THE LATEST NEWSSeptember 2018
TEDxMarin Innovator Showcase 2018
On Saturday, September 15th, members of the Board of Directors and staff of Napa Medical Research Foundation (NMRF) joined fellow non-profits, start-ups, and other innovative companies for the 9th annual TEDxMarin Gala and Filming. Exploring The Bigger Picture: Staying Human in a Digital Age, guest speakers from a broad spectrum of disciplines and backgrounds answered compelling questions, including “What oncoming innovations promise to rewrite what’s possible in health, energy and economy?” and “Will these innovations finally support a better, more balanced life for us and our children?”
The TEDxMarin event offered NMRF an opportunity to present their new visually engaging, informational video – which will soon be available for general viewing on our website. Dr. Marko Bodor, Director of Research; Ryan Dregalla, Cell and Molecular Biologist; Joann Serafini Ross, Board member; Meagan Ryan Stasz, Development Director and Michelle Voss, Community Relations Manager were available to answer questions, network with other organizations, and introduce our leading edge research to a broad and diverse public audience.
How Non-Profits Are Changing the Medical Research Landscape
The role of non-profit foundations in the area of medical research is becoming increasingly more significant. Flexible, independent, driven by patients’ needs, funded by individual donors, and operating with a fully functional research pipeline, the non-profit medical foundation presents an entirely unique experience when compared to the traditional model of medical research and development.
While still only representing a small fraction of total funding (approx. $3.3 billion according to the US Foundations Key Facts report), this private sector support is proving indispensable for the translation of research results into effective treatments.
Independent of an institutional agenda, non-profit research organizations enjoy greater flexibility, can transition the course of their research to ensure greatest relevance, and are positioned to react more readily to patient input. With an emphasis on accelerating treatments and cures for a specific area of interest, charitable funding organizations help to deliver innovations that are directly related to patients’ needs.
Central to the success of a non-profit foundation is their donor base. Donors to non-profit research organizations often have a higher stake in the outcomes, usually through personal experience or family association, and have greater empathy for the real lives being affected by their financial participation. They understand and are more tolerant with the risks because they know any benefit will be highly relevant and more immediately accessible.
This is the story of one woman, two knees, and two very different treatment plans.
Back in 2013, a 72-year old woman began experiencing limited range of motion and pain in her left knee and went to see her orthopedic surgeon. Having spent most of her life skiing, playing tennis, running and hiking, it came as little surprise that her diagnosis included osteoarthritis and a torn meniscus, among other conditions. The recommended treatment plan: A complete knee replacement, which she ended up having at Stanford.
A few years later, the same woman began to experience similar symptoms in her right knee and went to see the same surgeon. The recommendation was also the same: a complete knee replacement.
This time however, rather than following the same course of action, she decided to consult with Marko Bodor, MD. Dr. Bodor told her that perhaps her torn meniscus was the main cause of her pain and if that was the case, there was a good chance that a biologic treatment might be effective instead of surgery. In Dr. Bodor’s experience, platelets, which adhere to and pull together collagen tears, have been surprisingly efficient at making symptomatic meniscus tears asymptomatic. How this works exactly is not known, but likely involves healing of tears in the outer third of the meniscus. Using ultrasound visualization to find the tear, he injected concentrated platelets into the tear and activated them with calcium chloride to ensure that they clot more rapidly in the presence of joint fluid, which could prevent adhesion.
It is our pleasure to relate the testimony of patients and their families who have experienced positive outcomes and are enjoying an improved quality of life.
RESEARCH STUDY UPDATES
- Cervical Facet Injection Study is complete. Working with musculoskeletal radiologist Naveen Murthy at Mayo Clinic as co-author, the NMRF research team will present the paper for publication in early 2019.
- Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve Study has been approved by an Institutional Review Board. There are currently 6 patients enrolled, with a total goal of 20 participants, to ensure the sufficient reporting of outcomes.
- Intrasdical PRP Study is currently tracking patients at 3 months and 1 year. As of 8/13/18, 267 patients, with a total of 631 degenerative discs in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, have been given treatment comprising platelet-rich plasma injections.
- The NMRF research team is characterizing the role of platelets, white blood cells and mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of damaged intervertebral discs using an extracellular matrix of porcine material. Early results exhibit an accelerated rate of cell proliferation with decreased levels of white blood cells and establish the co-localization of mesenchymal stem cells.
The Hip Labrum Tear and Impingement Studies are following the scans, and follow up data collection of 54 ultra-marathon runners who participated in the 100-mile Western States Endurance Race. Additional DXA bone density scanning will serve to expand the scope of the research, and deliver potentially more significant outcomes in the coming year.
In collaboration with colleagues from Mayo Clinic, assessments are being tracked on over 40 individuals who have received ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release surgery using the Sonex device. Outcomes are being tracked at 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year post-procedure.
Reduce Pain. Increase Mobility + Function. Improve Quality of Life.
All the research conducted through the Napa Medical Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is fully funded through generous donations received from individuals and family foundations.