ACL Technique Validation Study

August 2019 Update by Drs. Tracy Høeg & Marko Bodor

What was the purpose of the ACL Technique Validation Study?
With the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) validation study, we were attempting to confirm that when we use ultrasound to guide our needle to the ACL, we truly injected the ACL. The ACL has been historically very difficult to see using ultrasound and thus very challenging to treat without surgery.  

Why is this important to future biologic studies?
For the treatments to be successful, cells must be delivered precisely to the location where they are needed.  Fluoroscopy uses radiation and an indirect method to visualize the ACL.  Ultrasound does not use radiation and if used skillfully, it allows direct visualization of the ACL. 


What happened in the study?
We performed 5 injections in body donor knee specimens. We injected dye using ultrasound and then dissected the specimen.  The dye was confirmed to be within the posterior and anterior portions of the ACL in 5 of 5 specimens.

This study validated Dr. Bodor’s ultrasound-guided injection technique of the ACL, confirming that when we inject bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) into the sheath of the ACL, the BMAC is indeed going into the ACL and not just into the knee joint.

What were you most excited about/interested in/surprised by?
“I was most excited by the patients who have done so well after being treated clinically with BMAC procedures to their ACL. I am very hopeful that this research study, along with the clinical trial at UC Davis, could change the way medical professionals around the world treat ACL tears with an office-based procedure and provide as good, if not better, outcomes than current approaches.” ~ Dr. Tracy Høeg

What’s next?
This research study raised awareness of what is possible using specific high precision medical techniques.  With proven results, this allows the project to continue to expand into the BMAC to ACL study, as well as future studies of stem cells treatments for arthritis and other sports injuries.  

A collaboration has begun with Jan Nolta, PhD, Director of The Institute for Regenerative Cures and current director of the Clinical & Translational Science Center at UC Davis and James Kovach MD, former CEO of the Buck Institute. They are very excited about this project and offered to assist in obtaining the necessary approvals and additional required funding.


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