Improving gene delivery to repair bones, cartilage and intervertebral discs

Two EU funded consortiums that the AO Research Institute (ARI) has participated in are finishing this year: 

Project cmRNAbone was coordinated by ARI’s Martin Stoddart and was running from 1st January 2020 to end of June 2024. The project involved 11 partners from 7 countries with a total budget of € 6.3 Million. With bone being the most transplanted tissue after blood, the need for graft materials is enormous. In search of optimized regeneration solutions, the EU-funded cmRNAbone project has set out to develop a novel gene therapy to improve the lives of people with large traumatic injuries or bone degenerating diseases such as osteoporosis. The proposed approach is a unique combination of genetic research, advanced nano- and biotechnology and 3D-printing. It successfully developed a new clinically relevant 3D printer and bioink that can be used to locally delivery therapeutic nucleic acids to increase bone formation during healing.  

Project Carthago is an EU funded PhD student training program tackling the problem of osteoarthritis and disc degeneration. The program recruited and trained 15 PhD students at 11 centers in 10 countries across Europe. ARIs participation was coordinated by Sibylle Grad who, along with Martin Stoddart, trained two PhD students at ARI.

For people with osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain, moving around becomes a daily struggle due to pain. Chronic lower back pain is caused by the degradation of the intervertebral disc which is the soft buffer between the bony parts of your spine. Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints. It can affect all parts of the joint and most commonly hips and knees. Here the cartilage, the smooth surface of the joint, is destroyed. CARTHAGO aimed to stimulate both tissues to regenerate by delivering nucleic acids that produce growth factors to induce repair. The consortium made use of ARIs unique cartilage and disc bioreactor systems, which are only available in Davos.

Our ARI scientists are excited to share their new results with the Davos public. An outreach event (in German) will be held on Tuesday, June 18, 17:15, at the auditorium of the AO Center. The event is free of charge, and no registration is needed. Refreshments will be served after the talk at 18:00.