Martha Murray, MD, and her research team were recently presented with the 2022 Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation's Clinical Research Award for outstanding clinical research related to musculoskeletal disease or injury.
Dr. Murray is the orthopedic surgeon-in-chief at the Orthopedic Center at Boston Children's Hospital and a professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Dr. Murray and her collaborators studied techniques to restore the anterior cruciate ligament after a tear, leading to the FDA's 510(k) approval of the bridge-enhanced ACL restoration implant in December 2020. The BEAR implant is the first to stimulate ACL healing.
There are approximately 200,000 ACL reconstructions in the U.S. each year, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons said in a Jan. 31 press release. While the procedure is considered the gold standard of care, patients are unlikely to regain joint motion and can develop premature post-traumatic osteoarthritis.
"Our hypothesis was that restoring, rather than replacing, the ACL would have some inherent advantages, including keeping the muscles and tendons around the knee intact, leading to less pain and weakness," said Dr. Murray. "However, all of those advantages would not be enough if the knee wasn't stable, or the knee didn't feel right to the patient with the BEAR implant as compared to the current gold standard."
In a randomized, controlled human trial, patients with the BEAR implant had better hamstring strength and lower revision rates than patients who had traditional ACL repair two years after surgery, according to the press release.