Ready for Transfer

Cycloozygenase-2 Based Gene Therapy for Tendon-to-Bone Healing After Tendon Surgeries

RFT image

Laboratory: Department of Veterans Affairs, Loma Linda Healthcare System

Technology: Unique gene therapy method involving direct local administration of a modified human Cox-2 gene with a biocompatible hydrogel scaffold

Opportunity: Available for licensing. The inventors are also available to collaborate with interested companies through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA).

Market: Tendon and ligament injuries are among the most common health problems in adults, and often require surgery if injuries persist through more conservative treatments. The aging population, increase in the prevalence of degenerative joint diseases, rise in sports-related injuries, and improvements in orthopedic surgical procedures are contributing to the growth in orthopedic surgical volume. With an increase in orthopedic surgical procedures, the demand for strategies to promote osteointegration is set to increase. Commercializing this technology could lead to a product in the tissue engineering market that is expected to grow in the United States from $6.9 billion to almost $32 billion by 2018.

Details: Tenodesis is one of the most common surgical procedures for the treatment of tendon rupture or tear. The VA’s method uses the modified human cycloozygenase-2 (Cox-2) gene in a direct in vivo gene transfer strategy to promote osteointegration (tendon to bone) of the tendon graft after biceps tenodesis or related tendon surgeries. This method involves the direct local administration of a modified human Cox-2 gene to the tenodesis site with a biocompatible hydrogel scaffold to maintain the viral vector at the tendon/bone interface within the bony tunnel. Once the adeno-associated viral vector utilized in the method and the corresponding nucleic acid reach the nucleus of the target cells, the Cox-2 gene can be expressed and the Cox-2 protein acts to promote tendon healing and tendon-to-bone integration. The gene construct contains a mechanism so the gene will be expressed while the patient is taking the antibiotic tetracycline. Once the fracture is healed, the patient will discontinue the tetracycline and the gene will no longer be produced.

Benefits: This innovation promotes effective tendon-to-bone healing and can increase the marginal strength of the repaired tendon, for a quicker healing time and return to activity. The hydrogel scaffold design promotes osteointegration by ensuring that the viral vectors are delivered to the target site and stay there. In addition, use of the adeno-associated viral vector has been shown to have a high safety profile. The ability to turn gene expression on and off easily and efficiently provides tailored treatment and ensures optimal safety.

Contact: Lee Sylvers, Ph.D., VA Technology Transfer Program. Cite VA Reference No. 2-121.

For more information about this opportunity, view the VA Office of Research and Development’s technology fact sheet.