Missouri Orthopaedic Institute receives $2 million endowment
COLUMBIA - The Wyss Medical Foundation donated $2 million to the Missouri Orthapaedic Institute for the work of lead orthopaedic surgeon Dr. James Stannard.
Steve Schwartz, a board member of the Wyss Medical Foundation said, “Our gift to Dr. Stannard and the University of Missouri is totally indicative of who we are as a medical foundation. If you want to know what type of people we give to, look at Dr. Stannard.”
Stannard co-created Mizzou BioJoint® surgery, which uses live donor tissue for joint replacement, instead of metal or ceramic artificial replacements.
The center's website described the surgery as taking the “traumatic into the triumphant.” Doctors use natural tissue grafts from tendons, ligaments, cartilage and menisci to improve joint function.
Stannard said his passion lies with what’s known in the medical world as articular cartilage. It’s the smooth tissue that covers the end of the bones to form joints. When joints lack this substance, arthritis strikes.
“Can we cure this disease and find to a way to restore people to the kind of function that God gave us all to start with?” Stannard asked. “There are many like me, and even more concerning, there are many in their 20’s and 30’s, who have had something happen and they are essentially crippled, but way too young for possibly having a joint replacement in the conventional sense.”
He said he wants to continue is research to find a long-term solution and to expand the collection of long-term data surrounding statistics for Mizzou BioJoint® surgeries.
Stannard worked with Dr. James Cook to develop the BioJoint® technology. Cook said his involvement in the medical field goes back two generations, where his grandfather was one of the first people in the entire country to have knee replacement surgery.
“Since I was about this big, I wanted to better for him,” he smiled. “My passion is returning the quality of life.”
Cook said joint problems are prevalent, and everyone’s bound to face a joint issue in their lifetime.
“But if we can find regenerative, biological solutions, then that’s what I think it’s really about. That’s what drives me. That’s what I’m passionate about and fortunately, we’ve seen it come to fruition at Mizzou.”
Stannard said, for now, Mizzou BioJoint® is just transplants, which takes “tissue that’s alive, that someone has donated like a heart or a lung, and transplanting it.” But the two doctors said they are looking toward the future, and technology has already proven that tissue engineering has been successful in animals.
Tissue engineering allows the doctor to grow the specific needed tissue in the lab.
Stannard said, “It has not yet been perfected, but it has developed to the point where it’s been successfully placed in animals and worked.”
The next step is getting FDA approval for human research.
“It’s a long, difficult and expensive process,” Stannard said.
Stannard said he imagines a future, “where, if you came to us and had a bad articular cartilage problem, we could get some measurements, grow you a new knee and put in it three weeks later."
Stannard believes within the next ten to twenty years, the state of regenerative medicine could look a lot like the research the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute is doing.
The institute is home to one of the few centers that houses a patient care facility and a medical lab in the same building. This unique set-up allows for the optimization of patient care and translational research, the center said.
The institute also houses the Thompson Laboratory for Regenerative Orthopaedics, and has made an impact for patients across the globe, with surgeries in more than 18 states and three countries.
The Wyss Medical Foundation said Stannard has an impeccable reputation.
Schwartz said, “Any place that is lucky enough to have Dr. Stannard as its chairman is much better off.”
The Orthopaedic Institute's Mizzou Biojoint® website has more information about the science behind the surgery.