Long-term Penn Research Across Disciplines Leads to the Development of a New ‘Patch’ that Uses Natural Body Motion to Fix Disc Herniation

A new biologic “patch” that is activated by a person’s natural motion has the potential to fix herniated discs in people’s backs, according to researchers at Penn Medicine and the CMC VA Medical Center. Combining years of work from multiple projects across disciplines, this pre-clinical research is detailed in a paper published today in Science Translational Medicine.

The co-senior authors of the paper are Robert Mauck, PhD, a professor in Orthopaedic Surgery and director of the McKay Laboratory for Orthopaedic Surgery Research at Penn and research career scientist and co-director of the Translational Musculoskeletal Research Center at the CMCVAM and Harvey Smith, MD, an associate professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and attending physician at the CMCVAMC. 

The new prospective treatment for disc herniation, which has human and potentially veterinary applications, leverages foundational technologies used by many of the same researchers on this project to create bio-synthetic discs and other mechanically-activated drug delivery systems. Some of these advances are now being commercialized by Mechano Therapeutics, which was co-founded by Mauck and other co-authors on the current paper, George Dodge, PhD, previously an adjunct associate professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and the current CEO of the start-up, and Daeyeon Lee, PhD, a Penn Engineering professor, and supported by the Penn Center for Innovation. 

Read more about the research here.

Skip to content