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12 Spine Surgeons Researching Disc Regeneration Featured

Written by  Laura Miller and Heather Linder | Friday, 14 December 2012 11:13
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Howard An, MD (Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, Chicago). Dr. An recently completed the first round of animal studies for a new product, SpinalCyte, to re-grow the spinal disc. The product uses human dermal fibroblasts from the patient's body to re-grow the nucleus of the spinal disc in vivo. He is also co-author of a report titled "Growth Factors and Treatment of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration" published in a 2004 edition of Spine. Dr. An is currently the Morton International Endowed Chair Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Director of the division of spine surgery and spine fellowship program at Rush University Medical Center. During his career, Dr. An has published more than 140 articles and 80 chapters related to spinal surgery and instrumentation. He earned his medical degree at Medical College of Ohio in Toledo, where he also completed his residency in orthopedic surgery. His additional training includes a fellowship in spine surgery at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

Hyun Bae, MD (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles).
Dr. Bae has been a driver of regenerative medicine research related to spinal conditions throughout his career. He is participating in several clinical trials, including ones that inject stem cells into discs for regeneration without fusion, fibrin glue injections to stimulate the initial cascade of healing for an annular tear and stem cells for treating vertebral compression fractures. Dr. Bae is the co-director of the spine fellowship program at Cedars Sinai Spine Center and has an interest in artificial disc replacement and minimally invasive surgery in addition to his interest in regenerative medicine. He was among the first surgeons to use growth factor tissue engineering for intervertebral discs and perform multi-level artificial disc replacement for both cervical and lumbar spinal regions. Dr. Bae earned his medical degree at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and completed his orthopedic surgical residency at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. His additional training includes a spine fellowship at Case Western Reserve Hospital in Cleveland.

Domagoj Coric, MD (Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, Charlotte, N.C.).
Dr. Coric was a lead investigator and author of "Prospective study of disc repair with allogenic chondrocytes," which describes the initial clinical experience with a cell-based biological therapy for treating degenerative disc disease. He is the chief of neurosurgery at Carolina Medical Center. Dr. Coric is also president of the North Carolina Spine Society and a member of the North American Spine Society. He has special interests in artificial disc replacement, degenerative spine disease, disc disease, spinal cord injuries and disc surgery. He received his medical degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., where he also completed a residency and internship.

Matthew Cunningham, MD (Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City).
Dr. Cunningham is an orthopedic surgeon focused on spine surgery He has conducted research related to intervertebral disc regeneration and published literature ion tissue-engineered intervertebral disc procedures to produce new matrix, maintain disc height and restore biomechanical function to the rodent spine. He is a volunteer surgeon for the Foundation for Orthopaedics and Complex Spine and conducts clinical research to improve outcomes for adult and pediatric deformity correction. Dr. Cunningham earned his medical degree at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his residency at Hospital for Special Surgery. His additional training includes a fellowship at HSS.

Mark Flood, DO (Laser Spine Institute, Tampa, Fla.). Dr. Flood is the chief of surgical innovation and an orthopedic spine surgeon at the Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, Fla. He uses the RegenaDISC system to help repair patients' degenerative, torn, ruptured, herniated or bulging discs. The RegenaDISC system uses stem cell therapy and low-level laser spinal decompression to repair discs. He received his doctor of osteopathic medicine degree at the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Midwestern University. He also completed a spine surgery fellowship at Southern Illinois University and an accredited scoliosis and pediatric orthopedic surgery fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Flood was also a founding member of the Center for Spinal Disorders and Pediatric Orthopedics in Mesa, Ariz. 

Roger Hartl, MD (Weill Cornell Physicians, New York City). Dr. Hartl is the chief of spinal surgery and neurotrama as well as associate professor of neurosurgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. He has focused on disc regeneration research and development throughout his career and published literature on tissue-engineered intervertebral disc procedures to produce new matrix, maintain disc height and restore biomechanical function to the rodent spine. He is also the neurosurgeon for the New York Giants. During his career, Dr. Hartl has maintained a focus on simple and complex spine surgery. He has also participated in Weill Cornell's Global Health initiative in Tanzania. Dr. Hartl earned his medical degree at Ludwig-Maximillians University in Munich, Germany, and completed his fellowship in neurocritical care at Charite Hospital of Humbodt University in Berlin. His additional training includes a neurosurgery residency at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and training in complex spine surgery at Barrow's Neurological Institute in Phoenix.

Kee D. Kim, MD (University of California Davis Health System, Sacramento).
Dr. Kim was the principal investigator in nationwide study examining whether or not one single injection of adult stem cells directly into diseased lumbar discs can repair and regenerate them to relieve chronic back pain and avert the need for spine surgery. He is a neurosurgeon and chief of spinal neurosurgery at UC Davis Health System, and he has a special interest in challenging spinal disorders. Dr. Kim is an active clinical researcher, and he also studies peridural fibrosis and spinal cord regeneration. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed a surgical internship and neurological surgery residency at the UC Davis Medical Center.

Albert Lee, MD (Tallahassee Neurological Clinic).
Dr. Lee is the principle investigator of the Mesoblast Disc Repair clinical trail at Tallahassee Neurological Clinic, which will determine the safety of the single injection of allogenic mesenchymal precursor adult cells. The cells are injected into symptomatic lumbar intervertebral discs to treat pain related to degenerative disc disease in the lumbar spine. Dr. Lee holds a faculty appointment at Florida State University College of Medicine and has a U.S. patent for inventing a method and apparatus for thermally affecting living tissue. He was the first to perform lumbar disc replacement in Florida. Dr. Lee earned his medical degree at Boston University School of Medicine and completed his neurosurgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Kenneth Pettine, MD (Rocky Mountain Associates, Johnstown, Colo.).
Dr. Pettine is the co-founder of RMA Ortho, who has been heavily involved in research with biologic treatments. He performed a minimally invasive lumbar disc procedure for a clinical trial that injects Mesoblast's allogenic MPC into damaged intervertebral discs to aid regeneration. Dr. Pettine also co-authored the paper titled, "Prospective study of disc repair with allogenic chondrocytes," which describes the initial clinical experience with a cell-based biological therapy for treating degenerative disc disease. He is also the chief FDA IDE investigator for the Raymedica lumbar nucleus disc replacement. He received his medical degree from the University of Colorado and completed a fellowship at the Institute for Low Back Care in Minneapolis.

Rudolph Shrot, MD (UC Davis Health System, Sacramento).
Dr. Shrot is among the neurosurgeons at UC Davis Health System researching and performing procedures using the Mesoblast technology to promote bone tissue growth after removing cervical discs. The new stem cell therapy uses bone marrow-derived adult stem cells to promote growth. Dr. Shrot is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons. He has published several articles in professional journals based on his research throughout his career. Dr. Shrot earned his medical degree from State University of New York School of Medicine and completed his residency at UC Davis Medical Center. His additional training includes spine surgery fellowships at National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, UC Davis Medical Center and University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Nicholas Theodore, MD (Barrow Neurological Associates, Phoenix).
Dr. Theodore is the clinical advisor for SpinalCyte, a company developing new technology to re-grow spinal discs. Dr. Theodore is the director of the Barrow Neurosurgery Spine Program and neurotrauma director, as well as associate director of the neurosurgery residency program. He previously served as chief of neurosurgery at Naval Medical Center in San Diego and director of neurotrauma at Narrow Neurological Institute. He has a professional interest in spinal cord injury, minimally invasive surgery and robotics. Dr. Theodore earned his medical degree at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, and completed his fellowship at Barrow Neurological Institute.

Michael Weiss, DO (Laser Spine Institute, Tampa, Fla.).
Dr. Weiss is the chairman of the department of surgery at the Laser Spine Institute, where he uses the RegenaDISC procedure to help repair patients' degenerative, torn, ruptured, herniated or bulging discs. The RegenaDISC system uses stem cell therapy and low-level laser spinal decompression to repair discs. Dr. Weiss performs minimally invasive spine surgery to treat spinal arthritis, sciatic nerve compression, bulging discs and more. He is the president of the spinal surgery section of the American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics and is on the board of trustees for the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association. Dr. Weiss received his doctorate in osteopathic medicine at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, and completed additional orthopedic training at Wayne State University in Detroit.

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