PI: Sabrina Jedlicka
Co-PI(s): Susan Perry
University: Lehigh University

One in four adults in the USA have a form of arthritis, costing $81 billion/year for medical interventions. Treatments for arthritic disorders, such as osteoarthritis, range from over-the-counter medications to surgery. Recently, the use of minimally processed bone marrow-derived products, clinically known as “Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate” (BMAC), has become common.

Bone marrow is extracted from the patient, rapidly processed using clinically available tools, and the concentrate is injected back into a patient joint. This BMAC material comprises of white blood cells, red blood cells, mesenchymal stem cells, proteins, platelets, and other biological/biochemical materials. Different concentration devices yield variable compositions of BMAC. Regardless of the device used, about 65% patients often experience rapid (less than two weeks) and dramatic, albeit palliative relief, with these treatments.  However, the variability in BMAC composition is a cause for concern, and is likely the driver of variable patient responses. Original patient specimen quality is inconsistent (viscosity, cell counts, etc.), and a robust biomarker of quality BMAC has been elusive.

Previous work indicates that there is likely an overlooked biochemical or cellular cross-talk element, which will be explored in the proposed research. As FDA regulations evolve to meet the changing clinical landscape, standardization of BMAC protocols are imperative to allow for continued access to a life-changing treatment.

Thus, the proposed partnership will focus on two unexplored facets of clinical BMAC science:

  1. Comparative cell profiles of BMAC processed through different concentration platforms
  2. Examination of how BMAC biochemical payload is altered during concentration, in the form of extracellular signaling particles

The long-term goal is to develop a robust separation device that allows for product consistency and enhanced biomolecular concentration. Working collaboratively with a local orthopedic surgeon, we hope to develop a methodology and translational technology that will align with the emerging FDA goals related to BMAC protocols.