U.S. Department of Defense awards UA Little Rock $5.6 million grant for bone regeneration technology

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 254 views 

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded the University of Arkansas at Little Rock a $5.6 million grant to advance the NuCress scaffold, a groundbreaking bone regeneration technology.

The grant brings together an interdisciplinary team from UA Little Rock, led by principal investigator Dr. Alex Biris; the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, led by Dr. David Anderson; and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), led by Dr. Mark Smeltzer.

Biris and Anderson have worked together since 2006 to develop this pioneering medical device. The NuCress scaffold is in the final stages of moving from the laboratory to the surgical theater, with potential future uses in both military and civilian hospitals. The new award from the DOD’s Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program will help facilitate this transition by funding critical go-to-market research.

“Bone regeneration technology is so important to the recovery of our warfighters from severe injuries,” said U.S. Sen. John Boozman, who helped secure the funding. “UA Little Rock and its partners have made tremendous progress taking this novel nanotechnology solution from the laboratory to the point of clinical trials.”

The NuCress scaffold is an implantable device that promotes controlled, robust bone regeneration in fractures, gaps where bone is missing, and major injury defects, including previously untreatable catastrophic injuries. The device degrades as the bone regenerates, potentially eliminating the need for multiple surgeries – a major source of complications in current bone gap treatments.

“I’m thrilled to see over a decade of collaborative work result in this continued DOD support, and I look forward to seeing it develop into a clinically beneficial product,” said Biris, director of the UA Little Rock Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences.

Such a device is in high demand by a wide variety of people, including wounded soldiers, victims of major accidents and trauma, and patients with bone disease.

“The NuCress scaffold is a game-changing technology that will revolutionize treatment of bone diseases because it is capable of simultaneously promoting bone regeneration and delivering antibiotics, growth factors, and cell-based therapies,” Anderson said.

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