Naples-based Arthrex Inc. is launching a new option for orthopedic surgeons who use platelet-rich plasma therapy to help patients recover faster from an injury or surgery.
The medical device manufacturer has signed a five-year deal with ThermoGenesis Corp., based in Rancho Cordova, Calif., to collaborate on platelet-rich plasma, PRP, to promote tissue healing.
For some time, Arthrex has had its own system for preparing platelet-rich plasma, called autogolous conditioned plasma, and it will continue to be available to orthopedic surgeons. The collaboration with ThermoGenesis involves a different type of platelet-rich plasma that the California company has been working on, said Lisa Gardiner, spokeswoman for Arthrex.
"Their system has a couple of added nuances we like," added David Shepard, director of orthobiologics at Arthrex.
The system, which will be renamed ArthroGenesis, should be ready to market in six to eight months, Shepard said.
Some orthopedic surgeons use platelet-rich plasma to help repair a patient's damaged tissue after an injury or they use it to help tissue heal faster after surgery.
A sample of the patient's own blood is used and spun in a centrifuge to separate the different blood components. What results is a concentration of platelets and growth factors or proteins, which an orthopedic surgeon can inject at the site of damaged tissue to spur regeneration.
The therapy is gaining recognition in the public eye because professional athletes such as Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning and Bartolo Colon have reportedly undergone it to rebuild damaged tendons, ligaments and muscles.
"They have really raised the visibility of PRP as a treatment option," said David Audley, executive director and chief executive officer of the International Cellular Medicine Society, based in Portland, Ore.
"It is becoming more and more available to everyday patients. I've talked to patients who have seen results in days," he said. "I've talked to some patients who have seen results in weeks and some who have not had any (benefit). Like all medicine, it is all individualized."
Audley said more scientific data is needed to verify what researchers and clinicians are saying about the regenerative abilities of platelet-rich plasma. At the same time, the society believes platelet-rich plasma is going to be a game-changer in how orthopedic surgeons and others in medicine will be approaching tissue repair and regeneration.
"We feel PRP is an absolutely critical stage in the development of cellular medicine," Audley said.
Dr. Raymond R. Monto, an orthopedic surgeon with Nantucket Cottage Hospital, said there are about 1,100 different growth factors or proteins in the enriched plasma.
"We don't know yet which ones are the active ones but we do know PRP seems to assist in healing," he said. "It is not going to be panacea for everything."