibiotics that can be used in the cement when needed.
In a demonstration of the new bone cement, Rachel Weiler, a UMKC chemistry graduate student, mixed a sample in a UMKC School of Dentistry lab, demonstrating the putty-like consistency of the material, which is similar to dental composite.
The institute, if the ballot initiative passes, could accelerate the new bone cement from the lab to the marketplace by years; and clinical trials would be held locally, benefitting Jackson County patients sooner.
Read UMKC’s website, Translational Research at UMKC.